Internal Comms Strategy For Boosting Employee Engagement with Tarek Kamil of Cerkl

Which communication messages are trending within your organization and who’s clicking on what? In this edition of the UpTech Report, we meet with Tarek Kamil, CEO of Cerkl, to learn how managers can make smarter, data-driven decisions with Cerkl’s internal communication suite, Cerkl Broadcast.

With Broadcast, you can create beautiful emails and content for your targeted employee audiences.

Kamil explains how not everyone responds to the same type of message in the same way. Why not vary it based on language, their preferred form of delivery, interests, and other attributes? 

Broadcast helps internal communications teams modernize their digital employee experience by delivering the content your employees want, on the channel of their choice. 

Tarek Kamil is passionate about creating value in the world using big data and AI. At Cerkl, we’re using behavioral analytics, machine learning and personalization to bring “intelligence” to modernize how companies communicate, engage and understand their employees. Cerkl Broadcast delivers the content they want via email, web and mobile — so you don’t have to guess. Using AI to both increase engagement and save time.

Prior to Cerkl, I served as Executive Director of Online Strategies for InfoMotion Sports (IST). At IST, we married IoT, big data and AI to create “smart” sports equipment – providing realtime, personalized prescriptive feedback to athletes.

Prior to IST, I served as a VP of Interactive Games for Los Angeles-based FOX Sports. I oversaw all facets of the online gaming operations for the Interactive Unit, including based in Cincinnati.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Tarek Kamil 0:00
We create more content as a society every three hours than we did from the beginning of time to 2003 combined.

Alexander Ferguson 0:17
Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our applied tech series. UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at Today I’m excited to be joined by my guest, Tarek Kamil, who’s based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He’s the CEO and founder at Cerkl. Welcome, Tarek. Good to have you on.

Tarek Kamil 0:35
Alexander, good to talk to you.

Alexander Ferguson 0:38
Absolutely. Now, Cerkl is an employee communications suite. So for those out there, particularly in the HR side, it’s the internal communication that’s happening in Midmark. And enterprise companies. 500 plus employees is really your sweet spot. This could be a tool you’re going to want to check out, but help me understand at Tech, what’s the problem that you saw in the marketplace that I’ve set out to solve?

Tarek Kamil 1:02
Great question. So I think if we think broadly about what we’re doing with corporations and their workforce, is a much broader problem, which, if I go all the way back, it starts really in 2007, with the introduction of the iPhone. So what happened in 2007, iPhone comes out, and all of a sudden, you’ve got this device in your hand, that gives anyone access to you at any time. And what that did, combined with the emergence of social media, so Facebook, taking off Twitter, taking off YouTube taking off, we have so much content coming at us now more than we have ever had. The statistic that I think crystallized for me how big of an issue we’re dealing with is the fact that we create more content as a society every three hours than we did from the beginning of time to 2003 combined. So if you think about that, and what that means. So from 9am, to lunch, today, we will have created more, then every book, album, music, recording, movie, everything ever created from the beginning of time to 2003, we will eclipse that in three hours. And that is getting shorter and shorter. And so fundamentally, when you ask about what is the problem? It really boils down to this idea of us not being in the information age. I don’t think that’s where we are, I think we are in the attention age, how do you really get someone’s attention. And that was fundamentally what I was seeing as a core problem in could we use technology to address the issue.

Alexander Ferguson 3:08
The attention age, I love it. So for those who have been listening along with our series for a while, you know, we love both the technology, but also the business and the journey that you’ve been on. So I’d love to hear a bit more let’s, let’s take a step back, we’ll come back to the technology and how you guys are solving this. But where did this begin for you? Have you always just love communication and technology? Like what’s your journey?

Tarek Kamil 3:28
I’ve always loved technology. And so my backstory is, you know, started writing software at a very young age. I love technology, but only when it makes sense. How can we use it to make people’s lives better? And I think back to Uncle Ben in Spider Man, where he tells Peter Parker, with great power comes great responsibility. And I feel like that is how we should be viewing technology. It shouldn’t just use it to use it. It use it when we can really add value to people’s lives. So that’s my backstory. And no, I did not know anything about employee communication. Internal communication was really in the beginning, just looking for a way to drive engagement with the parents, alumni and community for my children’s school. That was a How can I get more people engaged with what is going on around education. So that’s where it began. It was a really a pet project of mine kind of nights and weekends of could we use technology in a meaningful way to increase engagement by increasing relevancy to the recipient. And what I mean by that is if you think about most communication, even how it’s still done today, is very much one size fits all. So how a mailing list, they’ll send it out the same thing to 10,000 people. Well, there’s so many issues with this. So if you think about how we communicate, and one of the fundamental architectural laws of email, for example, it is a snapshot in time. So if I were to put something together, and I wanted to send it out to my entire mailing list of 10,000 people, I put it together, I am guessing what’s the subject line that will resonate with the biggest percentage of people to get them to open? What should the lead story be? What’s the second story? What’s the right order? When should I send this? Right? How frequently? What day? What time? What language? Why are we always assuming everything needs to be in English? Right? And so then you hit send. So you’ve made so many assumptions, I’ve given you a list of 20 assumptions you have already made. You’re trying to engage a diverse group of 10,000 people. And you hit send. Well, now you’re praying, I hope they open it, I hope they receive it. And then what happens? The person that is added to your audience next week? How will they ever see what you sent today? Or the person that’s added a month from now? It’s because email is so static, right? It’s a shot in time. So I might subscribe, let’s say to your newsletter, a week from now. And the most interesting thing that you could have told me, you’ve already sent out How will I ever see this? So there’s just fundamentally how we’ve communicated historically, I think has been flawed. So my goal was, why don’t we flip it? Instead of it being from the organization’s perspective? Why can’t we make it from the recipients perspective? And that is really what Netflix is doing for you? Right? When you log into Netflix, it’s about you. It’s your perspective, Amazon, Hulu, Spotify, they all work the same way. So my thesis was, why can’t communication follow that same paradigm, that’s really was the next step of I think we can drive engagement and relevancy by flipping? Who is at the center of this conversation, it should be the recipient.

Alexander Ferguson 7:26
Because up to this point, you’re stating basically how people often communicate is time based, this is the most recent thing, take a look at it. But what needs to flip is it needs to be based on that person’s interest and what’s relevant to them. Hence, Netflix, I feel like you had mentioned you said this started with your the school parents, the school board, you’re sending things out and people like I didn’t know this event was happening. And they would be interested. But it was just embedded down in many other communications that were going out. Is that right? Is that where that first initial experience was?

Tarek Kamil 7:56
Yeah, I just feel like the and maybe I’m projecting my past. But when I was in school, the things that really mattered to me is when things that were out of the ordinary field trips, right? They you still remember field trips that you went on in elementary school, because it’s out of the ordinary, when we’re we would have speakers come in from the outside world and talk to us, I remember those. And so my thinking was, how could we engage the community in a way that we can get more kids activated. And the communication that we were sending is very much one size fits all, here are the 50 things going on. And people just don’t have the attention span, to read through a list of 50 things. If one of those or zero of those apply to them, we are now training them that this is not going to be a good use of your time. And so what’s happening is subconsciously, if you think about your own inbox, it’s probably like my inbox. There are things that you get, you need to open right away, because they’re super relevant to you. For past history, you know that this is going to be good use of your time. But then there’s other things that are not very relevant, or sometimes they are those get put on the backburner. And if you look at your inbox and say, How many unopened emails do I have? I think most people it is a huge number. And this is why this is exactly why that is a huge number. Because it is a they are shouting. These organizations are shouting and praying that you’re going to open their correspondence. Yeah. That’s not where we are anymore.

Alexander Ferguson 9:40
You started 2013 that the organization officially got started. And you were you were focused on what Cerkl at the very beginning focused on the educational space?

Tarek Kamil 9:51
Yes, yeah. So in the beginning, this was never intended to be a business. In the beginning. I just wanted to solve this engagement issue. And so I originally built it for my children’s school. And then I took this concept that I had created. And I went to all these school districts, and I said, I’ve created this thing for you. It’s free. And the whole mission of what they’ve built is to drive engagement to help our kids. And every single school district said no to me. I know, I know, that was the same reaction I had. Yeah, it was troubling. But the reason why is there really a monopoly, if you think about public education today, they receive the same tax dollars, whether the parents are engaged or not engaged. So there’s no motivation for them to do anything different. It really is difficult. And so that’s where I started to, you know, really think about what’s the right application for this technology. And the next step was really, parents coming to me and saying, This is amazing. Can I use this for these other use cases, which I didn’t know anything about? One of those use cases was could we use this to communicate to our employees?

Alexander Ferguson 11:19
And was this in 2013? Still, that all this happened? Or was it? Yes, this is probably,

Tarek Kamil 11:25
you know, I started building this really in 2012. And maybe had the first version out in 2013. Then as I started to realize the thing that I built, and I was so excited to kind of transform education, really drive engagement within education. When I realized that wasn’t happening, I can’t get them to see what I see. That’s when the parents started coming to me that were using it and saying, We love this. And they started giving me different use cases of, hey, could I use this for this purpose? Or this purpose? For this purpose? Like? Sure, yeah, of course, one of them was internal communication for large healthcare organization in our region, and 10,000 employees. And they were asking, Would it be possible to use the same technology to communicate to our people? So I don’t know. I mean, I’m not an expert in this area. The last time I worked for a big company, they were using Outlook for email and SharePoint for an intranet. And that was years and years and years ago. What are you using today? And their answer was outlook and SharePoint. So it was a lightbulb moment that there really hasn’t been the same level of evolution internally, with how companies talk to their people. In the same way that we’ve seen an evolution with how companies talk to their customers, right, you hear customer experience all over the place, or prospective customers from a marketing perspective. Both of those areas have seen massive leaps and bounds maturation in terms of how we talk to people treat people learn about people, but it hasn’t translated internally. And so that was a lightbulb moment for me that this is really the opportunity to change the world, is change how companies communicate, engage and understand their people.

Alexander Ferguson 13:35
So 2012 Start building in 2013, finally have it you launch you start sharing and you’re like, oh, okay, fuel, these school boards don’t want it, they’re not gonna take it. But the parents start talking to you 2013 1414 2015. I do notice you’re, you’re on like, the Cincinnati scholarship foundation for 2014 to 2017. Zero. Sounds like you’re still in that that educational space. But I guess 2015, maybe 2016, you started to make that shift. Yeah, so

Tarek Kamil 14:01
really, probably the teen 1617 where I really saw the need to transform this relationship between a company and its workforce. And so at that point, was really taking the company and focusing on solving this one problem, unique way.

Alexander Ferguson 14:26
Were you did you bootstrap at the beginning? Did you ever have you ever raised funding for this?

Tarek Kamil 14:31
Yes. So we, we were bootstrapped. I’m, you know, an engineer. So I like to build things and my prior companies, I have bootstrap as well. For this, we ended up raising. Right now we’re about $11.5 million. We have raised over the course of that time. So it’s really taken off recently. So we just closed around the Funding two weeks ago for 7 million. And a lot of that is driven because of COVID. So COVID is really driving the need for these companies to innovate and think differently about the relationship they want to have with their people.

Alexander Ferguson 15:19
So as more and more communication has to happen digitally, and you want people to be able to actually get the information that they want, you want them to have in an efficient way, that’s where solutions like yours, would you say, like even till this to this point that they’re coming from Outlook and SharePoint? Or is the whole, the entire atmosphere, everyone moving forward? Or is it they’re still coming from Outlook and SharePoint,

Tarek Kamil 15:46
I would say the vast majority are still using Microsoft, which we don’t displace that, you know, our goal in terms of how we work. And what broadcast, which is the name of the platform actually does for an organization is not to displace what they’ve already built. It is to tie things together, it is to serve as the connective tissue, given the channels that you’ve already made investments in, so most companies, I’d say 100% of them are using email, maybe 80% have an intra that you might have 10% have a mobile app for their workers. Maybe 70% are using some form of collaboration, like teams, or slack or something along those lines. So they have these channels that they’ve already made big investments in. And our goal is to work with the what they’ve already built, just tie it together and modernize their existing communication channels.

Alexander Ferguson 16:52
Interesting. As a reoccurring theme of I find with b2b software, as a consumer, we have an expectation from our personal side life of experiences. And when we come into business, it often can be lacking, it can be a laggard with that technology. But in this way, you’re trying to bring that same consumer grade experience inside of work,

Tarek Kamil 17:17
correct? That’s exactly right. So this is becoming more and more of an issue as their workforce starts to. You just have more people entering the workforce that hadn’t grown up with technology. Right. So you’ve got now the people entering the workforce do now really remember a time without a mobile device. Because it’s, you know, 14 years ago. Mm hmm. So they would have gotten their first phone, probably, you know, eight, nine, whatever, they don’t know anything else. And so now they’ve entered the workforce. They’re coming into your organization, they’re used to Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Instagram, everybody knows me, everything makes it about me, it’s all about saving my time, making my life convenient. And now they come into a workforce and an organization where it’s primarily communicating by email, which they’re not used to. Everything is one size fits all, the web experience feels like it’s, you know, 1997 still. And so it was a shock to the system. For your younger employees added to your workforce, they’re just that you said this, it really has not evolved in a long time. And so our mission is to really modernize how these companies communicate with their employees, but also engage them. And that’s where the AI piece comes into play. And we talk about it. Well,

Alexander Ferguson 18:59
let’s let’s dig just briefly into into that technology. So you mentioned Netflix several times, I feel like the recommendation algorithms are becoming standard in most consumer grade products. So you’re effectively bringing an AI component to customize the experience per employee, can you can you define what does that look like? Give me an example or a story, sir.

Tarek Kamil 19:23
So there’s a couple of ways that we do that. So one is we just ask you, what are the kinds of things that you care about? So this is an optional step, each employee can do it or not do it but it is analogous to your first experience with Netflix. When you first fit your account. Netflix will prompt you with shows and movies and genres and ask you what do you like? And then you might say I really like documentaries, or I really like horror movies or whatever, and then they can immediately start making some more Intelligent recommendations, we do the exact same thing. And then what happens is, as you engage with Netflix, it learns about your interests. And if your interests change, I might have said in the beginning, I like documentaries. But six months later, you know, your interests change, you stop watching, documentaries on Netflix will stop recommending them to you, because it sees your behavior has changed. And that’s the machine learning piece of this to make an intelligent recommendations based on what you’re doing today, not what you said six months ago, or three years ago, what are you doing today? So we do the same thing internally. So a good example of that might be, let’s say that community service is really important to you, you’re not required to do your job. It’s just what you are passionate about as a human being. And we can see that in there based on what you’ve told us, or based on your behavior. Oh, I see. Alexander’s always engaging with content around community service, what we’re doing for the community. Great. So knowing that when there is new community service, types of content, that be very high priority news for you, is that it should be a tailored experience for you built around you. In the same way Netflix builds their experiences for you,

Alexander Ferguson 21:26
getting slightly in the weeds, not too far. But the way those algorithms work is usually need data to be tagged properly, so that it knows what’s correlated to what is that something that you’ve already like, preset in there, people able to add their own, like, you know, these are topics around community service. So this is topics around our marketing efforts, help me understand your tagging system.

Tarek Kamil 21:49
Yeah, so this is where we need to really blend into what they’re already doing. So if we come in, and we say we’ve got a really elegant solution to this problem, the only requirement is you have to change everything you’ve ever built. And that’s a non starter. And I know that you know that they might love it, but they won’t pay, they made such a big time investment and financial investment into what they’re using today. So the way it works is really any digital content can be ingested into the system, that content can come from any source. And if they already have a taxonomy that they’re using, within a content management system, we just bring it over. And we honor that great. Oh, so in SharePoint, you have a tag or classification called Community Service, great when we ingest that content, it will simply call community service. And so that is how we really do a lot of the learning on the backend, which is they are engaging with different types of content. And we are tracking all of that. And there’s really two reasons for it. One is to understand what you like and what you don’t like. And the second reason is, we need to know what you’ve consumed and what you haven’t consumed. Meaning if I show you a piece of content, let’s say on the intranet, and you engage with it there, why would we show you the exact same thing in a newsletter? It’s a waste of your time. We know we’ve already wrote this. Other people might not have seen it yet. So it should be included in their newsletter, but not for you. Because we know you’ve seen it we know when you saw it. We know the channel you saw it on, why are the handles disconnected? To go back to Netflix, by start watching a show on my laptop and I hit pause and I go to a TV, I pick up exactly where I left off. That is not how corporate America works. Every channel today is siloed. It’s like a brand new experience every time you go to a new channel. And that is not what we expect as consumers and it’s not efficient, it is a waste of your people’s time. So there’s two really big problems we saw with this architecture, which is a we want to learn what you like what you don’t like and B we don’t want to waste your time.

Alexander Ferguson 24:30
M is one of the most valuable assets we have and being able to make sure that the right information comes at the right time. Was it a straightforward learning building this whole machine learning element AI component was it perfect all the way from inception to to where you are now.

Tarek Kamil 24:47
Absolutely perfect. Never any issues. Of course, it was it was I don’t know if you were looking at it probably look more like a seismograph. It was All over the place, you just learn what is learning constantly. And so you know, as an entrepreneur that has been through this before, I do understand that our biggest asset is time. So you might have a thesis, I believe this to be true. Great, how can I get that answer in hours? Not days, weeks, months, or, God forbid, years? How can I get this answer as fast as possible, because I don’t want to waste time. And so we’ve been all over the place really learning. And I think now we’re at a place where we have so many customers, and they do such a good job of communicating with us. And we, I think we do a really good job of listening to that. So it’s much less now about the thesis, and more about really understanding your customer in a very intimate way, and seeing solutions that they can’t see. But we can see their pain. So if you can communicate your pain to me, I can come up with a solution that not only helps you but most others. So I think that’s a natural life cycle as you talk to different businesses. In the beginning. It’s theory, it’s testing, it’s iterating. But once you find product market fit, then it’s really more listening. And, and making sure that you aren’t reacting too quickly. So you’re listening, and you’re looking for trends across your customers, what’s the elegant solution that I can put in place that not only solves this sounds for someone, but solves it for lots of people. And that’s where it becomes tricky. Because if you are too quick, to just put in a solution, you might actually be over complicating your offering. And that’s we definitely don’t want to be there. I’m really big on user experience and product feedback and making sure the experience with the product is beautiful one that they love, and they understand and they get. So it definitely changes over time to go from testing and iterating to listening.

Alexander Ferguson 27:30
Mm hmm. We have a lot of entrepreneurs and founders who listen to series as well. So that that whole concept of there’s a lot of buzz around machine learning and artificial intelligence adding in in but doing it right is can be the difficult part and and being able to actually help and serve your clients. So that that’s a key piece of it sounds like a lesson learned of not just implementing it too quick, but slowly with constant feedback loops.

Tarek Kamil 27:58
Yes. Well, I mean, but the company’s name is Cerkl for a reason. So people always ask me, why did you name it that? And the answer is, the idea of a feedback loop is a circle. And the way that we communicate today is very linear. So you push communication, and we leave the most valuable part of that communication on the floor, is not listening to how people respond.

Alexander Ferguson 28:30
You made a thought just popped in my head about the fact of communication and the importance of, of good. Keeping that alive. I’ve heard the phrase many times if you have to communicate with someone seven times or seven touches before they really get it, and bark marketing, but I’m wondering if it’s the same for internal, have you done any research or looked at or even have functions around? Frequency? Cuz I know you’ve talked about being able to remove it, so they don’t need to see it again. But what if people want them to see it again and again. So it’s

Tarek Kamil 29:01
one of the things that, you know, as you get into this, people really, I think, understand the complexity of what marketers are trying to do. And I would say it is a complex job of digital marketing today. There is a big difference, though, between a marketing function and an internal communication function. So marketing is lots of things but if I over simplified and Alexander there’s 20% off this weekend. No one’s going to die or lose their job, you know, go to that sale. And I know it’s more complicated than 20% off this weekend, but a lot of it is optional, wants to know information. Well, internally, they have to deliver that. Hey, that committee In the service project, Alexander doesn’t need to know it. But he would want to know, great, let’s make sure he sees this. The big difference is within a business, they have need to know information that has to be communicated. It is not optional, you must know this, to perform your job to keep your job to stay healthy to stay safe. And so they have the two sides of I need to know something. And I want to know something. And marketers don’t really have to deal with need to know. And so that’s really where we started to understand over time, that the learning piece is important. But that’s really around want to know information. They need to know they need control. So going back to your question of what if, what if an internal communicator needs an employee or a group of employees to see a certain piece of content over and over? Whatever the number is. So they have granular control of the content level, so they can go into the content and they can say, I need this to be available on all channels. Even if Alexander’s seen it, I need this to run for the next six weeks or four weeks or six months or whatever it is. So we want them to feel empowered to do both really, really well.

Alexander Ferguson 31:30
It’s a also comes in sounds like a balancer, keeping it the platform simple and straightforward that people don’t have to do a lot of work to use it but they still have the ability to customize to the granular level when it comes to to that communication. And this is not the first company that you’ve left true a couple a couple different things. But from what if sports, interesting sports simulation technology and in kitna if I say that right? And in Cigna, yes and Cigna. If you look over your multiple business years of experience, and you start to to pull out because I mentioned earlier, we have a lot of business leaders and founders and entrepreneurs that listen. When it comes to building a company. If you go back to yourself and tell yourself 1020 years ago what you know now building successful business or add SAS business? What What’s it what’s a key knowledge key nugget for you?

Tarek Kamil 32:39
I think there’s so many. I’m here to do an entire episode on all the mistakes I’ve made, the things I’ve learned. It really is. People are your business is your people. So oftentimes, entrepreneurs will mistake the product or the service as the most important thing, or they’ll state the customer as the most important thing. It’s not it’s your people. And you need people that are passionate about changing the world and driving value. And that love what they do. Love to work hard and love to solve problems love to collaborate, there’s a skill set that I have found to be very, very successful. One of the other things I would tell myself, so if I was talking to me, when I started my first business at 2728, I would tell myself, drop the ego. Ego is a killer. Ego is a killer. Personally, it’s a killer professionally, it stands in the way of innovation. It’s all about how you look. It prevents you from taking risks because you’re afraid to fail. Ego is the worst thing for an entrepreneur. Do you think you’d

Alexander Ferguson 34:09
recognize you had ego if you had it? Or do you see what’s just natural? Like what’s a sign that you might have a little too much here?

Tarek Kamil 34:18
My favorite line for that is I’m the most humble person I know. That right? That is I don’t know if you would recognize or not but it’s a it is a it is an ongoing thing. Because society teaches us the exact opposite. Society, with friends, family, go to school, it is about fitting in. It is about not standing out. It is about not drawing attention to yourself. It is about failure is bad. Don’t ask questions. All those things are ego driven. And I would say, Okay, if I actually did those things, my best case scenario is I am right in the middle of the bell curve. I am the most average person you could ever meet. Though, person in the middle of the bell curve has ever changed the world. So you have to ask yourself a question. Why are you on this earth? What are you here to do. And if it is change the world, you can’t have a go and get there. You just can’t. If it is, I just want to fit in. Cool, you’re going to be in the middle of the bell curve, but you’re not going to do anything of note, the people on both ends of that bell curve are the ones that change the world. And I’m not just talking about technology, you can apply that to anyone. Right? So Martin Luther King, he is not in the middle of the bell curve, he wanted to change the world. And you put yourself out there and you get people putting you down, threatening your life. Everyone who has changed, the world is out here. None of them are sitting in the middle. And the ego pushes you to the metal. So that would definitely be a piece of advice. I wish I would have figured this out years ago. But better late than never.

Alexander Ferguson 36:30
Yes. You mentioned that how important that team is how big is the team today?

Tarek Kamil 36:36
We’re 45. And we’re just hiring like crazy. Um, and we should be around 55 or 60. Hopefully by the end of the year.

Alexander Ferguson 36:46
Wow. When it comes to to hiring, because I know also for those who are in communication in HR, different things that that also big role. Is there any key things or tools or tactics you found to hire the right people or make sure that they that they’re they’re the right fit for both your company and the role?

Tarek Kamil 37:06
is really difficult? Great question. Well, one of the things that I learned early on is, when you’re first getting started, the more known quantities you can surround yourself with. So people you’ve worked with in the past people that you trust, people that you know, or no one degree removed. Yes, come with me. Oftentimes, the skill set you need to survive at the beginning is not the same skill set, you need to grow. But at the beginning, it is all about survival. You need people that really are adaptable, and flexible and like to solve problems and have empathy. That is how you survive, we will figure it out. And that skill set can play a role. But we’re actually going through this now where we’re really trying to transition away from that mindset to become really world class, the things that drive the most value within the business. So I don’t want to be okay, at lots of things, I want to be amazing at a few things. And that is how you mature as a company. That’s really I think, where we are really focused on maturation, being amazing at the things we choose to be amazing at it. But getting back to people, I think there’s really two different answers to that question. One is who do you hire when you’re first getting started? And the second is, how do you grow your team, and then maintain your culture. And that is also extremely difficult. And so a lot of that is really just doing the legwork upfront. And really, I think over communicating to potential new hires, this is who we are, this is how it’s going to feel. You need to come in and ask questions, and you need to be okay with challenging things. And that’s how we innovate and these are more than words, this is really how it’s going to feel to you. And the more we can impress upon them, what you’re walking into that will either attract them or push them away. Oh, I actually don’t want to be in that type of environment. And that’s okay. We want people that do really value being in that type of culture.

Alexander Ferguson 39:39
For you, with your team that’s growing and lots of exciting things looking ahead to the future. Both for you but also the industry of internal communications. What do you see the future look future looking like the next 234 years?

Tarek Kamil 39:58
It’s it’s evolved rapidly, which is really exciting. I think within the next three or four years, you’re going to really see what we’ve talked about, which is how we treat our consumers really be taken and embraced by these organizations. I think because of COVID, I think because of this labor shortage that we’re in, right, there is a talent shortage, it’s hard to find people. For most companies, people are their biggest expense. Right? And it’s not, it shouldn’t even be viewed as an expense. It’s your biggest asset. So I think people are starting to realize, and when I say people, I mean, the leadership of these large organizations really fed them to realize investing in your people is the best investment you can make. And so if there are tools and technologies like what we offer that can make them feel more valued, great. I think you’re going to see that really explode over the next three years.

Alexander Ferguson 41:14
Well being a tool that one could use, if you want to check out Cerkl it is C E R K You’ll be able to request a demo and explore it. Thank you so much Tarek, it’s good to have you on and share your journey.

Tarek Kamil 41:28
Great questions. I appreciate the conversation. Thanks for having me on.

Alexander Ferguson 41:33
Absolutely. We’ll see you all on the next episode of UpTech Report. Have you seen a company using AI machine learning or other technology to transform the way we live, work and do business? Go to and let us know.


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