Here at TINYpulse, we're power-users of our own tool. As a team that's passionate about employee engagement, we're constantly evaluating how we interact with the platform to make sure both employees and managers benefit from its use as much as possible.
Over the years, we’ve developed some key practices to help drive our own cultural growth by empowering employees to respond to feedback and find solutions collectively and as individuals.
We believe that empowered workers equal more engaged, productive workers and that this approach equips the team to deliver on our mission to spread happiness to employees across the globe.
The Culture Committee
Our peer-to-peer problem solving powerhouse
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to shape our culture - not just managers. That’s why our Culture Committee is made up of individual contributors from each team. These volunteers are responsible for tracking our cultural health, engaging with our leadership team and taking action to improve employee happiness.
New representatives from each team are appointed every quarter, by volunteering or being nominated for the role by the current Culture Committee team representative. The one permanent member on our Culture Committee is Hannah, our HR Generalist, who helps maintain consistency by keeping a solid pulse, not just on TINYpulse feedback but also the way the Culture Committee responds to suggestions.
Each member of the committee is give admin rights within the platform that offers visibility into a variety of metrics, reports, and survey responses in real time. Admins can also send private messages to respondents to help resolve issues they may be experiencing.
The committee meets once every fortnight to discuss responses to our most recent survey question and suggestions submitted through the TINYpulse platform. Members think about what common themes they can identify and explore the root causes behind the feedback; whether a negative response is part of a larger problem, and what methodology needs to change in order for people to feel confident and happy at work. Members will also look at what follow-up has been made with negative responses to understand what the underlying issues are.
These findings are then presented to our executive leadership team and recommendations are made for actions to address key concerns. This enables leadership to gain a high-level overview of the feedback while still playing an active role in the continuous feedback loop.
The Impact of the Culture Committee
The inspiration for our Culture Committee came from one of our very own customers. Start Up Loans established their Culture Committee with one objective in mind: peer-to-peer problem solving. Rather than implementing solutions from the top, a new normal developed where an employee’s coworkers were the first to acknowledge and act on feedback. At Start Up Loans, the initiative proved a huge success and participation rates within the TINYpulse platform soared.
We decided to adopt the idea for our own team, to the benefit of the whole organization. Since our Culture Committee was established, we’ve seen a number of positive effects:
- Shared responsibility
With more active admins within the tool, responsibility for investigating and resolving negative feedback is shared. That means quicker response rates, more thoughtful analysis of the data and less pressure on our leadership team. As one of our current Culture Committee members, Estelle Pin, explains: “Committee members are our main admins for TINYpulse. They look at everything, process it and then communicate to leadership what they do or don't need to act on.”
- Feedback is viewed in context
With each department represented within the committee, more context can be provided when feedback speaks to a specific situation. The result is that concerns are properly understood before they are responded to. This is especially useful for feedback that isn’t black and white.
“Something that has really surprised me from being on the committee is how often it helps to have everyone's additional perspective. For example, the Product team may have feedback that's specifically related to sprints and if I don't have a good idea of how their sprints work, then as a marketing professional I might not be in the best position to respond to it”, says Estelle.
“It’s helpful that there's one person from each team who can offer perspective, but there are also people outside of that team who perceive what the wider effects are and offer a sanity check for any decisions.”
- Increased Participation
Employees who are able to influence decision-making feel more emotionally invested in the success of their own organization and invest more time in culture-building opportunities. Our HR Generalist, Hannah Jones has seen the impact of this peer-to-peer feedback loop during her time here. “With Culture Committee, people know their issues will be addressed - and they’ll be addressed by their peers. This creates a cyclical process where employees will be more likely to provide feedback.”
Sharing the Survey Report
Increasing transparency and encouraging feedback
When TINYpulse launched five years ago, the platform was architected on two main building blocks: anonymity and sharing feedback with respondents. Sharing feedback is one of the best things you can do to motivate your team to provide their own thoughts and opinions, which is why we make this process as easy as possible through the admin dashboard. It’s also a great way to give something back to employees and say thank you for taking the time to engage.
Our HR Generalist, Hannah, delivers linkable reports every two weeks that include a snapshot of survey responses, suggestions and cheers. Hannah believes this is a crucial step for companies that want to get the most out of TINYpulse.
“We used TINYpulse at my previous organization. But we were operating in a vacuum, where we only talked about results in our leadership meetings and would either take action or not depending on how important we thought it might be. We knew how to share the reports but were afraid to give away all that information. Looking back, I think that was a huge mistake on our part because we were receiving some negative feedback and assumed that if we sent that out it would perpetuate.”
After starting work at TINYpulse, however, Hannah found that rather than lowering morale, sharing both the good and bad can actually help boost the level of camaraderie in the office.
“What I’ve learned at TINYpulse is that sometimes negative feedback is isolated to one person. When nobody else feels the same way, this signals to other employees that they need to help each other feel more included and provide better support. I feel like we missed out on that opportunity at my previous company by not delivering the report.”
Having had these experiences, Hannah recommends full transparency for any organization looking to use TINYpulse to grow their culture.
“It seems scary, but by not sharing the bad stuff, you’re allowing it to be pushed under the rug, which is going to end up causing more issues. The most beneficial way to use the tool is by making the good, the bad, and the ugly available to your team.”
Communicating decisions and crowdsourcing ideas
MEETINGpulse is an all-hands meeting organised twice a month by the Culture Committee. During the meeting, team members can participate in an open discussion surrounding the highlights and lowlights of the shared report, as well as take a look at some common themes that emerged. This enables the committee and leadership team to crowdsource solutions, gain a greater sense of clarity when issues have been misunderstood and gather additional feedback that wasn’t provided within the tool.
MEETINGpulse helps our TINYpulse admins develop in their roles, but the real impact lies in the benefit to employees. One of our core values here at TINYpulse is to ‘Increase Communication with Transparency’. MEETINGpulse provides an opportunity to deliver on that value by communicating how issues brought up in the latest survey responses and suggestions will be addressed.
In many cases, problems are not limited to one employee. If one person is experiencing a roadblock, there’s a good chance another member of the team is having the same problem. By announcing to the team what actions are being taken to tackle the issue and explaining the “why” behind those actions, employees who are having similar problems can feel reassured that their leaders acknowledge the situation and are proactively working to resolve it.
This open approach to communication has another effect: employees put greater trust and belief in their management. When employees can see that their teammates’ suggestions have been turned into wins, they feel more confident that their own feedback will be listened to as well. This means problems are more likely to be voiced straight away, rather than left to fester.
Promoting and rewarding peer-to-peer recognition
Employee recognition is a big deal here at TINYpulse. The quality and frequency of recognition is one of the biggest culture differentiators that employees experience when they first join the team. Roughly three hundred Cheers are sent each month using TINYpulse’s Cheers for Peers tool and a continuous feed of these small but impactful messages is proudly displayed on monitors around the office.
But employee appreciation doesn’t end there. TINYpulse gives away free lunches each MEETINGpulse to team members who have received Cheers that speak to our company values.
The winners are chosen through our Cheers selection process. Here’s how it works: The Culture Committee assigns two people, (frequently new employees) to look back at all the Cheers that have been sent in the past two weeks and pick out some of the best ones to read aloud at MEETINGpulse. The Cheers selectors announce two winners and each winner picks an employee name out of a hat. These lucky employees then join the winners for a free meal out at a local restaurant, sponsored by the company.
After an in-depth discussion of the survey responses and suggestions, the Cheers selectors help end MEETINGpulse on a high. This process for rewarding Cheers recipients works well because it involves a variety of people from all different departments and brings together employees who might not often get the chance to spend time together. But more significantly, it reinforces our company values and strong commitment to recognition.
From problem-solving to recognition efforts, peer-to-peer communication is woven into the fabric of our culture here at TINYpulse. A top-down approach to culture-building may work for some, but we’ve found that for our employees to truly embrace their company culture, they must feel empowered to create and nurture it for themselves. Our HR and leadership teams play an important role when it comes to influencing culture too. But not as important as the role they play as facilitators and champions for their employees’ own cultural growth initiatives.
It’s taken time to get where we are today and we still have a long way to go. No company culture is perfect and TINYpulse is no exception. We still make mistakes, but in some ways that’s a good thing. It means we’re constantly learning and using what we’ve learned to make our product even better.
Creating a world-class culture is hard, but it’s a vital step towards building a product that truly makes a difference to people’s lives. After all, if our mission is to make employees happier, the best place to start is with our own.
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