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    Sarah Gatehouse.

    Fujitsu General Australia

    "In 2016 we rolled out intelliHR, and in 2017 we had our best financial year yet. That makes a massive statement to show how valuable an investment in people and technology can be."

  • Sarah Gatehouse

    Sarah Gatehouse.

    Fujitsu General Australia

    "With the implementation of intelliHR, the improvements in our culture are clearly visible. intelliHR is a tool that helps with our strategic cultural goal of being a great place to work, with improved engagement, communication and goal management now well on track."

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    Sheldon Commercial Interiors

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    Since starting regular staff check-ins through intelliHR, we discovered how much more capability one staff member had than we initially thought. We have since assisted his career progression and conducted a remuneration review. The outcome was a happy employee feeling valued and appreciated. Without intelliHR prompting us to address this in real-time, we could have lost this valuable employee.

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| 5 min
How to use feedback to improve your company culture
Over the past few weeks we’ve been focused on what makes a great company culture, but how can you actually improve your own? Getting the right feedback processes in place is the perfect starting...
| 7 min
How to monitor your company culture
So over the past few weeks we’ve looked at some common company culture myths, as well as things that can kill a good organisational culture. Now we know what not to do, it’s time...
| 5 min
5 Things that can kill a good company culture
We often talk about what makes a good culture, but what about the pitfalls to avoid? Today we’re exploring 5 things that can kill a good company culture, and how to help prevent them...
| 5 min
5 Myths about company culture busted
Over the next few weeks here on the intelli-Insights blog we’re going to focus on culture. Namely how to maintain a healthy one in your organisation, but we also want to help you figure...

How to use feedback to improve your company culture

Over the past few weeks we’ve been focused on what makes a great company culture, but how can you actually improve your own?

Getting the right feedback processes in place is the perfect starting point, but how you ask for feedback and what you do with it is just as important as asking at all. 

Remember, culture is not a one size fit all. It’s something that must be nurtured and guided overtime. To help achieve this, you and your leaders need rich and transparent feedback – feedback that is both short and responded to, building trust and improving team alignment long-term. 

But how exactly can you achieve this? Let’s explore what you need to know about improving your company culture through feedback.

 

Set up continuous feedback

Open communication, transparency and giving your people a voice – all sound like ingredients to a healthy workplace culture, right? The first step to establishing these things is implementing a continuous feedback process through regular check-ins. 

But not all continuous feedback processes are created equal. Let’s take a look under the hood of how a best practice system might look, and how this can be leveraged to improve culture.

 

Ask the right questions

The feedback you receive is only as good as the questions you ask! What’s more, the way you ask questions on check-ins can show how much you value your staff and what the organisation’s priorities are. Here are four questions we recommend starting with to build a culture of open communication.

Any potential problems that might be impacting morale at work so you can act on them. Over time, managers can also explore month-month trends, and explore opportunities for improvements where there are variations.

How are you progressing?

This gives people an opportunity to leave more detailed feedback about how they feel they are growing at work and may reveal if people are feeling behind or wanting more out of their role. This is also an opportunity to uncover roadblocks that may be inhibiting staff from reaching their goals. This is an important piece in the culture puzzle, as it sends a message that it’s okay for people to be honest and say something if they aren’t satisfied. After all, it’s inevitable that at some point, some staff will feel unsatisfied with how they’re progressing, what matters is that you’re able to know about it. By taking this feedback and responding to it, you can build transparency and trust.

Share your achievements

This provides staff with an opportunity to mention something they’re proud of accomplishing at work, and could help managers pick up on cause for recognition that may otherwise go unnoticed. This is so valuable in helping to ensure your best quiet achievers aren’t left feeling unappreciated, and helps your team keep track of their performance overtime. By reporting on these achievements regularly, we are also able to instantly remove recency bias from annual performance reviews.

How can we help you?

This is one of the most critical questions of all to be asking in regular check-ins as it normalises asking for help. Even the best team members will go through periods where they may feel like something is holding them back. If they feel comfortable sharing this, it gives us an opportunity to act and get them back on track before it’s too late. Everybody wins.

Learn more about how to ask these questions here

Rate your happiness in your role

Internally, this is the first question we always ask on every check-in. This shows employees that this is a top priority for their leadership team. It also provides the opportunity for people to speak up about a

 

Follow up face to face

By using these online check-ins to inform monthly one-on-ones, managers can demonstrate to each of their direct reports that their feedback is being taken on board and someone is listening. 

Importantly, one-on-ones are a time for every direct report in a team to have a private chat with their manager and talk openly about anything that is blocking them or give feedback about what they are enjoying. This is particularly beneficial for large or dispersed teams where alone time with a manager is normally rare. The face to face element builds trust and transparency, key elements of a great culture, while also improving alignment and assisting in ownership and performance.

 

Replace formal reviews with regular check-ins

You can also create a culture of continuous improvement and proactive support (not reactive performance management) by replacing formal performance reviews with regular check-ins. 

We know that formal performance reviews can cause a lot of undue stress, and often fails to impact performance positively and effectively (more on that here).

The good news is, when you’re running regular check-ins, you can negate the need for formal reviews. The online component gathers key data required, while face to face catch-ups provide the opportunity to discuss this and devise solutions. The difference is, these improvements can now be made proactively as opposed to 12 months later. 

 

Act on feedback

Integrity in leaders is another key component to building a great culture. To establish this integrity, we can’t simply collect feedback – we also need to act on it.

It may sound obvious, but failing to do this step promptly and visibly will undermine your feedback efforts. If staff feel their voices are not being heard and their input is not being taken into account, the feedback process will lose its weight and people will stop participating or put less effort into their responses.

It’s important to note here that this doesn’t mean saying yes to everything that is suggested. That would not end well for anyone, and obviously not every suggestion someone puts forward may be worthwhile actioning. What is vital, however, is that you listen to the underlying problems your team want to solve so you can then offer up solutions that benefit everyone in the business. 

In this way, you can show that you’re listening, and demonstrate the benefits of providing feedback, encouraging everyone to continue taking part.

The good news is, listening to and acting on feedback doesn’t have to mean trawling through hundreds or thousands of survey responses. When check-ins are performed through intelliHR, all this data comes together in a series of visual dashboards, allowing you to spot trends and pinpoint opportunities at a glance. We believe there is a great opportunity to understand culture through the use of aggregated team analytics, helping you and your leaders to get an overall sense of how the team is feeling and responding to your culture.

 

We hope these tips have inspired you to refine (or kickstart) your feedback process. If you need to get a system in place to make this happen, chat to the team about how intelliHR could support you.


How to monitor your company culture

So over the past few weeks we’ve looked at some common company culture myths, as well as things that can kill a good organisational culture. Now we know what not to do, it’s time to look at some proactive steps you can take to improve. But as Peter Drucker said: “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. Culture is often seen as something organic and intangible and it largely is, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t monitor key trends and influence it through our people strategy. 

Let’s explore four key tools you can use to monitor the health of your company culture, our experience is that each of these tools work together to give you the most comprehensive view of your team, and next week we’ll look at practical steps you can take to improve and influence your culture. 

 

Continuous Feedback and Happiness – The Personal View

Having a continuous feedback process in place for people to provide personalised insights on how they are tracking at work gives you and your leaders an insider’s perspective on what’s happening within teams, providing a great basis for regular manager and team member interactions. 

We recommend Monthly Feedback check-ins which help uncover positive and negative things going on within teams. This knowledge is invaluable, and by acting upon and responding both at the individual level and the aggregated company-wide level, your leadership team will build trust and engagement simply by being seen to listen and respond. For example, if multiple people in a team are constantly experiencing higher levels of stress or concern about their ability at work compared to other areas of the business. Publicly responding to this and looking into the root cause will build trust and is the first step in bringing that group into line with a more productive environment.

Having integrated tools which aggregate all your feedback data so you can quickly identify company-wide themes is hugely beneficial, this will allow you to interrogate your feedback data so you easily identify key themes and even pinpoint individual teams requiring additional support or congratulations.

As part of our regular continuous feedback loops, we also include our Happiness Analytics which provides further insight into what’s impacting your team happiness. By asking your people to rate their happiness in regular check-ins, you can not only see trends in happiness levels over time. The personal focus allows you to track an individual’s happiness over time, managers are going to know when something is off simply by the trend moving, providing your managers a great track to run upon in terms of being able to respond one on one.

eNPS: Making sense of Organisational Engagement

Continuing to build upon the theme of team trust and engagement, how would you know if you were having a positive influence on your team’s ‘buy-in’ – are they sufficiently engaged to be considered as being Ambassadors, or maybe recently your team’s engagement had taken a turn for the worst? Most engagement surveys don’t consider issues like this, and even if they did, they are most likely only undertaken once a year, so understanding the immediate trends and being able to respond to current concerns or opportunities is difficult to practically achieve. With this challenge in mind, we’ve developed a continuous employee version of the widely used Customer Net Promoter Score called eNPS, it’s focus is helping you understand how your Organisational Ambassadorship is tracking. Whilst Feedback and Happiness focus was personal, helping to facilitate great manager and team member conversations, eNPS operates to help you understand the state of your overall citizenship, so it is more useful as a company-wide and team-based tool.

eNPS is short for ‘Employee Net Promoter Score’. Like an NPS survey your team is regularly asked a simple question, would the team member recommend your organisation as a great place to work? Context for this answer is then requested as a simple short response field. The eNPS survey is typically sent quarterly, it only takes a few minutes to complete. Having collected all this information, it is then what you do with it which is critical. A good system will calculate your NPS result and separate the response into the three NPS groups: promoters, passives and detractors. IntelliHR goes further by then allowing you to see the underlying themes from the responses received. This is where the real gold is, helping you understand why your team is feeling the way they are feeling, and being able to investigate the trends at the individual team level with just a couple of clicks.

 

Sentiment Analysis – Uncovering the hidden signs

Imagine a situation where one of your teams is performing really well, they are all well remunerated and incentivised and feedback is looking fine. Everything looks good on the surface, but the turnover in that team is higher than any other in your business. This is usually a sign of hidden morale or team leader issues. But how can you know for sure, and more importantly, find the root cause of it?

Sentiment Analysis is an AI tool that processes all of the responses from your team’s feedback as well as a range of other inputs to give you visibility over the emotional tone underlying them. Gaining visibility over the Sentiment of team’s interactions provides the missing piece of the jigsaw, the hidden insights which Feedback and eNPS by their nature may have missed. A lot of negative sentiment could signal something that needs to be investigated, while positive sentiment will show you the areas where things are having a positive impact which should be shared.

Within this analytic view, you can drill down to every individual data point to see where positive or negative sentiments are being expressed, and take action on your findings.

how to use ai in hr

 

Performance – Delivering real outcomes.

Once you have visibility over everything above, another sign of a healthy culture, when coupled with engagement, is high performance. By monitoring your business’ performance on a whole as well as performance within teams, you can identify if all of your work improving engagement is paying off. 

Dips in performance can also signal a negative culture growing somewhere in the business. Look at teams or individuals that typically perform well and take note if there have been any sudden drops in productivity or failure to complete goals. From here, you can delve into their check-ins and sentiment data around that timeframe to identify any potential problems. Likewise, if you notice a team has had a jump in productivity, this is an opportunity to explore what they have been doing differently and look at replicating this across the business where appropriate. 

 

Want to see if you have the tools in place to foster a healthy workplace culture? Take our Culture Health Check quiz to see where you sit and get some more tips along the way.


5 Things that can kill a good company culture

We often talk about what makes a good culture, but what about the pitfalls to avoid? Today we’re exploring 5 things that can kill a good company culture, and how to help prevent them draining momentum from your efforts to improve your organisation’s culture.

Have you experienced any of these in a workplace? Let us know in the comments!

 

Rules that stop people doing their best work

Yes, every workplace needs structure and rules in place, that’s a given. But where do we draw the line between guidelines that help people and those that hinder? What we’re talking about here is rules for the sake of rules, the old fashioned “this is the way we’ve always done it” approaches – guidelines that really don’t add any value, but in fact now may actually prevent people from working at their full potential.

These are some examples you might have encountered before:

 

Obsession with 9-5 hours 

If an employee comes to work and does an amazing job between the hours of 9am to 5pm or 7am to 3pm or 10am to 6pm – does their start or finish time really matter? If one employee can achieve everything they need to in 5 hrs, and another takes 8, who would you rather have working for you? Outside of industries where the work is time-sensitive, the focus should be on outcomes, not regimented hours.

 

Archaic processes

When processes don’t align with modern technology, this can seriously kill efficiency, and leave your people feeling frustrated. Make sure you’re encouraging your people to constantly seek better ways to do things, not inhibiting them. We know it can be painful to constantly update policies and get them signed off when it’s a manual process – so make sure you have a way to automate this.

 

Not giving people a voice

Open communication is key to any healthy workplace culture. It helps the leadership team stay in touch with what’s going on in every team and make sure they all have the tools they need to do their best work. Falling to have an avenue in place for people to provide input not only inhibits this but also sends a message that their voice isn’t valued. 

One of the easiest ways to ensure feedback takes place regularly – without adding to the never-ending to do list managers already have – is to automate the continuous feedback process.

 

Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

Salesforce

 

Failing to act on feedback

Acting on feedback doesn’t always mean saying ‘yes’ to every request, but it does mean listening to what your people have to say, and either taking action where change is needed, or taking the time to explain the bigger picture. Not taking this step, can be easily interpreted as showing a lack of respect for your team. At best they will be frustrated, at worst, their trust will be diminished.

In other words, gathering feedback doesn’t hold any weight unless it’s actually listened to, and responded to. By demonstrating that this process is happening, your team will start to feel increased trust and transparency which are key Culture building blocks. Your people will value the feedback process and be more motivated to contribute feedback of their own.

 

Not following through on promises

The thing about keeping people engaged and loyal to your organisation is they need to have faith in the direction it is going in. If a promise is made but not delivered, this will most likely cause frustration and erode trust. After that, even if you have the best intentions or plans for your people, they won’t have confidence that they can trust you to follow through. 

Employees in high-trust workplaces are: 76% more engaged and take 13% less sick days.

Harvard Business Review

 

 

Our biggest tip to help avoid doing this inadvertently is to have all feedback recorded in one central location online. When feedback is gathered on paper, it’s far too easy for it to get misplaced or lost track of.

 

Having a poor employee experience

On top of these factors, sometimes it’s the little details that can have a big impact. Making work an enjoyable place to be helps your people do their best work and maintain a positive environment. It doesn’t mean you need to fit-out your office with bean bags and ping pong tables, but think about things like having comfortable desk and chairs, ventilation, lighting and space.  

It also means giving people the resources they need to do their job, and limiting frustrating tasks, admin and paperwork as much as possible and by designing an employee experience that suits the specific needs of your organisation. By giving your people the best possible environment to work in, you can minimise distractions or any challenges that might get in the way of them performing to the level they would like to achieve.

 

Have you identified any of these culture traps in your workplace? Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some more ideas to monitor and improve your company culture here on the Insights blog.

 


5 Myths about company culture busted

Over the next few weeks here on the intelli-Insights blog we’re going to focus on culture. Namely how to maintain a healthy one in your organisation, but we also want to help you figure out what a good culture looks like for you, because it this is different in every business.

But first, we need to set something straight. When it comes to culture, there are a lot of misconceptions. Today, we’re addressing these and looking at what culture really is.

 

1. Culture can’t be managed, so there’s no point worrying about it

It’s easy to see how culture could be seen this way in the past. It is largely intangible and organic, but the way we can influence culture has changed thanks to advancements in tech. 

With more advanced people management platforms now on the market that help you build trust and transparency by responding to feedback, and also monitor things like employee sentiment and happiness, companies can gain an insight on how their culture looks and feels and where the problems are…. Hint: in our experience, this is often things like not understanding where the organisation is going or how they can play a part in contributing to that direction.

And this visibility makes it easier than ever to nurture a healthy culture too. Once you can pinpoint any potential areas for improvement, you can take steps to minimise these. You can also identify what’s adding to employee morale and engagement, and maximise those opportunities too. 

But most importantly, fostering a positive company culture starts with setting the tone from the top (not just patching problems as they pop up). It’s the little things like thinking about employee experience, listening to feedback and providing responses (not always saying yes, but taking the time to explain why), keeping promises, and giving people the tools they need to do their best work that really create a great culture. Which brings us to our next point… 

 

2. Culture is just ping pong tables and slides

As mentioned, fostering a healthy culture is so much more about the way you treat people in areas that matter more than it is about gimmicks and perks. In fact, in some cases, ping pong tables and slippery slides are used to serve as a distraction from deep-seated issues within organisations that go ignored. 

Chances are, hiring an in-house barista and giving everyone 5 minute massages at their desks won’t do much to aid morale or retention if staff are forced to work unreasonable hours, work with toxic colleagues or take home a salary that is unnecessarily low. But if those core priorities are in check? Then go nuts! But perks only work when all of the important things are sorted first.

 

88% of workers would not be retained in a company just for perks like games rooms.

LinkedIn

 

3. Only companies with big budgets can have a good culture

Now that we know good culture doesn’t mean throwing perks at people left right and centre, it’s also clear that it doesn’t take a huge budget to keep your company culture positive! There’s no reason why a small startup or family-owned business can’t have a culture that’s as great as any international brand (in fact, maintaining a good culture can be a challenge as you grow, we’ll be looking at some strategies to deal with that later in this series).

So this is an absolute myth! As we touched on earlier, things like taking on feedback, making your people feel valued, giving them understanding on how they can contribute and giving them the opportunity to grow, and make a difference, that really contribute to a great culture. And all of that? It’s free!

 

4. Culture doesn’t impact the bottom line, so it’s not a priority

Whether you believe this statement or not, it’s true that direct revenue-generating activities often take priority over looking after your culture. But the problem with this short-term thinking is that you miss out on the long-term growth and profitability that comes from a happy and thriving workforce. 

By working to improve your company culture (or maintain the already great one that you have), you can expect a few of these outcomes that will all impact positively on your profitability. 

  • Reduced absenteeism, improving productivity 
  • Increased retention, lowering turnover costs
  • Improved talent acquisition, helping you attract the best people
  • Increased employee engagement, contributing to higher performance

Our experience is that so much of improving culture surrounds helping your team understand how they can contribute to where the organisation is going, and providing them the opportunity and support to grow and make a difference. Now just imagine if your team was in that position, does that sound like it would be performing better and producing a better bottom line?

 

“I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future.”

– Vern Dosch, author, Wired Differently

 

5. Culture needs to be the same across every team

There is no one perfect culture for every organisation, and likewise, if your business has multiple teams or departments, they will likely have their own slightly unique experience and culture as well. This is completely normal, as they are working toward different, but also interrelated objectives. The reality is, different types of teams are comprised of different personalities, leadership styles and ways of working. As long as these work to have a positive impact on each team, it’s okay if micro-cultures develop inside your organisation. What’s important is that all teams remain aligned to company values and can still work with each other effectively. A style that works for the marketing team will be very different to what your developers need in their workplace, so having some variation is very normal!

 

What do you think? Are there any myths we’ve missed? Let us know some that you’ve encountered in the comments.