Happy workers are key to small business success, and a startup is offering an easy and affordable way for small business owners to keep track of how their people feel.
TinyPulse’s Web-based service lets you do this in real time by drawing insights from anonymous employee emails that are quickly made available to the small business owner.
“I believe folks do care about how happy their people are,” TinyPulse founder and Chief Executive David Niu tells NerdWallet. “They just don’t have the tools.”
With the TinyPulse tool, your employees respond to a series of questions covering a range of issues related to your small business.
Most of the questions are typical survey-type queries such as, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you at work?” or “How valued do you feel at work?” The questions also can be more provocative, such as: “What’s the one thing we’re doing that’s driving you crazy?”
Employees can submit complaints and suggestions or offer praise in a “Cheers for Peers” section. Everything they post or submit is anonymous, Niu says: “You can give the most insightful feedback without fear of retribution.”
Addressing problems as they come up
Companies, including big corporations, routinely conduct quarterly or annual employee surveys to gauge company morale, usually with the help of consultants.
TinyPulse gives small business owners a way to address employee-related issues as they come up, Niu says.
The real-time feature of the service is crucial, he says. “You look at your inventory on a daily basis,” he adds, so it makes sense to “capture” how your workforce is doing “on an ongoing basis.”
“There are leaders,” Niu says, “who hunger for something to better measure their employee morale.”
Many small businesses use the services of online survey company SurveyMonkey, which Niu cites as a competitor. He says the TinyPulse service is squarely focused on workforce issues, helping businesses deal with such company concerns as employee shifts, management styles and even the effects of a merger or acquisition. Small business owners could also get fresh ideas from employees on how to improve the way the company operates.
“You can use the collective wisdom to crowdsource ideas,” he says. “It validates not just the owner’s culture. It’s everyone’s solution.”
Maintaining an effective company culture
The TinyPulse system was featured in a Harvard Business Review article last year on how companies gain the trust of their employees. The article says the TinyPulse system helped a marketing executive pick up on “a dip in trust” among employees who were reacting to the dismissal of several workers.
“I tried to take it head on and explained why it wasn’t indicative of a larger trend,” the executive, Mike Volpe, told HBR. “It could have spiraled out of control, but because we had a system to track people’s happiness and a process to have honest conversations, we hit a pothole instead of falling into a crater.”
The TinyPulse service ranges from $5 to $15 per employee per month for companies with fewer than 200 workers. For firms with more than 200 employees, TinyPulse offers customized pricing plans.
The service is useful for small businesses hoping to maintain a vibrant and effective company culture, Niu says.
“When entrepreneurs start a business, they sometimes overlook the importance of building the foundation,” he adds. TinyPulse can aid small businesses that “have taken their eye off the ball, and their culture has gone sideways.”
For related information, visit NerdWallet’s resources on how to start a business. For free, personalized answers to questions about starting and financing your business, visit the Small Business section of NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor page.
Benjamin Pimentel is a staff writer NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @benpimentel
Images via iStock and TinyPulse.