CEO INTERVIEW ENGAGEROCKET
New Success Stories in Asia
Exclusive Interviews by HR Digital Today
with market leading HR Tech pioneers. ENGAGEROCKET
CheeTung Leong, CEO Dorothy Yiu, COO
Today we are speaking with two very experienced HR consultants. They were in the news last April having secured for their company, EngageRocket, $450k of Angel funding. Previously, Leong Chee Tung was Director Southeast Asia for Gallup before he co-founded EngageRocket and Dorothy Yiu was Head of Operations for Gallup in Southeast Asia.
Singapore based EngageRocket provides a revolutionary cloud-based solution to collect and display employee feedback. It is a real time and automated staff opinion survey solution. More and more leading companies are choosing to run staff opinion surveys more frequently. They find significant costs arise when surveys are completed in the old fashioned way. This is due to the way results are collected and also the ongoing and time draining demands to present results in various segments, for example by department, group, sector, seniority, country, age, etc. EngageRocket cuts both time and costs to collect, analyse and present staff opinion survey results.
Huang Shao-Ning is Managing Director and co-founder of JobsCentral Group and an investor in EngageRocket. At the funding announcement she said, “As a business owner, I believe timely employee engagement data is key to high performing teams. Imagine managers being able to measure the morale of their teams on a real-time basis and addressing issues as they come up! EngageRocket founders, Chee Tung and Dorothy have the right combination of domain knowledge, industry insights and technical know-how to offer such a solution.”
What are the key and also unique features of the EngageRocket service?
We are here to facilitate data-driven people management to enhance staff motivation and productivity throughout their life cycle. We both worked for years with leading US consulting firm Gallup and we have seen that there is a lot that can be drawn from collecting and analysing timely and relevant employee feedback. If done intelligently, business leaders can read the pulse of the organisation and take swift and decisive action to solve problems while they are still solvable. Many leaders are already focussing on this now. We provide a continuous channel for staff feedback. If there are issues then management can find solutions immediately, and not wait months or even years for feedback. Data may no longer be relevant if it is old. One of our customers said we were like a heart rate monitor that keeps track of an individual’s health because "EngageRocket keeps track of the health of the organisation".
What percentage of companies conduct staff opinion surveys?
Reliable data on this is difficult to come by in Asia, but based on a loose sampling in our region about 40 percent of companies run some form of staff survey.
Currently, Deloitte estimates the employee survey market to be US$300M and it is growing at the rate of 100 percent per year.
What are the costs of old fashioned staff opinion surveys?
Typically, for midsized companies the costs vary from US$50,000 to US$250,000 for one single annual survey and that may not include the presentation costs.
When did you launch?
We launched in November 2016 with our commercial beta but we had already started with a minimum viable product in July 2016. The product had been in development since the early part of that year with validation of our staff engagement questions. We measure these as they correlate very highly with objective business metrics such as talent retention, profitability, productivity, product quality etc. Most of our clients use our validated questions, as engagement factors do not really change from one company to another or from one sector from another. The fundamentals of human psychology tend to be constant. We can help companies develop questions, for example if a company is going through change we can add conversations on the change they wish to survey. They can feel the pulse of their teams as they navigate uncharted waters.
How do you recognise a corporate structure and then deliver results to Directors and staff?
Our platform automatically builds the corporate structure when you upload the employee list. We do this because we send team level data directly to managers. We report back on the health of their teams on a frequency chosen by their HR Director. Much of the influence on the team is based on the team manager, so we work to equip him or her with the necessary information and tools to motivate the team, rather than delegating that responsibility to HR. If they wish to conduct further analysis on their own they have the tools available within EngageRocket to do so. They can also export their data to Microsoft Excel or a PDF report. Senior managers can select different parameters based on the demographic factors that they want and compare to previous cycles to identify trends over a work year. If there is a one-off event or specific purpose for a survey, they can send one-off targeted questions to gather employee feedback on that topic.
Example Survey Report
What IT security measures have your incorporated?
We of course place a great deal of importance on IT security. Only people managers are granted access to the system itself. Staff are invited to respond to questions. Managers can only see the results of their own team and not the results from other teams. Each individual manager can only view his team or department's results. The CEO and Directors do of course have access to the responses and data relating to anyone who reports to them. For example, the CEO would have access to the sales manager's report but the sales manager would not have access to the CEO's report. We operate this staff model on the cloud with strict multiple controls for security and for segregation of data from different companies as well as broader steps including SSL encryption to ensure the security of data in transit and at rest. Further steps are also implemented in the network architecture. Despite all the measures we have taken we continually review the security measures we have installed to protect staff and company data.
What do you see as the next steps for your organisation?
We are expanding in two ways. The first is in terms of product functionality, the second is by stepping up into overseas markets beyond our market here in Singapore. Our vision is for us to provide for the feedback and analytics needs for companies across the entire life cycle of an employee. We have started with the employee engagement module and are we now developing an on-boarding module to be applied to new hires.
Another module that has received many requests is our solution for 360 degree feedback. This provides feedback from peers, managers and staff, so it from all around you.
Do you see any competitors?
We do see competitors. Some of the conversations with clients reveal that existing competitors are the existing consulting firms conducting large annual staff surveys. The other type of competitor are free online survey tools. It is interesting to note that many companies have now moved to an online process. But the challenge with this method is that they have to validate all the questions. Also, there are many phases for the survey work that arrives on their desks. Development of the questions, collating the results, exporting the results, then analysis. This they have to do unaided without any automated tools. It is a critical task with a large quantity of data that must be worked on correctly. Errors can easily arise and invalidate the results.
What sectors or types of companies are choosing your service?
We have found that there are three types of companies to whom we deliver the most value:-
Companies growing very rapidly. For example those that are growing from 50 to 200 people in a very short timescale or companies undergoing organisational structure changes from a merger. These companies need high frequency feedback from their staff so they can plan their journey of expansion and change with good people data.
The second group are companies with distributed workforces, with different business units or companies who span multiple countries or locations. We provide a very easy way for their top leaders to see how their organisations are performing in real time.
The third group are companies who prefer to adopt a data driven approach to people management, who use our service to validate qualitative management intuitions they may have.
Are you seeing a particular industry preferring a data driven approach?
The technology industry has been particularly receptive to this approach and they have been using free survey forms but they found this to be a very onerous process. It takes a lot of time and many man-hours. For example, if they want to trend data across 6 months, you have to merge 6 different Excel sheets. You hope there are no inaccuracies in rows and columns or that they are misplaced. Then someone has to run the analytics on the data. Typically this is on demand, and in some cases when a survey is launched the HR team for three or four weeks “eats, sleeps and drinks surveys”. Our solution is not free but you save a lot more in terms of manpower costs that are needed to get that dedicated focus on people insights. You also get better accuracy because there are no data errors that can arise when humans are involved in assembling and processing the results.
How do you see your future - strategy, staff?
Things are still very dynamic. In terms of the people we are looking for, we seek employees for all departments. Our company culture is important to us. We want people who share our vision as to why we are doing this. While we want to pay people what they are worth, people doing it just for the money would probably not stay long in the team. Our belief is that we are here to build great workplaces with people analytics. As long we continue delivering value in that way to our clients and our employees, while generating value for our shareholders and investors, we believe the end goal will take care of itself, whether this be an acquisition or an eventual IPO.
How does a company start using EngageRocket?
Just go to our web site www.engagerocket.co
You can roll out a survey programme within 5 minutes of creating an account with an updated employee list and using our scientifically validated questions.