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Employee Engagement Is Broken — Here’s How to Fix It 🎉

Why ignoring employee engagement is a big mistake

Niko: Employee experience, empowerment, & engagement made easy — photo credit: Jonathan Simcoe artwork: Anthony Burrill

Solving Important Problems

I was working at a company where the leaders actively covered up problems and hindered the free flow of information. The health of the company and the people working there was suffering accordingly and it wasn’t solely because our office was in the basement of a converted parking garage.

As luck would have it, we hired a Director of Web Engineering who was previously at Twitter. She understood the power of giving people a voice at work, so she set up Google Moderator for the company to use.

Moderator was a Google service (shut down in 2015) that used crowdsourcing to rank user-submitted questions, suggestions and ideas. Obama used it.

The effect was remarkable and indelible. People felt confident sharing their questions, ideas, and suggestions. Their voices were heard, valuable, and relevant.

When my colleagues and I moved on, we took Moderator with us and watched the same remarkable things happen at other companies. It’s not surprising that companies like Google (Google Moderator), Twitter (Falquora), Mozilla (Mozilla Moderator), Yahoo (YoMod), Salesforce, Optimizely and others made, and still use, their own Moderator-like internal tools for employee engagement.

When Google Moderator shut down, there was a clear need for a dynamic, modern replacement

From the youngest startups to the largest public companies, building buy-in and a solid foundation of trust with employees is essential. The more your business relies on hiring highly-talented, knowledge-intensive team members the more you need to make sure your communications channels are strong. As you scale, those communication channels must scale with you to keep your team feeling like a cohesive whole.

Niko was created to give us all a way to ensure we’re surfacing important questions, ideas, concerns, and institutional-learning in a way that the right decision-makers and key stakeholders can engage constructively before small problems become big ones. Unlike bulky, “sad-making” HR software, Niko is the single-purpose, simple, and intuitive solution to make sure everyone feels heard.

Try it out:

Niko makes it incredibly easy for employees at all levels, from intern to vice president, to share what is on their mind by letting them submit, vote on, and respond to questions, ideas and suggestions. Submissions and comments can be anonymous if someone is feeling shy. It creates a different employee engagement experience and helps leaders listen better so teams can do remarkable things together.

What Does The Research Say?

Gallup, one of the most respected performance management consulting agencies in the world, examined the effect of employee engagement on organizations’ bottom line for over a decade and found that employee engagement consistently affects key performance outcomes, regardless of the organization’s industry.

Employee engagement is important. Period. Some of Gallup’s findings include:

Businesses at the 99th percentile have 4x the success rate of those at the 1st percentile.

Median differences between top-quartile and bottom-quartile businesses were:
- 10% in customer loyalty/engagement
- 21% in profitability
- 20% in productivity
- 24% in turnover (high-turnover organizations)
- 59% in turnover (low-turnover organizations)
- 41% in absenteeism

Businesses scoring in the top half on employee engagement nearly double their odds of success compared with those in the bottom half.

What’s with the name?

Niko is a variant of Nikos, which originates from the Greek Nikolaos. It means “Victor of People” or “victory of the people” or “people’s champion.” (Plus Niko is an awesome character in the Legend of Zelda.)

Get Started — #AskMoreQuestions

If you want to make your company a great(er) place to work and want to know what is important to the people you work with, you should try Niko.

Learn more and get started here:
Niko is currently in beta. We would love for you to try it out.
It’s easy to
create a group. You can even connect it to Slack.

Questions? Get in touch @get_niko or

Discuss on HackerNews:

Thanks to Carolyn Conner, Laura Franzese, Penny Campbell, Phuc Quach, John Saddington, Jenneviere Villegas, and Nathan Dintenfass for reading drafts and contributing.

PS I want to give a shout out to all of the people who make things like Node, Express, Jade, React, and Bootstrap. Without you this wouldn’t have been so easy.



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Jared Volpe

product designer. daddy-o, main squeeze, gypsy jazz pompeur, off-piste skier, kook surfer, mini-golf master. i’m very curious. believer in brunch. ad astra.