We’re listening: How employee feedback drives culture at 3 Chicago tech companies

by Michael Hines
October 10, 2018

At many Chicago tech companies, employee feedback doesn’t just influence what snacks are in the kitchen and where the holiday party is held.

Snacks and celebrations are important, sure, but employee input is critical in shaping everything from how teams collaborate to a company’s core values. We recently spoke with three people team leaders to learn more about how feedback shapes their cultures and their companies.

 

HS2 Solutions Chicago digital consultancy

Bounteous is a full-service digital consulting firm whose offerings include web and app development, interactive marketing services and experience design. When it comes to gathering feedback, VP of Talent and Culture Leah Weyandt said that Bounteous encourages employees to share their ideas early and often — as in from day one.

 

How has employee feedback helped shape your culture?

Contribution starts at the very beginning of the employee-employer relationship. Part of Bounteous' hiring process is to find people who aren’t afraid to use their voices. From day one, Bounteous encourages continuous participation. Team members are given the freedom to express ideas through open-door communication and transparent management. We also have recurring one-on-one meetings to discuss progress and goals, an easily accessible, matrixed leadership of seasoned mentors, and an emphasis on career building and within-the-walls promotion, as well as the power and encouragement to influence and ignite change. The ability and willingness of Bounteous' team members to speak up not only impacts their work but also influences and shapes our culture.

If someone offers an idea for infusing fun or bettering Bounteous, you better believe our ears will prick up.”

 

Can you share a recent example of how feedback has driven change?

Our litany of cool perks, fun activities, and, quite frankly, processes for improvement and opportunities for growth, started with team member suggestions. We have craft beer in our refrigerators. Employees work with state-of-the-art equipment. Our walls are adorned with the works of local graffiti artists. Bonding exercises consist of hackathons, lunch and learns, esoteric board games, 3D printing projects and philanthropic outings. If someone offers an idea for infusing fun or bettering Bounteous, you better believe our ears will prick up.

 

DialogTech Chicago tech company

DialogTech’s call analytics platform makes it easier for marketing teams to see how their efforts drive inbound calls. The company also provides AI-powered tools for analyzing calls to glean actionable marketing insights. VP of People and Culture Amy Dolan said feedback gathered this summer helped improve collaboration between teams and increase attendance at the company’s weekly happy hour.

 

How has employee feedback helped shape your culture?

Employee feedback is so critical to the culture at DialogTech that our CEO and I spent the summer holding over two dozen meetings to hear how we’ve been doing with respect to the three pillars that we measure employee satisfaction by: collaboration, morale and culture. Our goal was to learn what was working and what wasn’t. We ended up walking away with much more, including an appreciation for the reasons why people entrust us with the not-so-small task of being their employer. And, bonus: It was all really actionable feedback.

Employee feedback is so critical to the culture at DialogTech.”

 

Can you share a recent example of how feedback has driven change?

We’ve already put into action some of the suggestions we received around the pain points regarding how teams work together. These include more thorough team-by-team resource definitions, better-defined process handoffs and role-specific onboarding programs. Then there were some small wins, like moving our weekly Friday beer bash to Thursday afternoons to increase attendance.

 

dscout Chicago tech company

The dscout platform lets companies gather insights at scale on products, brands and user experiences. Those insights come from the platform’s more than 100,000 “scouts,” who share their in-the-moment feedback via surveys, photos and video. People Lead Jim Conti said the company’s recently established core values were derived directly from employee feedback.

 

How has employee feedback helped shape your culture?

Our company is built on the idea that hearing from, and empathizing with, your users will yield better and stronger products. We believe the same about seeking feedback from our team to help build a stronger company. At dscout, we have multiple feedback channels, including using our own product to conduct studies with our team.  

Last year, we conducted a “One Thing” mission — a mission is what we call a research study — with our platform. We asked our team to share the one thing for product, company, culture and processes they would like to see implemented in the coming year. This informed the coming year's business plans.

We have multiple feedback channels, including using our own product to conduct studies with our team.”

 

Can you share a recent example of how feedback has driven change?

Recently, we used the dscout platform to conduct a mission where we asked our team what they were proudest of, as well as when they observed dscout working at its best. We used this to inspire our first set of company values. Our values, like “empathy & drive” or “together & a part,” are now being directly incorporated into our recruiting, performance reviews and other company initiatives. These started from, and were driven by, our employees in an effort to build a better, stronger, more inclusive dscout.

 

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