Investment Opportunity Q&A with Hive: Part 2
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We've talked about it before - how a great team is one of the most important things in a business.
In offline pitching situations, you often have the chance to meet these teams face-to-face. However, when businesses raise capital online via equity crowdfunding platforms, this can be a bit trickier.
Here at GrowthFunders, we know how important it is to get to know the people behind the business before you make an investment decision, which is why I recently sat down with Dean Benson, CEO of Visualsoft and co-founder of Hive.
L-R: Craig Peterson CEO of GrowthFunders, Dean Benson, and John Ryder Co-Founder of HIVE. You can read our Q&A with John by clicking here.
Q&A with Dean Benson, CEO of Visualsoft and Founder of HIVE
Can you give us the "Hive" pitch in less than 30 seconds?
Hive is a cost effective cloud application designed for HR departments and business owners to understand, measure & improve employee engagement within their organisation through the use of a weekly anonymous feedback system. It’s built on a ‘freemium’ model so organisations can very easily utilise Hive without having to pay for a monthly subscription.
How do employee engagement levels impact your day?
Employee engagement is a big thing for us here at Visualsoft. It’s always been important to us, but we’re the first to admit that it’s never been an easy thing to monitor and measure with annual appraisals. It’s only recently, since the introduction of Hive, that we’ve been able to be much more proactive with employee engagement, and it’s paying off!
Why is it so important to you that your employees are fully engaged?
Engaged staff leads to improved productivity levels, which leads to a better service and happy clients.
That’s our unofficial company vision - happy staff, happy clients!
What flaws have you found in traditional employee engagement survey methods?
We previously used very ‘traditional’ methods of measuring employee engagement. We found that the annual appraisals we conducted were too long, and not always a true reflection of the employee’s feelings as they only collected data from a single point in time. As a very agile company who moves very fast, it just wasn’t the right way for us to do things, so we looked for an alternative approach.
Why do you think the annual survey system has lasted for so long?
No one dares to change it! Unfortunately that seems to be the sticking point across quite a few HR issues within the industry.
Earlier this year, we conducted research which found that productivity levels varied a lot between departments, depending on the time of day, so we introduced a solution - unlimited paid holidays and flexible working conditions, which means our staff can work from any location at the times which suit them.
It’s something which attracted a lot of opinions at the time - some of which were negative - but it’s been a huge success for us and it’s getting recognition within the industry when people see just how well it works. We’re proud to be innovative and challenging the norm.
Why do you think Hive is a good solution?
It’s been designed and developed from the ground up, by people who understand how to keep employees engaged, and the employees themselves. For us, it suits our brand values perfectly, and it’s focused on the UK market too.
How has the Visualsoft benefited from Hive?
It’s allowed us to be much more proactive with employee engagement, and identify issues before they become a problem. For us, it’s resulted in engaged staff who are genuinely happy to come to work, which results in increased levels of service.
L-R: David Duke, John Ryder, Craig Peterson, Tim Johnson, Dean Benson, Matt Burton and Mark Leader.
What sort of reaction have you received from Visualsoft employees?
Great! We did a lot of research prior to introducing Hive and the extra benefits (unlimited paid holidays and flexible working) so we had very clear objectives and a carefully planned strategy in place. We knew exactly what we wanted to achieve, and Hive has been the driving force behind it all.
...from outside companies who have (or will) trial Hive?
The feedback from the first handful of clients who are currently trialling Hive has been really positive, which is great to hear.
How different was the original idea to where Hive is now?
In any new project there’s always tweaks along the way, and Hive was no different, but that’s all part of the improvement process. It’s very much what we set out to achieve, but probably better as we learnt what works best along the way.
Where do you think Hive will be in 5 years?
There’ll be continued growth in the focus on employee engagement over the next few years, which we’ve already started to see, so based on this, and the feedback we’ve had from those already utilising Hive in the workplace, we’re confident that Hive will continue to grow in tandem with the awareness of employee engagement!