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workitywork wants you to share the love—and whatever else is on your mind

May 23, 2012

in cohealth,culture,wellness

in declining employee loyalty: a casualty of the new workplace, the author talks about the demise of loyalty, thanks to the recession, the elimination of benefits and job opportunities, and changing expectations. the author quotes several wharton professors who highlight an additional reason: the disintegrating relationship between employee and employer, and specifically, the manager and the managed. workitywork is a desktop app that wants to bring recognition, appreciation and gratitude back to work. that’s a good thing for employers invested in workplace wellness. recognition fits well within the framework of emotional well-being.  i spoke with one of workitywork’s founders, ashli norton, to find out more.

fm: what is workitywork?

an: workitywork is a social workplace app that helps teams share feedback and give recognition in real time. any time team members want to give someone kudos, brag on their own great work, get honest feedback or just make sure the boss is aware of the low office vibe today, they can use workitywork to do so. simply put, workitywork helps employees love the workplace.

fm: what was the inspiration behind it?
an: honestly, we realized when talking about work that we had the same “war stories.” our gripes and the complaints of co-workers and friends were also pretty much the same. it was just too obvious there was a problem in the average workplace. since we couldn’t do anything about making work assignments more exciting, we figured we could do something to make a happy office.

fm: did you and your fellow bootstrapping co-founder suffer from lack of recognition at your former jobs?
an: yes and no. when i was at my former jobs, although i wasn’t receiving the kudos i would have liked, i didn’t expect it. no one received or gave recognition. it just wasn’t in any of the companies DNA, it seemed.

fm: let’s say i want to send a team member kudos? how do i do it?
an: workitywork’s a web app, so you simply open any browser on your desktop computer, sign in, choose employees you want to send the kudos to, pick a cool badge, tell them why you’re sending them a kudos and wham!!! they’ve been recognized and appreciated.

fm: does the manager get notified so he or she also knows that people think the team member’s doing a bang-up job?
an:
managers don’t get notified, but they can see the kudos a team member receives. in fact, everyone can. you can view how many kudos employees have, right below their picture and profile. that’s part of the transparency of the app.

fm: workitywork goes beyond pats on the back with polls. what’s the thinking behind including polls with a recognition program? and vibe? is this a pulse survey tool?
an:
it’s not enough to be thanked at work. it’s great and it’s a big leap for a lot of workplaces, but everyone also wants to be heard. our polls feature saves tons of time, is perfect for introverts on the team and is the ideal platform for the tough questions. with workitywork, questions like “am i really a good boss?” or “do you think our TPS reports are a waste of time?” can be asked without the discomfort and PC answers. employees can finally share the truth anonymously, from the comfort of their desk.

we added vibes because we noticed how oblivious management can sometimes be to low office morale, and a lot of the time it’s not their fault. management can’t read minds, and they have a lot of their own work to do. the vibes feature keeps the office morale in their face.

fm: what kind of data does an employee versus a manager see?
an:
the two things we never want managers to see are who responded how to polls and who’s feeling what way in the office. everything else (kudos and triumphs) is open for the entire workplace to marvel over.

fm: you’re in beta. what do you hope to get out of the beta? and what’s next?
an: in beta we just want to know two things: is workitywork simple and fun to use? and is it an office must-have? that’s it.

if it’s not for most of our beta users, which so far it has been (crossing fingers) then we’ll remain in beta until it is.

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ashli and patrick have offered free-range readers and cohealth members a beta code to workitywork: workishappy. go check it out. you can post a review here.

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