There’s a harsh reality in the world in which we work. Due to the demands of a modern career, employees today spend more time with their coworkers than with their family, friends, and other social groups.
I launched Workify three years ago to solve this dilemma. My personal mission: to make work better. This has been a career-long passion of mine.
As I examined the modern workplace, I saw two problems:
1. Employees want to get more out of their jobs. For some, this is in the form of purpose. Others want friends. Some want efficiency or
work-life balance. What’s remarkable is that almost every employee feels as though they can get more out of their job, and in fact — as many of you know, only 3 out of every 10 employees are actively engaged in their jobs.
2. Employers want to get more out of their employees. This usually means increased productivity. In the HR world, we call this discretionary effort.
These realizations did not come to me overnight — they were the result of years of personal and professional experiences that influenced my perspective. Of course, all of these experiences were underscored by my journey from HR specialist to entrepreneur.
How an HR Background Led to Entrepreneurship
Unlike many of the CEO’s you’ll find in HR technology, my career and experience is rooted in corporate Human Resources — 12 years to be exact.
I like to joke that my HR career was accidental. I always felt that my background in economics gave me a unique perspective in the HR community, and I was very fortunate to work for a pair of companies that were committed to their people and developing talent — Ernst & Young and Goldman Sachs.
At these companies, I was entrusted early in my career to work on some amazing projects, and I learned from incredibly talented HR practitioners. Within HR, I always gravitated towards the technical disciplines — areas like like compensation, HR information systems, mergers and acquisitions, et cetera.
In the middle of my corporate HR career, I had the opportunity to spend a few years working on acquisition projects where I worked on more than 20 deals — 10 of which closed. We focused on providing due diligence and post-acquisition support to companies that the firm was investing in, which ranged from financial web portals to wind farms to reinsurance businesses. The key people challenge across all of these projects was successfully acquiring companies in a way that kept employees engaged and motivated, retaining the company’s culture in the process.
Knowing that culture and employee engagement mattered, I was sent to multiple culture conferences and think tanks held by the leading consultancies on the topic. Our team drew a final conclusion: we were following all of the “industry best practices”. The firm was leveraging all of the tools available.
I still felt like there had to be a better way. There had to be a better way to help companies quickly analyze the state of their culture and employee engagement and avoid the issues we were facing.
I felt strongly that a solution could be built — I just didn’t realize the journey I would have to take to get there.
The Birth of Workify
After the financial crisis, I began to shift my career to entrepreneurship through multiple career moves, which led me back to Texas. In 2011, I finally launched my first venture, and it was an exciting time — there were major shifts underway in the business world.
A revolution was taking place with younger generations demanding a new way to interact with management. They had needs in the workplace in terms of how they wanted to receive feedback from management, including channels for real-time communication. Of course, this coincided with the rise of social media and smartphones, changing the experiences we have in our personal lives, and the ways we interact with the world.
These technology shifts began to place greater expectations not only on life outside of our work, but our habits and needs on the job as well. If social media allowed us to rate, review, and like — anonymous or attributed feedback in our personal lives — why could we not do this at work?
I started to realize there was a perfect opportunity to change how people approach their jobs and how management engaged their people. My years in HR and new-found entrepreneurial experience created my mission to make work better.
Workify was born.
Our mission all along has been to make it easy for employees to give feedback and help companies identify hidden trends in their workforce, or more simply put, to recognize when misalignments exist between employees and management.
The Workify journey has been unique, fulfilling, and rather unexpected. My diverse experiences as an HR executive have given me a crucial vantage point, familiarity with employee needs and an understanding for how culture can drastically change the success of a business.
Through my blog, I’ll explore how changes in the workforce and emerging changes in business are shaping a new approach to employee engagement and are giving human resources the attention it has long deserved.
I wouldn’t have foreseen this path for myself years ago. This quote best summarizes my sentiments as I’ve been on this journey.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs