Technology

5 questions with... EngageRocket

EngageRocket co-founders Leong Chee Tung and Dorothy Yiu. Mr Leong, the chief executive of the employee engagement firm, previously worked as the South-east Asia director for US-based consulting company Gallup, which often serves larger firms with mo
EngageRocket co-founders Leong Chee Tung and Dorothy Yiu. Mr Leong, the chief executive of the employee engagement firm, previously worked as the South-east Asia director for US-based consulting company Gallup, which often serves larger firms with more than 2,000 employees. He found that there was a demand among smaller companies for such services as well.PHOTO: ENGAGEROCKET

The fast-emerging human resources (HR) technology field is booming, with a market for tools that enable management to gather feedback from staff . Last year, the market for feedback tools was reported to be worth $300 million, and is doubling in size annually. Home-grown firm EngageRocket is one such employee engagement platform. It closed a funding round of $450,000 in April, and is the first start-up in South-east Asia to receive funding for using advanced analytical techniques in the traditionally conservative field of HR. Sabrina Theseira speaks to EngageRocket co-founder and chief executive Leong Chee Tung.

Q What is EngageRocket and how does it work?

A EngageRocket is a cloud-based software that analyses employee feedback in real time, to advise leaders on how to build a better workplace culture.

Managers can start by logging on to engagerocket.co and creating an account on the Web application. They enter the number of employees in their team and choose the duration of the plan.

A survey is then set up, where managers can choose from 27 validated questions for employee engagement provided by EngageRocket. They can also choose to adjust the questions or customise their own.

A launch date is set and the survey is sent out to employees.

Reminders are sent out to employees throughout the survey period. At the end of the survey, our own algorithms will churn out the data and present it on a dashboard.

Managers are then given customised suggestions as to how they can improve their leadership style based on the feedback given.

RESPONSIVE

With the survey results being displayed in real time, management action often follows quite quickly. This makes employees feel as though they have a voice and inspires them to give more feedback.''

ENGAGEROCKET CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE LEONG CHEE TUNG

Q When did you start EngageRocket and what inspired you?

A It was started in July last year, but the conceptualisation and testing of ideas began in early 2016.

I was previously working as the South-east Asia director for Gallup, an United States-based consulting company.

However, the big players like Gallup often served larger firms with more than 2,000 employees.

My co-founder and I realised that there was a demand among smaller companies for such services as well.

However, small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) do not have the financial resources, manpower or time to maintain such a programme. Everyone ends up donning multiple hats.

Through EngageRocket, we wanted to make HR analytics more accessible to SMEs at a fraction of the cost of hiring traditional consultants. It barely takes five minutes a month to implement employee feedback programmes, as compared to weeks if you were to do it using typical manpower.

Q How is EngageRocket different from similar types of technology available in the market?

A Although there are free survey tools in the market, it is very difficult to check participants accurately and analyse the data.

Often, with free tools, there are missing fields and a misalignment of roles, leading to the wrong picture being presented to the management.

Furthermore, leaders are presented only with data sets, which they have to analyse themselves.

This is a very time-consuming process and hinders leaders from devoting their time to more meaningful tasks.

Free surveys, without specific domain expertise, may also ask the wrong questions, leading to irrelevant data.

EngageRocket puts in a lot of effort into validating our questions locally. For example, we sent out our questions to employees working in Asian companies to test for consistency of interpretation and understanding.

This ensures that the questions asked are relevant and add value to our local firms.

Q Given that the advice given to leaders is generated by algorithms, how do you ensure that it is unique and relevant to the changing global landscape?

A With EngageRocket, we are not removing the need for a team manager, but rather supporting his actions on a regular basis.

In terms of data uniqueness, every single manager has his own strengths and opportunities for development.

The system enables the manager to see in quantitative detail what those strengths and weaknesses are and pinpoints opportunities for improvement.

The insights given will be different based on the set of problems every manager faces.

With regard to relevancy, the longer we work with each company, the more data on that company we have.

Thus, our system is all the more able to tailor the responses to each individual manager.

We are constantly sourcing out new solutions and interviewing current and prospective clients to see what their needs are.

Q How has EngageRocket been received so far?

A I would say it has been received warmly by both firms and employees. We have had more than 50 companies take up EngageRocket so far, such as GIC and Sephora Asia-Pacific.

Some of our clients tell us that their administrative overheads have been reduced by more than 80 per cent.

By making our surveys approachable, we are also seeing employee participation rates of more than 85 per cent.

With the survey results being displayed in real time, management action often follows quite quickly.

This makes employees feel as though they have a voice and inspires them to give more feedback.

One of our clients even has a weekly meeting in which they take 10 minutes to talk about issues brought up through EngageRocket surveys.

Looking for areas for improvement becomes a habit and this habit is what ultimately drives change.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline '5 questions with... EngageRocket'. Print Edition | Subscribe