It’s often said that people leave managers, not companies. Two founding members of the I Love Rewards business that became Achievers Inc., which was recently acquired by Blackhawk Network, have launched WorkTango, a platform that enables managers “to have better conversations with employees to create alignment, approve accountability, and develop high-performing teams.”
Rob Catalano and Nadir Ebrahim, who working for founder Razor Suleman helped create I Love Rewards and were part of the Achievers team, believe that the relationship between managers and employees is at the crossroads of engagement, and that managers need a simple and easy way to manage relationships with each employee and team in a collaborative, two-way conversation.
WorkTango is available in beta. Click here to register to test the beta version. The model is to price an annual subscription for a manager and his or her employees for about the cost of a dinner out with the team, and to have enterprise pricing for an entire organization of managers and employees. Catalano said that the focus now is on getting the technology right. They hope to sell through multiple channels, including directly to managers in a downloadable version, and to corporations and various types of agencies, consultants and other firms that bring engagement solutions to clients.
Catalano believes WorkTango gets to the core of what managers need in order to manage relationships, goals, commitments, professional development and more with their team, and to get better outcomes from team meetings and related activities by easily keeping track of outcomes. Catalano says that making managers more effective has a major impact on employee engagement, retention and outcomes by helping encourage two-way dialog and keeping people focused on the goals and means of achieving them. “People join companies and leave managers; 50% of employees left companies to ‘get away from their manager,' according to a recent Gallup poll,” he says. “That is scary. The old methods of training and enabling managers are ineffective. We are offering a new way.”
Catalano explains: “Being a manager is hard and can be overwhelming. We’re creating tools to enable people to be better managers. Too often, managers are given tools that weren’t built for them; they have to use technology built for human resources and the enterprise. We’re building software that managers love because it enables them to keep track of the goals of the team and each individual, with the career development and other discussions they hold, [as well as] goals, potential obstacles, to-do lists and commitments.”
Based on the demo, the system is easy to use and customize. Each manager downloads his or her own version. They can then add and activate a profile for each employee on their team. The topics being tracked with each employee can be customized, and the agenda and outcome of meetings can not only be shared, but also rated by attendees.
Aside from providing a simple, multi-device platform for keeping track of relationships and initiatives with individuals as well as the team, the platform enables organizations to ensure that their mission, values and initiatives are always part of the discussion, as Catalano points out. In many fast-paced companies, he says, “Managers often aren’t trained or enabled effectively. Managers get to be managers, but they often have very little training. We want this tool to enable them to be better managers, not only in day-to-day functions, but also train them to be better leaders over time.”
The company says the platform provides the following key features:
- A dashboard to keep track of upcoming conversations and reminders with each employee and the team.
- Suggested agendas based on proven best practices for different types of conversations.
- Employee profiles and private notes to keep track of vital information on each employee and conversation.
- A 'Touch Feedback' feature that enables employees to easily request feedback on anything in advance of a meeting, and employees can rate effectiveness of individual or group meetings.
- Individual and team meeting accountability—WorkTango makes it easy to track action items and commitments to keep the team focused, as well as to track and address roadblocks.
The system is designed to help make managers more efficient and responsive by integrating performance management with day-to-day workflow and encourage productive meetings to keep people on track, both in terms of short-term projects, goals and objectives, and long-term goals and objectives, including professional development.