October 29, 2014
Only 13% of employees around the world are actively engaged at work. More than twice that number are completely disengaged, toxic, and at risk of spreading negativity to others, according to a Gallup poll. Ray Gillenwater left a $500k position at Blackberry to start SpeakUp and solve this problem.
Today, Gillenwater has announced that the company has raised $700,000 in funding, both from executives at Samsung and Apple, and from Mato Peric, previously of Rocket Internet and now supporting SpeakUp's business development efforts. The SpeakUp team is currently made up of “twelve exceptionally bright people,” says Gillenwater, who are distributed all around the globe.
To manage their distributed team, “We use Slack to communicate, post new ideas into SpeakUp, and utilize Trello to manage the workflow.” But so many companies today are slow to adopt the technology available to keep employees engaged, collaborating, and contributing to the dialog, and ultimately the success, of the business. “Companies communicate through email, meetings, and spreadsheets. These are inefficient and antiquated tools.”
SpeakUp empowers employees to make a positive change at work. By “employee-sourcing” the innovation process, the whole team can participate in solving problems and generating new ideas with a structured way to collaborate, instead of more chatter that stays trapped in a meeting or more email messages that block the productivity of managers.
Whether it's a problem or an idea, employees post the item to SpeakUp and the posts are automatically curated through voting and commenting. Collaboration in SpeakUp results in concrete decision making. Company Managers close the positive feedback loop by making decisions transparently.
“The posts should be constructive in nature: if something is posted, it should be a comment that you would be willing to make in person,” explains Gillenwater. While there is the option for administrators to open posts to anonymous submissions, that would depend on the type of culture the company is cultivating. Employee accounts are free forever with unlimited posts so that employees nevermore have to sit at their desks coming up with ideas with no place to share them. Anyone with a company email address can register a company’s secure SpeakUp account at getspeakup.com. To gain administrative access and decision making powers, SpeakUp offers an upgraded account type.
Over 140 companies are on the platform to date, including Lyft, Box, T-Mobile, PayPal and more. SpeakUp is cofounded by Ray Gillenwater, CEO, and Keith Barney, Chief Creative Officer.
“We want people to care about their jobs again. We want companies to recognize the value their employees have to offer, and become better because of it,” adds Gillenwater.
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