At Play we built a new culture platform from the ground up to change the way colleagues communicate and recognise each other. We grew it into a successful business rolling out to 50+ paying companies and with industry leading retention and engagement.
From the beginning of Play our plan was to grow the consultancy side of the business to be profitable but most importantly to help us understand the biggest problems facing businesses today. After the successful launches of Boost and Digital Fitness we were taken by how the biggest impact was actually cultural, creating communities in businesses that helped individuals succeed. We decided there was an opportunity to build a platform specifically designed to empower individuals and teams by improving company culture - Totem was born.
While we really believed in Totem but we wanted to validate our ideas with customers from the offset. To this end we pitched the product to Hakkasan, hoping to get our first client without actually building anything. Fortunately, they were as passionate about Totem as we were and became our launch partner. This enabled us to get feedback through development, talk to our future users and have our initial rollout planned out.
Totem is a essentially a startup within a startup, but with the benefit that Play can fund Totem in the early stages to help to grow into a profitable business in its own right. We used all the learning from running the consultancy: how to build scalable B2B products; ways of working; and what mattered to businesses and baked it all into Totem from the offset.
Totem was launched in Hakkasan in May 2016, marking our first independent launch as a company. From there we focused on continuing to build our the product adding new features and optimisations based on feedback from customers and usage data - releasing updates every sprint (2-weeks).
Totem is a B2B product designed to empower teams to do their best work. The core client is available on iOS and Android, and a web-based CMS (Content Management System) supports admin users.
The Totem newsfeed allows everyone in their teams to share what’s happening at work but also in their lives. The private feed creates a safe space to share with teams, allowing team members to form powerful, genuine connections to their teammates and business.
Totem is a powerful tool for sharing the little acts of awesomeness happening everyday within businesses. Build a culture of authentic peer-to-peer recognition - drive positive behaviours and understand how embedded organisational values really are.
Put essential real-time data in teams’ pockets - and see them take ownership and optimise business metrics.
We believe work doesn’t have to be so boring. Totem is designed to not feel like work, with playful designs and fun mascots to change the dynamic.
Since 2016 Totem has grown massively, rolling out to huge companies like Vodafone and PwC - changing the way colleagues interact and recognise each other. I can’t wait to watch as Totem continues to grow and improve workplace culture 🙌
Incase the picture above wasn't proof enough
"Sometimes a day can pass by so fast that you don't take stock until it's over. Totem has given us a platform in our pocket to reflect and to say 'thank you' in a meaningful, quick and simple way for the things that make every day great. This has become contagious and now showing gratitude is the norm."
"Totem is a really simple, effective way of keeping in touch with the people I work with. I can be out of the office for days at a time, visiting clients or tutoring courses, and so can my colleagues. I like the relative informality of Totem and I certainly feel a lot less isolated!"
"I really enjoy the fact we can use it to communicate and thank each other seriously, but also that we can also use it to share things that make us smile. Totem has been a game changer for me!"
"Totem is an awesome way to share your good experiences, photos and success with those who you may be seeing only once or twice a year. It's an excellent tool for collaboration and team building. I am loving it!!!!!!"
"Totem helps me to engage with my team, share updates about upcoming events and to congratulate my team on a job well done. We share a lot of jokes through Totem and it reminds us to congratulate the team on passing key exams, which boosts morale and keeps the team united. I'm so glad as a company we have introduced Totem and everyone loves it here."
"Totem has transformed the way I engage with my colleagues. Our leaders are increasingly visible through the app and are communicating with us as a team in a more engaging manner than ever. Totem has certainly given me an increased sense of team belonging and I'm now connected to all of my team, wherever they are in the world!"
"Totem keeps me in touch with my colleagues and what's happening in their lives at work and sharing successes. A very positive interactive business tool that deserves heaps of Kudos!"
"Totem is a fun, visual and interactive forum to share our 'lives' and to remember that we all are people with lots going on in AND outside LBS"
"Totem has provided us with a platform to connect with colleagues that we don't necessarily come into contact with on a regular basis, while finding out what else is going on outside of our business area."
"As a manager it's nice that the recognition I give my staff can be seen by all - I can recognise and reward others in my area, not just my own team."
"It's a great way to get some lightheartedness out there while you're having a cups or lunch and it helps with team building. It's great for giving a little 'shout out' or thank you."
"Totem is an excellent way to keep everyone on the team aware of upcoming events from socials to volunteering days, and to share pictures from events not just with members of your team but also with other colleagues across the organisation. It's good to be aware of what's happening with your colleagues even when you're working from home or on holidays."
"I use Totem regularly to advise staff of upcoming events, training and entertainment for our residents to enjoy. I share celebrations and photos of achievements, special days, family events and happy times. I think Totem is a great way to get the message round to people and a way to keep people in the loop even when they are not at work."