Forest and Cynthia sit down to chat about buuteeq’s company culture and how TinyPulse allows employees to easily and anonymously voice their concerns to management. A fascinating glimpse into how young, innovative tech startups function.
Forest: Hi I’m Forest Key, the CEO of buuteeq.
Cynthia: I’m Cynthia Mason, the VP of H.R.
Forest: We are both enamored, we were talking about this product called TinyPulse that we use a lot for our culture and our H.R. processes here at the company. We thought we’d do a little plug for TinyPulse because we’re big fans, and talk a little about our culture along the way. We were introduced to TinyPulse I think about nine months ago now that we have been using the product. It’s basically a weekly survey that goes out to our entire team of about 90 employees today. It gives you an eye and some of the other managers of the company great insights into what’s going on with our culture, and how we as a management team and as a team defining the culture for a start-up can really make an impact.
Specifically, one of the first things that the tool revealed to us is that one of the questions that came from TinyPulse was about our culture, and whether with eyes closed, hands tied, ears covered could we recite from memory what our mission statement was, and our corporate values were. I myself as a founder had spent a lot of time writing such a thing but I couldn’t remember off the top of my head. So we went off and created this cute info graphic, and since then the company has this Sigpi concept which is an acronym that we use to remember these values. It seems like a small thing, but it actually has been relatively transformative because it has given us a way to rally around the very specific best practice for a company like us. I think the key thing is it creates a dialogue between every employee, and every other employee, and with management and back and forth that’s completely anonymous. People are able to bring ideas that they otherwise might not feel comfortable mentioning to the manager directly, or in a public meeting, and all hands meeting, but they feel much more comfortable doing it anonymously, and really as a result we get very thoughtful very actionable feedback. Cynthia, why don’t you give us some examples of the many quantitative things we have done as a result of some of the requests.
Cynthia: Yeah sure. We had many requests for to add to our benefits, and we’ve added several new benefits as requested such as a 401K plan with a matching [inaudible 01:50] percent which happened relatively instantaneously which is great. Something as simple as vegetarian options for Monday lunches which we provide for the employees bring it to the office, and we had quite a few vegetarians that we were not catering to and so just simple things like that I think it really gives our people a voice.
Forest: Yes, there’s a pulse a monthly question how happy are you at the company, and what’s interesting about that is we see a trend over the months of that happiness volume. It’s been pretty consistent for buuteeq. As we see someone voting with a lower score on a scale of one to 10 we get once in awhile we get a four or five and that’s really interesting to Cynthia and I. We try to dig in and see through the anonymous information that we can see what kind of feedback was given with that score.
Often we will see some thoughtful feedback saying this aspect of the workflow isn’t happy for me, or I’m not enjoying this aspect of my job or communication style. These are things we can jump on and do something about. We might not be able to fix it immediately but it gives us very actionable feedback that we otherwise generally would never see. You and I were recently having a conversation about doing our first kind of formal annual reviews and having conversations with, we’ve been having conversations one on one with almost everyone in the company. We’re starting to get some feedback from the individuals that we want to take to management, some of the team managers.
What we wanted to do to augment that was to have TinyPulse get some anonymous data to go with that one on one data that you have, so that you have a more complete picture. We were literally five minutes before filming this video we were glued to the screen, and seeing that data coming in real time. Incredibly thoughtful data points. All that are anonymous none necessarily traceable back to a specific manager. In some cases we’re able to pivot the data departmentally, so we are able to understand that this is some feedback that should go to the head of product organization or the head of the sales organization.
Cynthia: For us digging in on it, having the one on one’s with the employees, and getting feedback so that we can customize the questions like that it really digs a little bit deeper because they’re not saying it’s me which they feel comfortable with, but when it’s anonymous they feel completely comfortable. The feedback is actually pouring in which is fantastic. For me it’s like having my own personal trusted employee relations manager that’s just out there constantly asking our employees “What can we do to improve your experience?”
Forest: Like an outreach communications person which is a lot of work to do. There you have it a little bit about TinyPulse which we are big fans of, but also about our culture. Hopefully along the way, you heard a little bit about how we think about our culture, and thank you for visiting our H.R. website, and please apply for the many jobs we have open. We are always hiring sales people, and customer success people that’s a constant need for us. If you’re interested in hospitality and a company like buuteeq we look forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much.