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Case Study

DraftKings empowers employees and amplifies their voice with Polly.

Key use case

People operations



Customer since


DraftKings is responsibly creating the world’s favorite games and betting experiences.

To make those experiences possible, DraftKings fosters a rich, empowering workplace culture that attracts, engages, and retains a high volume of top talent from across the globe. 

We caught up with Laura Zhang, Senior Analytics Manager, People at DraftKings to learn more about how she and her team use tools like Polly to help strengthen communication, empower their colleagues, and build an unbeatable employee experience.

“It has always been a huge component of our culture and a focus for the executive team to make sure all our employees have equal opportunities and feel like they can voice their experiences and give feedback,” Zhang said. “In the last engagement pulse, a key factor was: ‘I feel empowered to voice my opinion, even if it’s different.'"

That continued focus on embracing diverse and differing opinions fuels innovation and helps DraftKings better serve its truly massive, dedicated fanbase.

Having a simple, lightweight tool that captures employee sentiment quickly and consistently helps the DraftKings People team to bring team sentiment and new ideas to the surface. 

“Polly makes it easier for employees to share their voice."

"On the People team, everyone loves the response rate and how easy it is to use, plus the convenience of having everything right in Slack.”

But as Zhang explains, it’s not just members of the People team who experience the benefits.

“Respondents save time, and it’s much easier for them. From a results perspective, they get to see things sooner because we can compile results more quickly and have access to the raw data, rather than going through other vendors and systems. We are usually able to turn things around faster.”

While the team at DraftKings uses Polly to gauge the thoughts and sentiment of employees on a number of topics, it became increasingly useful during times of major change.

Navigating a merger, going public, and a global pandemic

Like many teams across the world, the DraftKings team experienced an abrupt shift in day-to-day operations as a result of COVID-19. 

As employees rushed to make the transition from working in a state-of-the-art office to working from home, it was important for Zhang and her team to ensure everyone still felt supported and had the tools for success.

“We’ve also been using Polly to gauge remote employee experiences: what some of the benefits and challenges have been, and what resources everyone might need.”

During what would already have been a transformational time in its history, DraftKings also announced a merger and going public. Understanding employee sentiment was vital throughout this time, and Polly made it easy to collect that feedback quickly.

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“After going public and acquiring SBTech – effectively doubling the size of our company, Polly helped us measure integration efforts and track the trends of how our employees thought about the future vision of DraftKings.”

Smarter targeting and personalization with Polly’s API

As a data-driven technology company, DraftKings naturally gravitated towards Polly’s API for greater power and flexibility. This gave the People team a wide open playing field to imagine new possibilities for how they could shape the ways they connect with employees.

Zhang and her team were able to customize the contents of each polly sent out to their team and segment audiences in order to reach the right people in the context of their work with a tailored message.

“We’re really getting focused on optimizing internal communications, and it’s great that we can use Polly’s API to better customize our messaging.” 

The API allowed the team to segment audiences and send separate versions of their remote work pulse to members of leadership and individual contributors, even though there were no Slack channels dedicated to those audiences. 

It also allowed for a personal touch, like including a new employee’s name in the title of their onboarding check-ins.

Polly pro tips

As a Polly user getting exceptional value from the tool, Zhang shared some suggestions on how others could do the same. “Work with the Polly team,” she said.

“Set aside the notion of polls or surveys, and brainstorm ways that immediate feedback would be helpful."

"We looked through our previous engagement and performance management processes, and identified what we could do in Polly instead to make it better.”

She also suggested splitting those brainstorms into 2 categories:

  • How do we optimize what we’re already doing by moving it over to Polly?
  • What sort of net new things are possible to do with a tool like Polly that you couldn’t do before?


Moving forward

With Polly, the DraftKings People team gained a quick, simple, and fun way to empower their colleagues and amplify their voice. As a result, they were able to gain crucial insights into major events as well as the day-to-day employee experience more quickly, and with less effort across the board.

Following these wins, Zhang’s team plans to bring Polly to an increasing scope of initiatives, from measuring meeting effectiveness to high-level areas with close interest from senior leadership.

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