people pattern

33% higher employee retention at Photogenic, Inc.

The challenge

Photogenic, Inc. provides photography services at 40 tourist attractions across the United States. The firm partners with popular destinations like the Willis Tower Skydeck in Chicago, the Alamo in San Antonio and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to capture and sell souvenir images to their customers. As a seasonal business, Photogenic’s workforce fluctuates heavily, which makes recruiting and retaining good employees top priorities, especially during the summer.

Given the company’s cyclical growth, one of the things it struggled with was inconsistent information dissemination. The leadership team wanted to make it easier for employees at any venue to access company news and get in touch without needing each other’s phone numbers. As they researched tools for improving communications and driving employee engagement, Photogenic’s CEO discovered that one manager was using the Crew platform to connect with her team, and determined it was the perfect solution for the entire business.

The solution

The firm gradually rolled out Crew Enterprise to every location, and quickly reached around 80% active participation across hundreds of employees. In just over a year, the mobile-centric solution has become integral to all day-to-day communications at Photogenic. It provides a virtual space for important company information, collaboration and employee recognition. New employees now set up Crew during their first day on the job, so they can easily get up to speed and stay in touch.

Because sharing information on Crew is so easy, it has become second nature for managers to communicate more often and more effectively with their staff members. Photogenic’s corporate leadership team also uses Crew’s Command Center to send announcements about new policies, venues or even staff birthdays to specific locations, regions or the entire company.

Because Crew fosters a positive work culture and great teamwork, it has become essential to our business. It transforms the way we communicate and makes employees happier – and when they’re happy they provide better customer service.

Claire Cummings
HR Director & General Manager

Simplifying multi-directional communication

From driving awareness and discussion around team-specific performance goals, to checking in with school-bound employees about their changing schedules at the end of the summer, to improving day-to-day workflows, better communication helps Photogenic enhance the end customer experience. For example, now that staff can easily send photo ID numbers from one part of a venue to another via Crew, the check-out process is more seamless for customers.

In addition, teams use Crew to help get shifts covered, which saves managers the hassle of having to track down people who can fill in. Employees simply post their coverage requests in Crew when needed and another team member usually steps up quickly to pick up the extra hours. Finally, Photogenic’s human resources team uses Crew each spring to accelerate hiring by promoting referral bonuses that incentivize staff to invite their friends to apply for summer jobs.

Cultivating employee engagement and connections

To motivate employees to stay with Photogenic, leaders also use Crew to award gold stars, spotlight top employees each month and acknowledge outstanding individual or team performance. This public recognition helps employees feel appreciated and encourages them to keep doing quality work.

Photogenic’s frontline workers enjoy connecting in Crew, because it keeps them feeling informed, connected and upbeat at work. Employees share everything from silly pictures to recipes, even with teammates they may not see all day because they work at different ends of a venue. As a result, managers note that teams feel more cohesive and enjoy their work, which translates into greater employee satisfaction and loyalty.


Crew delivers significant, measurable business results as well. For example, one of Photogenic’s key metrics is a “service score,” which tracks how much money the business makes from each customer on a given day. Leadership considers the improved team communications since rolling out Crew to be a key factor in driving their average service score up by 15%.

Additionally, last summer’s employees worked about a month or two longer than in previous years, in part thanks to the positive work environment that Crew cultivated. This 33% increase in staff retention had a major impact on the bottom line, since it costs about $1200 to hire and train each new employee. By avoiding around 50 seasonal hires last year, the business saved $60,000.

Finally, Crew helps managers free up at least a half an hour a week just on managing schedule changes alone. This saves the business nearly $7,000 in manager hours each season – time that can now be spent on training new people or further improving the customer experience.


Photogenic, Inc.

  • Chicago, IL
  • Photography
  • 500+ employees
  • 40+ locations

Crew Impact

  • +15% daily revenue / customer
  • +33% employee retention
  • $60k savings in hiring costs