15Five is a web-based communication software that elevates the performance of managers, employees and entire organizations by initiating weekly conversations that quickly uncover achievements, challenges, and great ideas. San Francisco based 15Five has raised a total of $3.4 Million from investors to date. Below is our interview with David Hassell, Founder & CEO of 15Five:
Q: David, tell us something more about the company and your core competence?
A: Our WHY is to create the space for people to be their greatest selves. Think about that for a moment – not just helping employees be more innovative and productive, but also living better lives and becoming self-actualized. That space may look and feel different in every company, but it is always created by leadership communicating regularly with employees and offering support for their teams to be more successful at work and in life.
In terms of our core competence, we develop deceptively simple internal business communication software. Using the power of questions, 15Five helps company leaders have the most important conversations with employees each week, offer support for challenges, and build stronger relationships over time. In short, we are changing the world of work by empowering leaders to empower their employees.
– 15Five team –
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Q: How does it work?
A: Once a week, employees answer a handful of pointed questions about their accomplishments from the previous week, their goals for the next week, and other details about their personal and professional lives. Questions can range from basic (What’s going well? What are you proud of this week?), to complex (How can we become the company that would put us out of business?), to personal (On a 1-10 scale, how have your personal energy levels been? If you wanted to move up a number, what would it take?) We currently have tens of thousands of questions in our question bank and the possibilities are limitless.
By providing each team member with a voice, highly talented and in-demand employees receive feedback and support in the moment. They feel more motivated to do their best work and become the best versions of themselves.
To know how to support the success of each individual employee, managers must have key conversations with their employees on a regular basis. From the employee perspective, questions provide an opportunity to self-reflect weekly on successes and challenges. They can stay focused on key objectives, plan their week, get regular feedback on their own performance, and voice issues and obstacles.
When managers ask the right questions, they quickly uncover challenges and risks. They can either jump in heavily with help or give a light touch so that employees can get the job done, while still pushing their edges and evolving in their roles. People need to have just enough challenge to not be bored but not so much that they are overly-stressed and frustrated.
The greatest managers become supportive of employee growth and facilitate improved performance over time. Through the regular recurring process of asking questions and providing feedback and support, trust and relationships deepen. This is the foundation of any high performing team.
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Q: What can we expect from 15Five in the future? What are your plans?
A: The 15/5 system was designed decades ago to allow a manager to know the pulse of their team from anywhere in the world. The system evolved and we eventually developed the automated software you see today. The next step in this evolution is to release our mobile app within a few short months. Soon managers will have the tools to receive and offer feedback seamlessly from their iPhones as well as their computers. It’s really uncomfortable to use a laptop on a ski-lift, so I am personally looking forward to this.
Otherwise, we will continue to listen to our customers. We will add features and make adjustments to the dashboard so that every company who uses 15Five will see extraordinary results. For example, we recently launched our Goals and Accomplishments feature. I can’t tell you specifically what else is on the horizon, but we are working on some cool software integrations with other popular tools.
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Q: How would you convince the reader to start using 15Five?
A: According to Gallup’s 2014 Employee Engagement Poll, only 31.5% of U.S. employees are engaged and thriving. The other 68-ish percent aren’t lazy, their disconnectedness stems from feeling unsupported and disempowered at work. They don’t feel valued, have no clear direction and purpose, their accomplishments are unrecognized, and are often times blamed for things beyond their control.
15Five helps with the employee engagement dilemma in several ways. For employees, it provides an opportunity to share wins, accomplishments and ideas that might be otherwise overlooked. It’s also a fantastic platform for having transparent conversations about what isn’t going right, and getting the support necessary to open bottlenecks and move initiatives forward.
Managers have an opportunity to gain insight into what employees are doing each week. If employees are working on initiatives that are out of alignment with the team or the department, managers can course-correct early. This is also a great platform for having authentic conversations that are at the core of relationships that employees crave.
For directors and executives overseeing hundred or thousands of people, knowing the most important details is challenging. Now they can maintain visibility into the daily activities of everyone at the company. Managers can pass-up the most important responses from their individual employees, providing the C-suite with a snapshot in minutes each week.Activate Social Media: