An interview with Laura Klieves


PHOTO: Adam Salomon


Ask Laura Klieves how having one source of truth impacts the employee experience and she won’t miss a beat with her answer.

“Having one place to go improves the employee experience because it takes that institutional knowledge away from us and gives it a place to live and breathe,” she said. “Rather than throwing our important information in an online filing cabinet, we can now elevate it so people can find what they need faster. “

Klieves is Senior Director of L&D and Internal Communications at Malwarebytes. The cybersecurity company recently implemented Simpplr, an intranet solution for employees headquartered in Redwood City, California. Simpplr is a sponsor of Simpler Media Group’s fall session of the DWX conference now available on demand, where Klieves presented “Innovation and Cultural Evolution for a Digital Transformation.” Hani Khan, Senior Director of Client Marketing at Simpplr, recently spoke with Klieves about how Malwarebytes has managed its intranet deployment while cultivating engaging digital experiences for employees.

The evolution of the digital workplace

Hani Khan: Please tell us how the demands of the digital workplace and communications have changed since the start of the pandemic.

Laura Klieves: I remember we were planning a home training day, and the day we chose as our training day was actually our first day of remote work 19 months ago. Our whole world changed overnight, just like everyone else. We had to go digital. We all had to practice our meeting skills on Zoom, and it became crucial that we communicated to employees what was going on, both inside and outside the organization.

I have often looked back and wondered why there was a need to link internal communications with learning and development. Now I know why. In crises like the pandemic – and to keep our business aligned – we need a central source of truth.

Khan: What does the digital workplace at Malwarebytes look like today? What kind of tools have you used in the past 19 months?

Klieves: Zoom in, definitely. And, just as I was joining the company, we identified that we needed to replace our intranet, which was very outdated and tired. It took us another full year because of the pandemic and because we had to do our research to find our new intranet. We launched Simpplr at the end of August and it’s really great in terms of communication. I wish we had it 19 months ago.

Khan: How did a tool like Simpplr help you change communication and unite the organization?

Klieves: We use Slack and send tons of emails to distribution lists. What Simpplr has helped us do is really focus our communication. So even though we use these different tools, we bring everyone back to our intranet. We’re trying to teach people that the platform – which we call Bytes Net – is going to be our central source of truth. If you’re looking for information on what’s going on within the organization, including updates on our back-to-office plan, head over to Bytes Net.

We are also considering consolidating some of our existing technologies which may now be redundant since we adopted Simpplr, such as our social media advocacy platform.

Laura Klieves:

Redefining the future of work

Khan: When you deployed your intranet, how did you change the mindset of employees to lead them to this new platform?

Klieves: We have sent out a lot of communications around change management. For example, during our pre-launch, I ran Q&A sessions with employees, giving them a quick tutorial of the platform. We also reminded everyone in the company that we are not replacing their favorite platforms. So if they’re using JIRA, Highspot, or Confluence, just keep doing it. What we’re trying to do is centralize knowledge so that everyone has the same information and can find it in the same place. So it was really an educational process leading up to the launch.

Khan: What tools and technologies do you think will redefine the future of work?

Klieves: I think everything we have right now is going to continue. The challenge with the intranet will be that people have to keep coming back to it. Whether they’re at the desk sitting next to a colleague or working from home. Right now we have to use it. But once we start returning to the office, it will become more difficult to empower these digital tools and the digital workplace. The same can be said for telepresence. We’ve all gotten pretty good at including a link to meet each other on camera. But what about when we start to gather in conference rooms again? How then are we to treat our distant friends and colleagues?

The big wave that I haven’t seen yet is a great collaboration tool that can work for both office and remote workers. I think we’re all looking for this wonderful in-person whiteboard experience in some way, but we haven’t quite figured it out yet. Collaboration tools like these will become essential, especially as we move into a hybrid job where half of the employees could be at home and the other half in the office – and they will be spread across multiple geographic locations.

Khan: How do you see the switch to hybrid versus the switch to remote work?

Klieves: I think it will actually be more difficult to implement a hybrid work model than to get everyone home. And that’s part of what we at Malwarebytes face ourselves. It’s going to get more complex, not less. So we’re going to need some truly amazing technology and a central source of truth like our intranet. Plus, great collaboration tools and communication platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, along with awesome best practices on how to use them, will be really important in continuing to bring everyone together as some come back to the office and work. others stay at home.

Innovation and culture: better together

Khan: Many teleworkers miss spending time in the office with their co-workers. Without the water cooler conversations and happy hours, how can businesses use digital tools or communication styles to maintain corporate culture?

Klieves: It is definitely something that we have struggled with. We have an amazing culture and are filled with connectivity. Getting together in person is so important. Even with distant colleagues in different parts of the world, we are always looking for ways to get together in person. We called our intranet Bytes Net because we understand that we need to have a digital space where people can come in, connect, share critical information, and catch up with everyone else. And that’s what we see with Bytes Net, which is really heartwarming for me. While we need a place from which our leaders can communicate, we also need a place where people feel comfortable coming.

Khan: What are your top recommendations for companies considering implementing new tools in their digital workspace?

Klieves: First of all, ask your colleagues what their needs are. We did a needs assessment early on on what everyone was hoping to see from our new intranet. Then get a cross-functional team to actually assess the solution. It was important for me to remember that, although I am currently the face of our intranet, I am not the only contributor.

Finally, when choosing a tool, make sure you have a cross-functional team to help with the implementation. At last count, I had about 34 people behind me to help make Bytes Net work, and I couldn’t have done it without them all. I asked administrative assistants, functional managers and team leaders to put together the content to get the most relevant and important information on Bytes Net for the launch. Along the way, this is the most crucial part – don’t feel like this is your responsibility, whether it’s an intranet or whatever tool you plan to deploy in your organization. It should never be about one person. If you don’t have time to engage a larger group of people, now is probably not a good time to make a change. Find the time and space to make the change, do it effectively, and do it early on.

Discover the Digital Workplace Experience on demand here.

The events team at Simpler Media Group, publisher of CMSWire and Reworked, strives to inform our readers and our community about our two conferences, the DX Summit and the Digital Workplace Experience. Find out everything you need to prepare for two of the top tech events.