Cultivating a stellar office environment is difficult — it can even hold a company back from success.
From disengaged employees to uber-competitive working environments with untouchably high standards, there’s a whole gamut of workplace toxicity that can really sink your business.
According to Adam Siegel, CEO and co-founder of Chicago-based, the disconnect between senior management and workers on the ground is often overlooked.
“It’s this really bad game of telephone where the senior executives make really important decisions without necessarily knowing ground truth,” he said.
Siegel spent about 10 years consulting for larger organizations, where he noticed the disconnect problem first hand. He’d eat lunch with the people actually working on a project and hear complaints about impossible deadlines and faulty or fruitless product pushes. Then, he'd sit in on board meetings two hours later and watch senior management sing praises of the project's success or make strategic decisions not entirely based in reality.
That’s where Siegel’s company comes in. Launched in 2014, Cultivate Labs helps employers harness the insights of their employees — a group Siegel said is overflowing with valuable acumen.
“We help companies tap into the collective intelligence of the employees that they already have working for them,” Siegel said. “A lot of companies miss out on huge input that is very credible and already paid for — and that’s their own employees.”
Think of it as internal crowdsourcing. Cultivate Labs’ software systematically collects opinions from everyone in the company in hopes that their input helps inform strategy and forecast successes.
The Cultivate Labs team currently sits at 10, and Siegel said the company is focusing on growing its revenues, not its headcount.
And that growth, Siegel said, is likely on the horizon — especially as a new wave of business leaders begin to take the reigns.
“There's starting to be a new generation of managers and more senior leaders who have an openness to managing a little more humbly,” Siegel said. “There’s a lot of research out there that says you might be the smartest guy in the room, but you could still be a horrible predictor of future events. It really makes sense to tap into your own employees who in aggregate are going to be really good at predicting the future.”
Photo via Cultivate Labs.