Sprout Social delivers a world-class recruitment experience with Atlassian
As Sprout Social’s social media management software company grew their team by 35% in two years and distributed their workforce even further, their Recruitment team had to scale and adapt quickly. After running into common challenges that many high-growth, remote teams face, they adopted Confluence for company-wide knowledge sharing and project collaboration, plus Trello for recruitment project management. Since streamlining their processes with these tools, Recruitment has increased efficiency, collaboration, and visibility, while creating a recruiting experience that’s just as delightful and human-focused as the technology their new hires help create.
Recruiting and onboarding new employees at a company whose team has been growing over 30% each year is no easy feat. Doing so with a remote, international workforce and providing a smooth, personal experience for every person is even more impressive. Sprout Social, a people-focused social media management company, does it all – and maintains a 99% employee satisfaction rating on Glassdoor – with the help of Atlassian’s HR & People Teams tools.
The company consciously built a remote-friendly environment to accommodate scaling from a small startup to a global, distributed workforce. As the team has grown, they’ve been intent on maintaining their caring, inclusive culture and employee experience. Sprout’s mission is to “champion human-to-human social,” but without a centralized, integrated system or standard processes, the Recruitment team found themselves struggling to provide that same human-to-human experience with recruiting and onboarding. By incorporating Trello for project tracking along with Confluence for knowledge management and training, the team evolved into a well-oiled machine delivering a world-class experience for candidates, new hires, and each individual involved in bringing people into their blooming business.
Seeing your picture on the same card or task as someone like a Senior Recruitment Partner makes it feel like we’re working together as a team to accomplish something that will benefit you, your team, and all of Sprout Social.”
“How do we keep it all going?”
As Sprout’s leaders set increasingly ambitious goals over the years, their workforce has needed to scale quickly to achieve those objectives. While Recruitment worked diligently to accommodate the company’s rapidly expanding team and footprint, they ran into several common challenges that many high-growth, distributed teams face.
From a logistical perspective, it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep everything organized and up to date. Each Recruitment employee had been using their own system and basic tools, like Google Sheets, to track recruiting and onboarding tasks. There was no visibility into status or progress at a team level, and it was easy for tasks to fall through the cracks. Plus, without templates or a central knowledge base, employees didn’t have an established way of documenting information, keeping artifacts (like training materials) current, or sharing important details (such as HR policies or interview instructions for hiring managers).
Recruitment also had a broader vision of creating a more inclusive, empathetic, and consistent recruiting and onboarding experience for all employees, from all backgrounds, across all locations – an experience their legacy tools and processes simply couldn’t support. “We were scaling in terms of size and needs, and thought, ’How do we keep it all going?’” Recruitment Specialist Tommy Bullington recalls. Confluence and Trello presented a powerful solution.
Confluence pairs with Trello for an intuitive, scalable system
To bridge silos, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and provide the best experience possible for all stakeholders, Recruitment began researching potential software solutions. Confluence had been adopted across the organization as a central knowledge hub, but the team also needed project planning software. As Tommy was sharing these thoughts with a colleague shortly after joining Sprout, the co-worker recommended Trello for a simple, visual way to collaborate and track daily work.
Combining Trello and Confluence offered an intuitive solution. “We’re a recruitment team, and not everyone is a natural project manager,” says Haley Ennes, Recruitment Enablement Senior Program Manager. “Using tools like Trello and Confluence takes a lot of the pressure off and allows for more collaboration without feeling daunting...It makes people feel more comfortable and excited, and it’s allowed us to work faster.” Tommy adds, “Trello gives you the same elements [as a technical tool like Jira Software], but with an easier-to-use interface and experience. It’s the gateway to Jira, but less intimidating.”
Setting up Trello boards was easy for anyone to do, and organizing by task status (Backlog, To Do, Scheduled, Doing, On Hold, and Done) has made managing dozens of projects and people effortless.
“Our specialists and coordinators are juggling so many scheduling and onboarding tasks daily. They’re spinning a lot of plates. With Trello and any Atlassian tool, it’s so much easier to get an idea of where you are in your project timeline, what’s due and when, and reach out if you need more time,” Tommy explains. He says the team also loves the “sense of accomplishment” of completing checklists. “Nothing gives me more joy than being able to check something off. It’s such a simple thing!”
We want to ensure we’re providing a world-class experience for our candidates from moment one. That includes making sure they understand they are seen, heard, and acknowledged no matter who they are and where they come from.”
Expanding and integrating for collaboration and connection
Over time, Recruitment refined their processes and Trello platform even further with new features and rituals. The team now meets offsite twice each year to hold retrospectives and plan work for the coming months. New projects and goals are then transferred to Trello, which serves as their core project management and brainstorming system, as well as a resource to guide their bi-weekly standups (which were reduced from a weekly cadence thanks to better team alignment with Trello).
As boards and cards change, team members get notifications through Slack to stay informed of the latest updates. The team saves even more time with Power-Up rules, automations, and integrations, such as marking a card as complete when it’s moved to the Done list and using Butler (Trello’s built-in automation function) to automatically schedule two-week deadlines for newly created cards.
After brainstorming or developing a new project in Trello, Recruitment documents their work in Confluence and shares it with the wider organization. For instance, the team developed a guide for new hires with details about Sprout’s culture, important policies and procedures, communication expectations, and more. They also launched a pilot program offering candidates a casual conversation or “coffee chat” with employees in identity- or interest-based community resource groups (CRGs), such as remote workers or members of the LGBTQIA+ community. CRG members can reference a resource guide in Confluence with a list of questions to ask candidates during these conversations, dos and don’ts, and other helpful tips. In addition, each CRG maintains a Confluence page with details about who is involved and what they’re working on so that each group can learn from each other and stay up to date on the group’s latest initiatives.
Having a central place to store information has also been invaluable for keeping employees accountable and connected, which can be especially difficult for a distributed company. “Confluence is our single source of truth. It holds people accountable. If there’s a process or guidelines in place, it can be found on the wiki, so everyone can see it and understand the ‘why,’” Haley says. Tommy adds, “It also helps with distributed and remote work. We eliminate a lot of back-and-forth because we can send someone a link to a Confluence page.”
Individual team members are experimenting with unique ways to use Atlassian tools for cross-team collaboration too. For example, Tommy partnered with Sprout’s Manager of People of Operations to set up a Trello board for coordinating new hires. Whenever a candidate is officially hired, the Manager adds Tommy to a Trello card with a checklist of onboarding tasks for Tommy to complete. If support is needed from IT, the team communicates with them through Jira Software. This system keeps all team members organized, in sync, and aware of when work is done. “Trello boards are collaborative, and each card tells its own story. You can ask each other questions, post links, and talk about dependencies,” Haley says. Tommy continues, “Tagging people and making the work more visible with the activity feed keeps people aware of the process and makes it easy to bring others in.”
This is one of the many ways Atlassian has helped Sprout collaborate more and help team members feel more included. “One of the best things about Sprout is that – no matter where you are on the team – you feel that you have a say. You’re encouraged to collaborate and to be an equal with other team members,” Tommy says. “Seeing your picture on the same card or task as someone like a Senior Recruitment Partner makes it feel like we’re working together as a team to accomplish something that will benefit you, your team, and all of Sprout Social.”
A world-class recruiting experience from moment one
From brainstorming ideas to implementing and tracking every detail to sharing the results with the entire organization, Recruitment has used Atlassian’s HR tools to make their candidate and new-hire experiences as memorable as the customer experience. With Trello as their team’s single source of truth for project management, Confluence as the entire company’s official record for all important information, and Jira as a collaborative connection with technical teams, Recruitment is not only getting more work done, but also doing more of the right work – together. “These tools help us come together and work together in a way that we can visualize and share with other team members. It’s helped us brainstorm and think outside the box, come up with exciting ideas, then turn them into processes,” Haley says.
With Atlassian, Recruitment is saving time, improving visibility and collaboration, and, above all else, setting the tone of Sprout’s culture at every point in the journey. “We want to ensure we’re providing a world-class experience for our candidates from moment one,” Tommy says. “That includes making sure they understand they are seen, heard, and acknowledged no matter who they are and where they come from.” It’s this human-to-human culture that will continue to help Sprout grow into a beloved brand for customers and employees around the world.