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The Thought Process Behind Vocoli

Posted on July 22, 2015

A college student recently asked us about the thought process behind the creation of our employee suggestion software Vocoli. We began writing a reply and kept going, and going, and going before realizing it would make a good blog entry.

So, here it is:

Over the last ten years or so there has been a shift in focus within large organizations from viewing employees as a by-product of doing business to an actual asset to the organization. This was a huge change in perspective because assets are managed in a much different way. Part of managing assets is making sure each is as productive as possible, whereas by-products are minimized and removed if need be.

In the past, companies have talked a good game when speaking about valuing employees but, the forgotten wooden employee suggestion box aside, most organizations stuck to a strict top-down hierarchical model for disseminating ideas. In these systems very rarely did ideas get communicated from the bottom up.

In these strict hierarchical models, often the people most removed from the action were the ones making the decisions and processes to follow. This was not terribly effective - executives making decisions without input alienates employees and can result in catastrophic failure.

Take for example, Robert Nardelli when he took the reins at Home Depot. According to Wikipedia, “[Nardelli] dramatically overhauled the company and replaced its entrepreneurial culture of innovative product design with one focused on relentless cost-cutting.” This delivered an initial spike in revenue but did not last. Over time his autocratic style turned people away as did his replacing knowledgeable full-time employees with part-time help who had little experience in the trades. Treating employees as a by-product of business, Nardelli allowed competitor Lowes to double its stock price and he was ousted in 2007.

At the same time the failures of cost cutting were becoming apparent, companies noted the successes in engaging employees. Among them - the success of Toyota, the listening tours of Lou Gerstner at IBM, the innovation at Apple, the creation of Post-It Notes by two employees, and the rise of crowdsourcing and hackathons.

These successes and turnarounds showed corporate entities that employees could deliver tremendous value if properly engaged. And this has been the focus of a lot of successful companies ever since. In just one example, investing in employee engagement delivered a return of 600% - specifically $500,000 invested that delivered three million dollars in return - at a Caterpillar distributor.

Companies with engaged employees have people who:

- Work harder and are more productive
- Innovate - Decrease a company's turnover rate - Save company money

Which is the same thinking that inspired Vocoli. Valuing employee suggestions creates a circle of trust - employees enjoy the appreciation just as much as companies enjoy the increases in performance. That's the kind of value we like to foster and the environment we choose to help create.

If your company is ready to increase performance and foster a more innovative culture, it’s time to call Vocoli at 888.919.5300.


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