OfficeAccord: Fostering Connections beyond the Office

Michael Noland, Co-founder & COO, OfficeAccordMichael Noland, Co-founder & COO
As Ben Comstock, cofounder and CEO of OfficeAccord, reflects upon the genesis of his venture, he recalls a day in 2014 when he stepped into his office break room and overheard numerous non-business related conversations his colleagues were having with one another. “It got me wondering why there wasn’t a dedicated digital space for employees to share these non-work related ideas and opportunities with the entire office community,” he explains. “Encouraging employee interaction is fundamental to engagement.” Noticing that internal communication tools like email, Slack, Yammer, and HipChat are often used for both work and personal conversations, Comstock recognized these channels were becoming less efficient at running the business. “Employees need a dedicated place to connect with their peers; one that doesn’t disrupt the business with mass emails and endless comment threads,” he states. Having identified a need, Comstock teamed up with Michael Noland, a seasoned collaboration software developer, to create the first smartphone friendly employee digital bulletin board—OfficeAccord.

Employee engagement has become the mantra for organizations in pursuit of keeping their workforce happy, motivated, and productive. The founders at OfficeAccord have taken an innovative human approach to enhancing engagement. “In a work place, connectivity is encouraged through project management and collaboration tools. However, these tools leave workers disconnected personally. We focus on providing tools that build community and interaction on a personal level, within a professional environment,” states Noland, Co-founder and COO of OfficeAccord.

OfficeAccord has built social widgets, what they call Modules, to help foster meaningful colleague interactions. These Modules include Events, Classifieds, Conversations, Notifications, Ride shares, Housing and even Custom modules where companies can link to their existing employee services.

Thanks to single sign-on and active directory integrations, companies can easily embed these social widgets within their existing employee portal.
Ben Comstock, Co-founder & CEO, OfficeAccordBen Comstock, Co-founder & CEO
“Most companies don’t need an entirely new internal communication platform. They just need to make what they already have more useful,” states Comstock. “We provide the tools to help them do that.”

Companies choose their desired Modules which OfficeAccord brands, integrates and hosts with Microsoft Azure to ensure the upmost privacy, accessibility and security of information shared. “We also have built-in site usage metrics and a survey to help our clients gauge the tool’s effectiveness,” states Comstock.

Within weeks of launching their out-of-the-box solution, OfficeAccord signed with Harvard University. They now power HARVie’s Classifieds, Harvard’s employee digital bulletin board. “OfficeAccord has been a great solution and partner,” says Esther Vegh, Associate Director of HR Communications at Harvard University. “This tool is an important part of building community across our large campus.” OfficeAccord also has ongoing pilots at enterprise level companies.

OfficeAccord takes a unique approach to challenging the status quo that employee engagement requires only a focus on internal surveys, professional training, and workplace enhancements. “It’s the human connections and relationships we build with our colleagues that help us feel engaged and dedicated to our organization,” states Comstock. “At OfficeAccord, we provide the mechanisms that allow these connections and relationships to form organically.”

The founders are excited for 2017. “Based on user feedback, we will be unveiling two new modules in Q1 of 2017 to further enhance office community. We plan to be available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace for organizations with smaller budgets to self-host the tool instead of using our hosted solution,” wraps up Comstock.