When accountability isn’t a given
Today, when a website bug is reported or a support issue is filed in StyleHaul’s Asana account, the team is certain it’s going to get taken care of. Ten times more certain than they used to be, to be exact. But, it didn’t always used to be that way, according to Drew Shannon, StyleHaul’s SVP of Business & Network Operations. “When I started, the term ‘accountability’ came up a lot. It’s not that anyone on the team was bad at their job, but our information was all over the place. And if something didn’t get done, we didn’t have a clear reason why.”
Project completion certainly affects StyleHaul but it also affects the 6,000 external content creators that rely on StyleHaul to earn money. StyleHaul is a marketplace that connects social influencers and YouTube content creators to brands. These brands are able to target specific audiences and share their product in a genuine way, and the content creators are able to monetize and grow their businesses. The creators have massive online followings, often rivaling those of traditional celebrities and media outlets. One top such creator, Aspyn Ovard has over 2.9 million followers on YouTube and StyleHaul helps her partner with major brands like Juicy Couture and Line Play.
Cultivating trust when things are growing fast
Working with a large network of brand partners and creators means there are a lot of details to keep track of, and continual growth requires a high-functioning team who trust one another to get work done.
“Often times in this fast-paced environment, the role that an employee was hired for evolves somewhat drastically within six months, which can lead to a misalignment of resources, where people don’t know who is doing what, and what falls into their job responsibilities and what doesn’t,” says Drew. “We had a big need for some kind of company infrastructure that would help everyone with project management, and give us clarity and accountability. The way we were doing things caused a lot of unnecessary friction and stress.”
Choosing the right solution
Keeping this in mind, Drew tried to find the right solution to increase transparency and accountability across the team. He asked himself these questions:
- How can we make sure brands and content creators are getting the support they need?
- How can we scale our processes at StyleHaul, so we can bring on new content creators and brands quickly?
- How can we know who is doing what in our entire company, so we don’t duplicate work and miss deadlines?
Drew needed a tool that would be a central hub for the entire company, and something that all teams would actually use. “In general, we try to avoid working in silos. Teams at StyleHaul are rarely more than two or three people so there’s almost no project that’s just in one department. Any tool we use needs to be used by the entire company.”
Drew tried a few different tools before landing on Asana. Most of them were either too simple (they didn’t have the structure and reporting functions StyleHaul needed), or they were too complex for all team members to be able to figure out and use on a daily basis.
After trying Asana, Drew was up and running within an hour. He credits the onboarding materials in particular. “The Guide was such a great resource. I read tutorials, got sample workflows, and was able to get a feel for how this could actually work for us. It was clear that Asana was the way to go.”
With a little support from my friends
Drew introduced new technology to managers and employees at StyleHaul differently, focusing on the positives that each tool would bring to that specific group. “For executives, they get visibility into what’s going on and what’s being prioritized. For employees, it relieves a lot of pressure since their manager can see what they have going on. They don’t need to have such frequent check-ins.”
StyleHaul was particularly successful with Asana because of the support they received. “Our Customer Success Manager, Michael, was amazing. If I had a question, I wasn’t put into a queue—I could get it answered right away. Even more impressive was that he was proactive with us. He offered customized solutions for us specifically, and was always there to ask how he could make our Asana experience better.” With proactive help in customizing Asana to fit StyleHaul’s needs, Drew created processes that worked for every team, even in a constantly-changing environment.
Increasing transparency and accountability
When projects in Asana started getting done more smoothly than those that weren’t, Asana became a must-have tool for the whole company. There were fewer delays in getting content creators paid on time and the legal team was able to create and approve contracts for new partnerships more quickly. With clear assignees for each task in a project, everyone knew who was responsible for each part. And everyone appreciated being able to see the progress of other projects through Asana dashboards.
Some of StyleHaul’s most used projects in Asana are:
- Bug tracking: “We all use Asana to track bugs within a proprietary software we use internally. The bug tracking project is available for the whole company to see: we attach screenshots and create a description template for all reports.”
- New hire onboarding: “We have a Project for each new hire before they start so all ops people are prepared for new hires’ needs: parking passes, laptops, and access to internal tools and systems.”
- Team training: “We also use Asana as a self-guided training and tutorial for people starting at StyleHaul. New hires can be self starters and know exactly what to do in their first week.”
- Legal requests and contracts: “The legal team puts all requests in a private project in Asana so that their priorities are clear and nothing falls through the cracks.”
- Customer support: “We are able to integrate Asana with Zendesk, where we keep our support tickets, and it’s made it super easy to manage those requests that come in from customers.”
Asana has tamed a lot of the chaos and friction Drew experienced when he joined StyleHaul.
“The biggest benefit to Asana is it gives us transparency and accountability across the company. That’s something we were really lacking.”
— Drew Shannon, VP of Business & Network Operations at StyleHaul
Not only are teams working better together at StyleHaul, they’ve also seen real business results. Since using Asana, StyleHaul has rapidly increased the number of content creators and brands they work with, including YouTube sensations like Dulce Ruiz and Lindy Tsang and brands like Elizabeth Arden and Walgreens.