Two years ago, my dentist clicked off her headlight, sat me up, and scrawled a note. She had news.
I sunk into the teal Naugahyde chair—already regretting coming in for my exam. Let me guess, I thought, Abscessed tooth? Root canal?
She pulled down her mask. “You’re grinding your teeth.”
The dentist didn’t appreciate my look of relief and launched into a campaign to end my stress by way of mouthguard. “Any idea what’s stressing you out?” She asked.
I know I’m not the only one who’s felt overwhelmed with the litany of tools meant to make business easier—for example, a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that over a third of office staff disagree with the statement that “they’re satisfied with the technology experience their company provides for making progress on their most important work.” Another study from Forrester found that “62% [of employees] say they delay completing tasks that require logging into multiple systems.”
My particular problem was compounded by the small matter of my occupation: not only did I use software at work to do everything from log intern timesheets to draft online articles, but I was also a professional software reviewer. I was working through a particularly rough batch of tools, each of which required onboarding and testing. They frustrated me to the point of grinding through my enamel.
My work at Capterra (a Gartner company) gave me a tremendous advantage when entering the software startup world. I know most users hate using new tools. I know that everything from UX to color choice to ease of use play into whether or not people will use business software enthusiastically or not. I know there’s a big difference between “liking” and “using” a product.
I joined GoodSeeker with an eye on adoption, usability, and stickiness. To work as it should, at least 15% of a company’s users should open the tool once a week. That means users—for us, that means our customers’ employees—need to really like using our product.
We’ve been keeping a pulse on churn and user feedback since day one and we’ve learned a lot in the process—so much so that we’re excited to share the psychology behind our user adoption strategy.
Employees, we’ve found, love using GoodSeeker. Using software adoption principles, amalgamated customer feedback, and trends affecting the future of work, these are the five reasons why.
Call it “employee experience.” Call it “company culture.”
Employees—people, really—want to wake up and spend their day in a satisfying, low-friction environment. A study out of Hays found that almost half (47%) of job seekers say “company culture is the main reason” for their job search. They add that candidates are specifically looking for “open communication, strong leadership, and work-life balance.” It’s not a far leap to assume that employees want to actively participate in these environments—maybe that’s why research shows that a strong workplace culture positively correlates with employee engagement and productivity.
Employee experience matters, and employees want a say in that experience.
Qualtrics data shows that while most (60%) employees reported having a way to provide feedback about their own employee experience, few (30%) felt that their employers act on the information.
“Workers who say their employer acts on their feedback are 4x MORE LIKELY [sic] to stay with the company than employees who don’t think their feedback changes anything.”
What GoodSeeker offers
Our earliest adopters started with using GoodSeeker as an employee appreciation application. What we found was that employees use GoodSeeker to not only celebrate their peers’ (and their own!) successes, but to also celebrate what their employer gets right.
Our data shows that there are patterns in GoodSeeker story submissions. Common prompts include all-hands meetings, company birthday parties, and conferences—moments when employees come together to celebrate project milestones, discuss big wins, and exercise learning opportunities.
One administrator told us in our latest user survey that “GoodSeeker is a nice central way to see what employees have said about what parts of their experience are working well.” In other words, GoodSeeker is one of the few programs that enables company leadership to see what employees like and value most instead of dislike.
Knowing that, employees take to GoodSeeker to celebrate what’s working well with their company. While we onboard new users, we make it clear that admins can aggregate and analyze stories for actionable change on a company-wide level—once employees realize that GoodSeeker is an effective tool to vocalize what’s working, they become more likely to write stories about what matters to them at work.
What’s the value of a strong brand? Millions and billions of dollars to your company. Most (91%) consumers would rather buy from an “authentic” brand than one that’s “dishonest.” Seventy-one percent of people say they are more likely to purchase from brands that they’ve had positive interactions with. Heck, just having a consistent brand presentation increases revenue by up to 23%.
These business branding statistics matter in two ways to employees. First, they want to take pride in where they work. Second, they know that branding has the same powerful potential for themselves.
3BL Association researched the effect of company reputation on attracting quality candidates. They found “92% [of adult U.S. workers] would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent corporate reputation.” They also found that “46% would need a pay increase of 50% or more to consider moving to a company with an unfavorable reputation.”
In other words, companies with poor reputations have to pay more for less loyal employees. Retention starts with employee experience, an amalgam that takes both public perception of the brand and its daily inner workings into account.
One proactive approach available to companies interested in their employer brands is to look at branding the assets they already have: their employees. Employees love when their company does this. For example, Entrepreneur reports that employees that receive personal branding investments from their company are “27% more likely to feel optimistic about their company's future; 20% are more likely to stay at their company; and 40% are more likely to believe their company is more competitive.”
Not only do employees engage more with their company when they have a strong personal brand, but they transform into accidental marketers for their business. Employees tend to post about their employer on their own social networks, and those postings tend to be positive. Research from Weber Shandwick found that over a third (39%) of U.S. employees have shared praise or positive comments online about their employer, and that another 33% “post messages, pictures or videos in [sic] social media about their employer without any encouragement from the employer.” Only one in six employees have ever said anything negative about their place of work.
With such a strong potential for positive ROI, employers have good incentive to encourage their employees to grow their social presence—especially when social selling curates 45% more sales opportunities than traditional sales funnels.
What GoodSeeker offers
Employees have two reputations to manage: their reputation internally at their own company, and their external professional reputation. GoodSeeker helps with both in the same way.
Every employee gets their own profile on GoodSeeker. Much like any other social media site, they can set their profile picture, title, and location, and they can add links back to their own LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Their story board populates as they write and receive stories.
It’s from those stories that employees really build their brands. As users read through, they can get a holistic understanding of the employee based on the stories that they’re featured in.
Of course, no one has all day to scroll through all the stories a prolific employee might curate. That’s why GoodSeeker offers “Story Themes,” which curates the most popular tags affiliated with each user.
Employees can use these profiles and stories to complement their professional networking sites. Our customers especially appreciate that the tags that show on personal profiles are values and character traits, which nicely round out a more skill-focused resume or profile.
The statistics don’t look good for employers concerned with retention.
Four in five (81%) workers are either passively open to a new job or proactively looking for one.
Over half (52%) of the American workforce plans to actively look for a new job in 2019. Of those looking, another half (54%) started their current job in 2018.
American workers say job security is more important than wage increases.
Wait, what was that last one?
In spite of the constant exchange of employees in the workplace, employees aren’t leaving their place of work because they like job hopping. More often than not, employees leave because of poor management and bad company culture; for example, Randstand found that a whopping 58% of employees “have left jobs, or are considering leaving, because of negative office politics” and another 38% of workers “want to leave their jobs due to a toxic work culture or one where they don’t feel they fit in.”
In other words, employees are pointing to negative office environments to explain high rates of turnover. If you’ve ever worked in an environment like this, I’m sure you’re nodding along right now.
What GoodSeeker offers
Let me be clear: GoodSeeker is a content tool for employers. It won’t root out your Michael Scotts and it can’t create compelling company cultures. We designed GoodSeeker to highlight and amplify what’s working and to give good companies the visibility they deserve; if everything is going poorly, GoodSeeker can only capture glimmers of hope. Organizational change can only happen when executives invest time in creating a culture that works.
That said, GoodSeeker can be—and often is—part of the answer. As we discussed at the beginning of this piece, employees like to use GoodSeeker to call out what they like about their workplace. Those call outs can also be used to recruit new employees.
Like social selling for sales departments, social recruiting is more effective than traditional recruiting. Research from Jobvite (PDF) identified that the top-three benefits of employers with referral programs were “finding candidates with a stronger culture fit,” “having high-performers refer other high-performers,” and “lowering recruiting costs,” in that order.
Employees love referring and recruiting their friends. For employees, it’s not about an incentive program (though 29% say it’s their #1 reason for issuing a referral). It’s not about their ability to correctly match job duties with what the company needs (only 17% give this reason for providing company referrals). It’s overwhelmingly about camaraderie. That Jobvite study found that 39% of employees who refer candidates do so because of a “personal relationship.” Working with friends is fun and important.
No wonder Jobvite found that almost half (46%) of employees hired through referral programs stay for three or more years; only 14% who were found through job boards stay for the same length of time. It’s all about culture. It’s all about creating a workplace where people want to be day in and day out.
GoodSeeker provides a social recruiting platform that makes it easy for recruiters and employees alike. Public stories have an option for “nudges,” or buttons that prompt story viewers to take a specific action—like apply for a job or ask about working with the company.
Administrators can add qualifying questions (“are you actively looking for a new job?”) and use them to create a database of names and email addresses from viewers who click and engage.
We give employees the ability to see who signed up from their stories, and we’ve seen companies use this feature as the backbone of their employee referral program. The best part is that prospective candidates are filling out job information after engaging with a company story—a piece of information that’s necessarily about some part of the office culture. That kind of emotional storytelling is far more compelling than a rote job description, which means more invested job applicants.
(We’ve also seen companies use this feature to curate marketing leads, but that affects employees less than the recruiting application of the nudge button.)
Employees love using GoodSeeker because it attracts the right kind of candidates to their company—the kind of people they’d love to spend time with, and likely already do.
OfficeVibes found that “82% of employees really appreciate receiving feedback, regardless if it’s positive or negative.” They add, “83% of employees think it's better to give someone praise than a gift.”
Drop the gift cards and “employee of the month” certificates. Employees just want regular appreciation.
In fact, Cognology recommends monthly feedback not because that’s what employees necessarily want, but because it’s most cost-effective for managers regulating their time—employees tend to prefer regular weekly feedback. That feedback is better for employee experience than a raise, company party, or even personal development than a raise.
Plus, positive feedback has a huge potential for ROI. Terryberry’s infographic on employee recognition shows “41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen marked positive increases in customer satisfaction.” Looking for an explicit case of employee recognition influencing a company’s bottom line? Check out Delta from 2007: they reported a 564% return on investment from their recognition program, even when facing chapter 11 bankruptcy.
What GoodSeeker offers
I have a favorite GoodSeeker-as-a-feedback-tool story. The names here are changed but the story is true.
Early on a Tuesday morning, Erin, who’s normally an engaged, detail-oriented employee, made a mistake. Maybe she hadn’t had her morning coffee, maybe her finger slipped—she accidentally sent an email intended for recurring donors to her nonprofit’s board of directors, who are normally given white-glove communication.
Erin recovered swiftly. She first alerted her manager to her mistake. She then followed up her email with a simple solution: she apologized for the accident, and then asked for feedback on her email marketing campaign. To her surprise, many board members responded, both with helpful feedback and a request to join the distribution list!
Erin’s nerves didn’t calm until after lunch—that was the moment when her manager sat down to write her GoodSeeker story. “Mistakes happen,” he wrote, “and Erin showed tremendous quick thinking and resiliency today. We’re lucky to have Erin on the team.” Even though he’d told her that he was happy with how she handled her mistake, Erin fully trusted his reaction only after a story was published. In fact, she went home that day feeling more engaged and enthusiastic about her work with her company.
GoodSeeker not only provides a way for employees to get real-time positive feedback, but that feedback is often more meaningful because it’s documented. For managers, each GoodSeeker story takes under a minute to create, so it’s often a time-saver when compared to a lengthy conversation.
As an aside, we know about Erin’s story because her manager reached out to us to tell us about it—he appreciated having a tool that could capture an example of learning from a mistake that wouldn’t embarrass anyone on his team. Without something like GoodSeeker in place, celebrating Erin’s quick thinking might seem awkward or forced, especially when wanting to share with the rest of the company.
I’m sure Erin appreciated the stories written about her for the next point as well: performance reviews.
Know what’s less popular than the first Monday after winter break?
Research published in the Journal of Personnel Psychology found that criticism given in performance reviews—regardless of how much “constructive” couching a manager might use—isn’t received well, even by employees who are otherwise always striving for self improvement. The Washington Post summarizes: “What's meant to be a constructive and helpful discussion quickly gets lost once someone—even those who are sincerely interested in developing their talents and skills—hears critical feedback.” Maybe that’s why only 16% of employees want to receive any feedback in their annual review.
Employees might actually like them more than their own managers—an SHRM article about the waning popularity of performance reviews cites CEB: “About 95% of managers say they aren’t satisfied with their organizations’ performance management processes.”
To make matters worse, more than half (54%) of HR representatives doubt the accuracy of annual reviews; imprecision is a problem. So much of that has to do with the subjective nature of the reviews themselves. While it’s often easy to identify quantitative metrics like number of sales closed, bugs found, or emails sent, qualitative metrics—like customer quality, code quality, or communication quality—are often more important and go unnoticed, to the chagrin of employees.
The qualitative nature of employee reviews is also a reflection of the reviewer. As leadership expert Samuel A. Culbert writes for The Wall Street Journal: “Implying that an evaluation is objective disregards what everyone knows: Where you stand determines what you see.”
The absurdity is even more obvious when bosses—as they so often do—base their reviews on anonymous feedback received from others… People are told, "I can't tell you who said this," as if the alleged truth-teller has no ax to grind and the allegation is unrelated to a specific motive or a disagreement in a relationship. Come on! Isn't "anonymous" just a slicker way for people to push what's in their political interests to establish, without having their biases and motives questioned?
In other words, even if you use 360° review processes, anonymity becomes an issue. It exacerbates existing biases, and it’s not as if managers don’t have biases that affect reviews themselves.
In light of just how often employees crave feedback, it’s a little surprising that performance reviews aren’t more popular than they are. After all, don’t high performers deserve an opportunity to get recognized? Shouldn’t managers have some structure to provide good feedback?
What GoodSeeker offers
Don’t scrap performance reviews—do them better with GoodSeeker.
GoodSeeker can help with performance appraisals in two ways.
First, the stories that employees gather over the course of a year—which are inherently positive, given the nature of the tool—help them get ready for the review. GoodSeeker provides them with insight into how their peers already see them, and the system also helps employees aggregate evidence of their qualitative skills and values in a simple single system. It is not possible to publish anonymously with GoodSeeker, so each story acts as a bit of an endorsement between employees. Isn’t that a better approach to 360° than hate-mail-veiled-as-honesty?
Secondly, every story is visible across the company, which means that managers can see them too. Stories exist in a timeline, creating a narrative of how an employee has changed over time. Internally, we’ve found that number of written stories are often a gauge of how engaged an employee is—employees who have authored more stories tend to be higher performers than those who don’t really use the system.
Managers can use GoodSeeeker both quantitatively and qualitatively—quantitatively in the number of stories published by the reviewee, and qualititatively from the stories themselves. Plus, GoodSeeker offers reporting features where both administrators and employees can see patterns in the kinds of stories they attract and write themselves.
The long and short of our user adoption strategy is that we made a product that employees actually benefit from. While employers certainly see the bulk of GoodSeeker’s ROI, employees benefit too—in their career, in their daily work lives, and even in their interpersonal friendships.
All that said, GoodSeeker doesn’t have it all figured it. I still get a delightful chill when I hear stories about how our product made someone’s workplace better—definitely share your thoughts in a GoodSeeker testimonial or in the comments below.
Did you know that GoodSeeker offers a free version for up to 10 people? We don’t even ask for your credit card! Try GoodSeeker today.