Spot the toxic employee before it’s too late

If an employee was sabotaging your business, you would surely want to know. That’s the position Amy Balliett, founder and chief executive of Killer Infographics, found herself in. The company had an employee encouraging colleagues to leave for another organisation.

Being a young company with an open work space, Killer Infographics didn’t have an easy way for employees to share this information without others knowing. Thankfully, Ms Balliett had TINYpulse, an anonymous employee survey tool that enabled team members to let her know what was going on and nip the problem in the bud before it got out of hand.

Recent data by Gallup points to an extreme lack of engagement in the workplace, with 87 per cent of global workplaces estimated to be disengaged. Tools such as TINYpulse aim to turn this situation around, offering leaders real-time employee feedback that gets at the heart of what energises employees and what is burning them out.

TINYpulse Screen Shot

Screen shot of TINYpulse

TINYpulse founder and chief executive David Niu explains how the inspiration behind TINYpulse was to give managers and leaders the types of insights that often came after an employee had quit. “When I was talking to entrepreneurs across the globe about their main pain points, they all zeroed in on one universal challenge: managing people. It’s really hard to do it well, and you often don’t know something is wrong until one of your best and brightest employees tells you they’re leaving.”

TINYpulse is a tool in the emerging trend of pulsing employee surveys that offer shorter, more frequent questions that better capture the natural day-to-day changes in the workplace

TINYpulse is a tool in the emerging trend of pulsing surveys. In contrast to annual employee surveys, pulsing employee surveys offer shorter, more frequent questions that better capture the natural day-to-day changes in the workplace. Ms Balliett seconds this point, noting: “The short, simple surveys from TINYpulse give me quick, timely feedback from my employees on how we could improve our culture and our business overall. It’s an incredible resource to stay on top of all the little things that can make or break us.”

Business leaders are turning to pulsing surveys after frustration over the delayed feedback that comes with annual surveys and the large bulk of data that comes with them too. Usually 50 questions in length, annual employee surveys require major time commitments from employees to complete and major commitments from internal leaders to review.

Compounding this is the issue of lag time between when difficult events arise and when leaders actually hear about them. Mr Niu explains this is why TINYpulse offers weekly and bi-weekly survey options. “We ask employees one question once a week or once every other week. It’s easy for employees to complete, easy for managers to review and it gives managers actionable data they can act on – on the spot,” he says.

Business leaders are coming to terms with the need to keep on top of employee sentiment, just as they would other performance metrics. With the rise of people analytics managers or directors of culture and wellbeing, there is a growing understanding of the link between employee engagement and key metrics, such as productivity and bottom-line growth.

Ms Balliett concludes: “We look at how our business is performing on a regular basis and that includes looking at how our people are doing. My team members are the most valuable asset we have. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have a way to check in regularly and see what was on their minds.”