The judges described OpenBlend’s coaching-led performance management software as a ‘truly powerful submission that solves a giant challenge’, substituting a tick-box approach to performance management with a much higher level of conversation. Here, we look at the winning project in more detail and preview the other innovative contenders in this very competitive category.
OpenBlend is a UK-based HR technology company that supports effective conversations at work. Designed to help organisations swap ‘tick-box’ performance management for frequent and effective one-to-ones, OpenBlend facilitates broad conversations that cover a breadth of content beyond just performance.
It is also built to support employees at an individual level. The platform’s “blend” model enables employees to highlight a number of key factors that have a direct impact on their ability to perform, and which should be discussed alongside their performance objectives. By capturing these unique drivers, OpenBlend helps managers to frame effective conversations around the issues that matter most to the individual.
The company believes these conversations sit at the heart of employee wellbeing, motivation, and development – and evidenced by a 47% growth in customers over the past 12 months, OpenBlend’s UVP is also resonating with HR teams. Its platform is used by 60+ customers, including Gymshark, Dr Martens, Foxtons, LaCoste, M&C Saatchi, and The Princes’ Trust.
The firm complements its innovative technology with a customer-centric ethos. To buttress this, OpenBlend hired a chief customer officer in July 2021 as well as a Principal Customer Success Manager and two additional Senior Customer Success Managers. Along with its existing customer service team members, these experienced hires have optimised customer onboarding and the adoption of best practices. OpenBlend has also implemented Planhat – an innovative CS tool that provides communication support throughout the customer lifecycle.
Balance App is on a mission to make menopause support and information inclusive and accessible to all. It was created to place the knowledge and expertise in the hands of the people that needed it. This free app provides unbiased and evidence-based information alongside the ability to track symptoms, take the balance Menopause Symptom Questionnaire, and gives users the opportunity to download a personal Health Report to take to healthcare consultations – the vehicle to confidently discuss treatment options at a healthcare appointment. This part of balance app is so important for creating parity in the workplace as accessing appropriate menopause treatment is the key to alleviating debilitating menopause symptoms, helping women bring their best selves to work and ultimately staying in the workplace for longer.
Balance is the only menopause app to be Orcha-approved; this means employers can be reassured that the information distributed to their staff is medically sound. The app is recognised and trusted to feature in digital health libraries within the NHS and around the world, where it helps to educate health care professionals and is being used in treatment pathways.
Balance helps women and businesses alike. Since using the app 87% have been able to self-diagnose their perimenopause and menopause and 74% feel more comfortable talking about menopause at work. Additionally, 72% have managed to gain access to menopause treatment and 66% feel their mental health has improved. Half also feel the information on the app has helped them make the right adjustments at work.
Benefex, with its latest product, OneHub|Home, aims to deliver innovation to its employer customers and their employees.
Delivering employee wellbeing is the main priority for 78% of reward leaders. Yet organisations rarely have a unified digital home for wellbeing and few employees are aware of where to go to access workplace wellbeing initiatives. Experience, wellbeing and culture were the three pain points reported by its customers that Benefex sought to address with OneHub|Home. Customers are using it as a single place for employees to keep coming back to learn how these benefits can help them, understand the detail of what is on offer and take action.
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By building content around the key themes that are important to the organisation, reward directors have been able to land their key messages to employees better, explaining how they think about benefits in the way they do, how benefits support a wellbeing message and why what they are offering aligns to the business and culture. Accessing and understanding benefits has become a daily occurrence rather than during a once-a-year or once-a-quarter selection.
Benefex was the first in the market to launch anytime benefits and now they’ve extended that to every-day experience. The platform gives visibility to the messaging from leaders across the organisation about what their culture means in one easily accessible place and lets colleagues recognise each other when they live the values and champion the culture.
By offering this kind of unity, Benefex is helping both HR and organisations become much more strategic in how they approach employee wellbeing.
Bright HR software lets employers manage all their HR and health and safety in one place, from their desktop and mobile app. From handling everyday HR tasks – like logging sickness, calculating holidays, creating rotas, and much more – to creating complex contracts and policy documents, BrightHR gives employers HR technology that’s easy to use, and advice that’s clear, practical, and jargon-free.
To help businesses cope with Covid, BrightHR released VaccTrak Lite, a free smart database system built to help companies monitor their staff’s Covid-19 vaccine status, and BrightSafe on the Go, a mobile app for managing health and safety tasks from your pocket, helping to protect staff and visitors during the height of the pandemic.
BrightHR Lightning is another new product. It is an AI-powered HR search engine and learning system that’s dedicated to providing answers to difficult HR issues. The learning AI is built to develop a greater understanding of management issues and develop its answers accordingly while being constantly updated to follow the latest in UK legislation and employment law. Questions and answers are logged for future reference, can be shared with other managers and businesses using the sharing function, and include a completely free employment helpline for high-risk queries that may require further guidance.
While solicitors usually charge an hourly rate of around £220 and are only open during business hours, BrightHR Lightning is free and open 24/7. BrightHR says it not only save enormous amounts of revenue for users but makes life easier for them as the system has no subscription or monthly charge.
Dayforce, Ceridian’s flagship cloud human capital management (HCM) platform, delivers global compliance, workforce intelligence, and people empowerment in today’s increasingly borderless, fluid, skills-based, and augmented world of work. Ceridian’s technology is used by over 5,000 organisations worldwide, regardless of industry or size, to optimise management of the entire employee lifecycle, including attracting, engaging, deploying, and developing their people.
PureGym wanted a system that could propel its ambitious growth plans and support the change in its business model, while also simplifying HR processes to facilitate a better all-around user experience. They also wanted an extendable platform, capable of supporting and expanding HCM and payroll, as their business operations expanded globally.
PureGym implemented Dayforce for HR, payroll, and workforce management functions. The results were immediate. Ceridian’s project team worked closely with PureGym and went live with the Dayforce platform in the space of nine months. Given the various operational changes (both planned and pandemic-related) happening concurrently, the nine-month go-live amounted to a real achievement in partnership and promising opening chapter in the Ceridian-PureGym relationship.
Prior to partnering with Ceridian, having a complex workforce with many different roles and schedules was an administrative headache for PureGym. With Dayforce’s easy-to-use single solution architecture, PureGym was able to alleviate these pain points and deliver outstanding value and return on investment in administrative efficiency, business compliance and people experience.
Culture Amp is a highly advanced, well-trusted employee experience platform. With over 13 million employee surveys completed, Culture Amp has an enormous amount of employee insight data, and 5,500 customers worldwide use it to help them deliver productive, fulfilling people strategies.
Within intuitive, easy-to-use workflows, and with customer service teams always on hand to help maximise the value from the platform, Culture Amp seeks to help customers listen to, retain, and develop talent. Because nearly 625 million questions have been asked on its platform to date, Culture Amp says it is in a unique position to build the features organisations want, while assisting them in benchmarking their performance against other organisations in-platform.
British creative software company Foundry saw an 11% increase in employee engagement within 12 months of running its first survey on Culture Amp and implementing measures such as a revamped internal movement policy and development calibration sessions. The number of employees who agreed there were good career opportunities for them at the organisation has gone up by 12% and the number of people with access to the learning and development needed to do their jobs well has risen by 20%.
In 2022, Culture Amp launched a market-first set of career development capabilities, called Develop, because the firm saw that legacy career development is not working for organisations. In a single, simple-to-use workflow, Develop empowers businesses of any size to create personalised development plans and put employees on the path to continuous growth, at scale.
Culture Amp has been named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies (Fast Company), featured on lists including G2’s 2022 Best Software and the Forbes Cloud 100 and has advanced its presence as a Strategic Leader for Talent & People Success in the 2021 Fosway 9-Grid. It is also a long-standing B-Corp company.
Lattice’s People Success Platform seamlessly integrates continuous performance management, employee engagement, career development and growth, compensation management, goal-setting and OKRs, and analytics with a unified, user-friendly experience that people love to use. Connecting all of these capabilities in one unified platform drives People Success. Lattice’s modular approach enables people teams to adopt and scale these capabilities based on their organisation’s needs. Powerful third-party integrations connect employees wherever they work, including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Jira, Salesforce, Google Apps, and Outlook. Today, Lattice is used by over 4,250 businesses across the world.
The benefits of the platform are on display at finance services firm Tide. In 2020, Tide found itself thrown into lockdown, needing to keep the business moving forward despite significant challenges. Keeping employees happy and motivated was crucial, but Tide didn’t have an effective performance review process in place, or tools to understand its workforce. The company needed to play catch-up to get its people management processes up to speed, and a platform that could manage everything in one place. Tide implemented Lattice in 2019 and ramped up over 12 months, starting with its first employee engagement survey exploring learning, management, and transparency.
Lattice also focuses strongly on customer service. In 2021, it opened an office in London, committing to $110 million investment in Europe over the next 10 years. It now supports over 500 European businesses.
RoleMapper is the world’s first intelligent SaaS job design platform, helping organisations design increased job and workforce flexibility. Flexibly has been the most desired benefit for employees. Now, post pandemic, it has become more of a necessity, with 60% of employees wanting to increase flexibility post-lockdown and 50% preferring flex to a salary increase.
RoleMapper helps organisations design increased job and workforce flexibility and combines cutting-edge technologies to help organisations design and scale flexibility into jobs and teams. The fundamental proprietary technology behind RoleMapper is FELIX, a flexible working algorithm that automates a bias-free assessment, benchmarking and design of flexible work.
In most organisations, job-creation processes are manual, inconsistent, and highly fragmented. RoleMapper has developed a set of process automation modules that automates these processes and integrates the FELIX flexible algorithm.
The RoleMapper Job Description module combines FELIX alongside natural-language-processing to aide copywriting, a gender de-coder to eliminate bias in language and inclusion-flags to ensure all jobs are created inclusively and flexibility.
Zest continues to innovate in the employee benefits market, turning what was once an expensive, exclusive and time-consuming process into one that is cost effective, open to all and simple to implement and manage.
At its core, three key principles have remained since the day this approach was conceived: Simple and easy set-up, however complex the scheme, via configuration not development; full control of day-to-day systems management to be put in the hands of the employer; clean, crisp, modern employee-user experience also allowing employee access anytime, any-place, anywhere and – critically – through any device.
The length of the pandemic created increasing challenges that no one was prepared for. The launch of Zest’s Claims Centre came at a critical time when the challenges of home working started to really come to the fore and hybrid working was being considered as a potential future of work for many. These ranged from practical needs such as home offices to be set up, through to more complex issues including mental and financial wellbeing, as people were feeling increasingly isolated.
Zest is now able to support the most complex of benefit schemes, run and manage engagement campaigns, plus provide the online recognition and claims allowances that today’s working environment demands in a completely unique way, all in one place. What’s more, the key core principles of an engaging employee user journey, straightforward administration and simple and easy set up are still at the heart of every effective business. Zest’s platform demonstrates the best use of technology in order to deliver on all these core principles.
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