(I just returned from the 2013 HR Technology Conference where I got to see all the latest and greatest HR technology, and speak to some wickedly smart people. So, for the next week or so, my plan is to share some of the products and insights I gained from this experience. So we are clear, no companies I write about have paid me to write about them. I requested Diet Mt. Dew be delivered and no one brought one. Enjoy…)
I swear last product I want to talk about from HR Tech! This one is near and dear to my heart because it’s about employee retention! I know boring right! No sexy, stealthy way to find talent or Jedi Mind Tricks to get your staff to perform better, just good old solid how the hell do we keep our people from leaving! HR to it’s core.
The company is BlackBookHR, there new product is called Sense and it won best new HR Tech product of 2013! I continually referenced them as BackDoorHR (because deep down I’m a 12 yaer old boy at heart). I’m sorry about that Chris Ostoich, the Founder and CEO of BlackBookHR. Chris is a really great person, with a really great story. He’s one of those guys you route for. He couldn’t really even afford to have a booth at HR Tech, but won the prize for best product anyway! (He told me he could afford a booth, but thought there were better ways to spend the money – he’s right!) Also, he brought his Mom out to Vegas to see him get the award! Pure Midwest, baby!
Sense is a software which sets an engagement baseline for your entire staff. Don’t worry that takes about 5 minutes for your employees to complete. Then, each week Sense goes out and within 30 seconds re-measures to the baseline of each employee (through an email interface and quick point and select questions).
Here’s a quick example: An original question might be — “My company gives me the tools and resources I need to do great work?” On a scale of 1 to 10 I say, “Yep, they do at an 8”. Everything is going great at an 8, then a few months later my boss tells me he’s cutting some tool out of my budget I rely on. That Friday Sense asks me the same “tools and resource” question, but this time I answer “1”. The system ‘senses’ something went wrong with my engagement, and that I could be a flight risk, so HR is told. HR then determines how to elevate this to my supervisor, or do they handle it themselves. Pretty cool!
Sense also does one other very cool thing and shows you how an employee influences within your organization. Not all employees are created equal. Some have major influence and connections, and one of those employees leaves, usually others follow. Sense will show you who those employees are in your organization as well!
Beyond cool, is that some very big Fortune 500 types have been using this and the metrics show that it actually works. Like reducing many percentage points off your turnover works!
How did Chris know this idea would work? He lived it!
Chris isn’t from HR or even from IT. He was a finance dude who had a feeling he could easily be talked into leaving his current company. He saw others like him, and thought there is a way to stay connected and at least giving the company a chance to hang on to him, and show him some love, on those times when he was most vulnerable to leaving. Long story short, he shared his idea with his company, and they listened, and they told him to get his ass back to work! He did, on his own, building Sense!
Check it out – quickly! Sometimes the simplest ideas and products have the biggest impact to our bottom line. I have a feeling Sense won’t be around as a stand alone product for long. My guess is Oracle, SumTotal, Halogen, SuccessFactors, etc. will come knocking on Chris’s door and offer him a huge pile of cash to integrate it into their own suite. It’s that good.