Despite the initial shock of Covid-19, many firms are now seeing this period of disruption as an opportunity to reassess and improve how they care for and develop employees, and ultimately build better organisations.
These three Irish talent tech firms are supporting HR teams and managers at global firms as they examine how a push for employee development, behavioural change and organisational transformation can help businesses build strong capability for the future, whatever it may bring.
While companies have had many organisational challenges in adjusting to the ‘new normal’, the human side of remote working has been the most critical.
“We are all social beings,” says Jim O’Brien, one of the co-founders of Our Tandem, a performance management technology company based in Ireland, with offices in London, New York and Toronto. “We have lost that time we used to have to interact with colleagues and build trust in the workplace, so organisations are looking for ways to replace it.”
Our Tandem re-imagines the world of work to provide a digital employee experience and engagement solution, designed to ignite and sustain a workplace culture that inspires all employees. With a new vision for performance management, Our Tandem delivers a toolkit in the form of a desktop site or an app, to develop the people in the organisation, break down barriers and deliver a rich and meaningful solution.
Initially, Our Tandem was more focused on being a feedback channel, but it has evolved, says O’Brien. “It is now a culture change tool, helping you to shift the culture from one of low feedback or judgmental feedback, to one where the entire employee experience – from feedback, to goals and check-ins and surveys are an everyday experience, with no surprise or fear involved.”
Our Tandem includes crowdsourced real time feedback, regular check-ins and goals (which accelerates the capability of managers to coach), pulse surveys, structured 360s and insightful analytics, meaning the entire employee experience can be measured at every touchpoint. It integrates with existing HR and comms tools, and Our Tandem has also partnered with Willis Towers Watson to provide change management services and training.
“There is always an element of change management with the rollout of an Our Tandem implementation and is something that is very important to us as an organisation,” says O’Brien. “The tech itself isn’t a silver bullet, but the platform encourages this culture change.”
These include nudge functionality, which encourages managers to share feedback with team members, and prompts to push feedback recipients to engage with those who send feedback — which helps to foster supportive employee relationships.
Founded in 2016, Our Tandem has built a large client base across Europe, mostly comprising enterprise customers. Among others, these include financial firms such as Swiss Re, Abn Amro, Axa, and Société Générale and luxury brands such as Cartier and Mont Blanc.
In these challenging times, it’s vital for employers to have a culture of safety and care, says Pa Fealy, CEO of PulseLearning, an award-winning, global learning company founded in 1999.
“People often have a deep desire to help each other but they’re not sure what to do. On the flipside, we all need help sometimes, but we are not sure how to ask for it PulseLearning seeks to bridge the gap between someone who has a willingness to help and someone who needs help.”
PulseLearning created the I Am Here employee mental health and wellbeing programme with clinical experts to facilitate cultural change within organisations. It promotes an environment where asking for help is encouraged and facilitated. It has already been launched to more than 850,000 people.
As part of theI Am Here programme, all team members begin to understand the importance of mental health and wellbeing. Some choose to become more actively involved by becoming Tribe Members or Ambassadors. This affords them the opportunity to take a lead role to ensure I Am Here is embraced within the organisation.. “With support including scenario-based training, we give teams the courage, confidence and skills to show they care, ask the question and call for help,” says Fealy.
PulseLearning’s I Am Here programme is demonstrating that clients using I Am Here, see an increase in the use of employee assistance programmes and a significant, sustained reduction in sick days and workers’ compensation claims for clients.
“We believe an evidence-based mental health programmes is a unique differentiator for businesses and shows measurable financial impact,” says Fealy, pointing to a recent Deloitte study which found one-sixth of workers in the UK have a mental health problem at any one time, with stress, anxiety and depression causing almost half of all working days lost.
“I Am Here fundamentally creates a behavioural and cultural change in an organisation. Mental health and wellbeing supports are not just a nice-to-have, they are a need-to-have. Loss of time in the business by a Team Member has a business impact as well as a human impact.”
Beyond mental health and wellbeing, PulseLearning also provides learning solutions on topics as diverse as induction and onboarding, sales enablement, compliance and more to clients globally. It has subsidiaries in Australia, Canada and the US. Its clients include Adobe, Ericsson, Nissan, Roche, Sage and many other global names across multiple sectors.
Register for I Am Here at www.iamheretribe.com
Upskilling is a real concern for any company engaged in digital transformation, especially as it can leave experienced employees doing their best with outmoded skills.
Time and again, however, the Code Institute has seen large firms being able to take their seasoned employees and help them adapt, thereby benefitting both the workers and their employers.
“Take BT, which is a huge telecoms giant,” says Jane Gormley, Director of Employer Engagement at the Code Institute. “It had a really large network of hardware engineers who understood the mechanics of the business and the industry, but whose skills were becoming outdated as BT moved to a digital network.
“Our talent assessment tool can be rolled out to 10,000 people at once. BT used it to find the people were interested in and suited to becoming a developer, and put them through a training programme.”
Both companies and workers are increasingly realising, she adds, that training is an ongoing process. “Giving existing staff new skills is vital to successful digital transformation and also supports internal mobility for employees. We all know there is a massive digital skills shortage, but it is really positive to be able to retain your existing experienced staff. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
The Code Institute’s core product is a university-accredited diploma in full stack web development. Its content is reviewed quarterly under the auspices of an industry council, which includes representatives from Accenture, Intercom, Microsoft and PayPal, among others. While individuals can sign up to study, the Code Institute also works closely with HR and learning and development teams within corporate clients.
The online learning environment includes 24/7 student chat support, a personal tutor and the learning management system itself, which is primarily video-based and which tracks students so they can be contacted and supported if they are falling behind. Each student is also assigned a developer working in industry to act as their mentor.