Everbridge is an organization dedicated to keeping people safe and businesses running.
Its Critical Event Management solutions are used by 6,300+ organizations, protecting over 2 billion people globally from a wide range of events including severe weather, medical emergencies, workplace violence, and environmental disasters, to name a few.
Keeping a platform like this operating requires an extraordinary effort and an extraordinary team. We caught up with Kayla Bonnin, Everbridge’s Senior Brand and Internal Comms Global Manager, to learn how she and her fellow Bridgers collaborate to support that irreplaceable resource.
Supporting an Award-Winning Workplace
As an employer, Everbridge continues to rank exceptionally high, winning awards for “Best Leadership Teams,” to “Best Career Growth,” “Best Global Culture,” and more. Bonnin shared some insight into what drew her and others to Everbridge, and what keeps them there.
“As a mission-driven company providing life-saving technology and solutions, we pride ourselves on creating a collaborative and inclusive working environment. These awards underscore Everbridge’s success in creating a highly productive, empowering, and fun company culture that continues to attract the best talent around the world.
That mission is what drove me here in the first place, and it’s what keeps me and most of my colleagues going. We’ve been part of historical critical events that most people know of, and many that people don’t know of. That’s a driving force for folks here.
But even with an amazing, impactful mission as an umbrella, you need a strong culture underneath. If you don’t have a support system internally—if you’re feeling siloed or isolated—it can be harder to achieve those goals. Working on one portion of the platform without seeing the results in the field, it’s easier to become disconnected. You need that cultural glue to bind everyone, build camaraderie, help individuals understand the integral role they play, and lead everyone toward the mission.”
A Scalable Central Hub
Everbridge provides life-saving notifications and communications for people across the world, but Bridgers (Everbridge employees) needed a centralized “source of truth” to house their own communications and resources, while fostering personal connections and empowering them to work toward their shared mission more seamlessly.
“We have this platform that connects the world, but we need our own way to connect internally, and that’s where MyBridge (our implementation of Haystack) comes into play. Having one central spot to disseminate knowledge and resources has been invaluable.
Most companies have a really large tech stack. There are things hosted everywhere and you need a central source of truth. For us, it’s MyBridge. This is the one spot you know you can go.”
Having one central spot to disseminate knowledge and resources has been invaluable.
Finding the Right Partner
Bonnin and her team weren’t new to intranets. Everbridge already had one in place, but it wasn’t meeting their needs any longer. That made the search for a new partner both easier and more challenging. They knew what they wanted to move away from, but what they wanted to move toward, few platforms could provide.
“We had an intranet before Haystack. It was an older model, it was kind of clunky, and it wasn’t scalable for the amount of growth we’ve been experiencing. It was difficult for people to use, so inevitably people stopped using it—and then it wasn’t providing any value. That’s when we decided to transition over, and since then it’s been night and day. People are remarking that it’s so easy. They can find what they need, and that it’s not clunky.
We interviewed seven other vendors, but I kept finding myself comparing them to Haystack.”
There was some concern about Haystack being a smaller, younger company, but Haystack’s size lent itself to greater agility, and that ability to move and iterate quickly became a helpful advantage for Bonnin and the Everbridge team.
“It’s been great working with a startup because not everything is set in stone, and the team takes our suggestions seriously. Sometimes we’ll suggest an idea, and a couple months later, it’s there! It’s really fun to be a part of that and see the Haystack team build the platform along with us."
I’ve seen my suggestions come to life, and that’s an amazing thing to see.
Owning the Full Stack
Sometimes, running an antique intranet can feel like sailing an antique ship: you need a crew of multiple people with specialized knowledge and expertise just dedicated to keeping it afloat. For the Everbridge team, reducing that crew size was an imperative for our new system.
“Our previous intranet needed people with specialized expertise to manage the backend. This time, it was crucial for me to be able to run the frontend and the backend seamlessly—and I’m not technical. Haystack is easy enough that I feel comfortable managing it on my own, and that was a major selling point.”
While Bonnin and her team inspired a large number of champions to contribute content to MyBridge, administration doesn’t need to be an expensive team effort. Even though the platform itself has been easy to manage, she had some praise to share for Haystack support.
“Customer support has been absolutely phenomenal from start to finish. Alison and Osha are always right on top of it anytime we need anything. I still keep our weekly calls even though we probably don’t need those the way we did during launch, just because I enjoy them so much.”
Fostering and Celebrating Diversity
Everbridge is an organization dedicated to providing a collaborative, inclusive environment for employees, so finding a platform that helped support those essential goals was another key factor.
“We have some wonderful Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), several of which are dedicated to DE&I.
As the chair of the Women’s Leadership group, this was personal for me. I wanted to have a better platform to raise visibility and engagement for ERGs. Each group having the autonomy to build their spaces in MyBridge in a way that best represents their community has helped build those groups up. These are grass-roots groups, rather than top-down, so we focus on elevating them in any way we can.
Before, there were only Slack channels, and sometimes it felt like shouting into a void to get our groups known. Now we have a home where we can connect, share, and store resources. We also do philanthropy work through some of these groups, so it’s helpful to have a place to link out to organizations we support. Everything still posts to Slack, so even that original audience isn’t lost.”
Since launch, MyBridge’s employee groups have grown in both number and size.
Now we have a home where we can connect, share, and store resources.
A Collective of Champions
A modern platform can make it easier to streamline communication and showcase content in engaging ways, but even the best tools won’t produce the content for you. That’s why it’s crucial to have champions dedicated to bringing compelling and helpful information, knowledge, and resources to the team.
Bonnin and her team recognized this early on and put effort into building an initial group of champions to support MyBridge. The results speak for themselves.
“When we were planning for MyBridge, we did a lot of behind-the-scenes work before we even set foot in the platform to figure out what information needs to be shared, and who the right people are to help deliver those messages, and really own it.
Collecting and organizing those people was a big project, but the success we’ve seen speaks to the value of that effort. My team, Internal Communications, owned the overarching project, but we had over 45 champions building MyBridge with us.
We had Bridgers from a range of backgrounds, like sales enablement, engineering, business continuity, and people ops—I could go on—all owning the group pages, uploading resources, and meeting frequently. We’re also a global company. We have about 2,000 employees and 25 offices worldwide, so MyBridge needed champions for different locations, too.”
To ensure the success of each group, Bonnin’s team met with champions to help outline goals, identify audiences, and plan content. Flash forward to today, and that is still the case.
“We’re continually building MyBridge out. At first, we were asking people to participate. Now, new champions are coming to us excited, saying they think their department, organization, or group needs a space. So, we work with them to establish that plan and structure.
MyBridge has grown so much, and it’s exciting because that growth shows how engaged people are with the platform.”
That authentic engagement from team champions is critical, and it’s amplified by a rich palette of creative options and tools for content authors.
“What’s cool about this platform is that you can make it fun. One thing we know about Internal Comms, is that you can’t just write something, send it out, and expect everyone to read it. Colors, formatting, all those little details really matter. Haystack allows us to make content fun and playful, or serious when you need to.”
Combining Communication Channels
By design, MyBridge is now an integral part of Everbridge’s communication stack and organizational culture. It’s deeply integrated into the team’s communication ecosystem.
“Streamlining communication and pulling things away from email was goal number one. Prior to MyBridge, we were an email-saturated organization. Things were getting lost, and we needed to structure that information. We needed a new internal communication strategy, and MyBridge was the hub of that strategy.
Our new communication strategy is built on how our company is run. We enable crisis management, so prioritization is important. For the most urgent messages, we use some of our own tools, like Everbridge Alerts, and SnapComms. Thankfully, those emergency messages are much less common, so MyBridge is still where the bulk of our messages live.
While launching a new platform used by every employee in an organization is an exciting challenge on its own, Bonnin wasn’t just launching MyBridge. She was launching an entire Internal Communications department.
“My internal comms team was brand new. Internal comms was an entirely new department and launching MyBridge was our first major initiative. We did have an intranet before, but it wasn’t managed by Internal Comms."
It was a building block for the team and our entire Internal Communications strategy.
Pro Tips from an Expert Community Builder
To close out our session, Bonnin offered some excellent advice for anyone spearheading or managing a similar effort.
“Get leadership excited and onboard. They’ll be your biggest ally. Also, you need to be excited because your excitement will be contagious. We did a roadshow for MyBridge during the rollout. Our excitement transferred to other people, so even before we launched, everyone was excited about the possibilities. When it did launch, people were looking forward to logging in and using it because we’d built that moment.”