South African enterprise software startup Quainted believes it has found the key to improving employee productivity and performance: keep them engaged and happy.
So the startup has created an enterprise social network aimed at keeping members of an organisation engaged – with each other, with their bosses, and with their tasks.
Combining elements of social media and gamification features such as points, badges, leaderboards and financial incentives, the Quainted platform aims to motivate employees, keep them engaged and make tasks fun while still staying serious.
According to the Quainted co-founders, the platform is just what employers need to improve productivity and innovation within their organisation, as well as serving as a real-time tool to identify problems in the workplace.
“We wanted to make the workplace more human. Employees are disconnected. Not only from each other, but also from their boss, their tasks and their physical and emotional wellness,” explains Quainted co-founder and chief operating officer (COO) Heinrich Tessendorf.
“Using the most advanced analytics, employers can use Quainted to pinpoint exactly where problems are in their organisation. Employees use it to encourage each other and to make sure their work is on par with the rest of the organisation,” he says.
“If employees feel connected and part of a team they tend to perform better, which allows the company to perform better financially in the long run.”
Tessendorf says the platform enables employers to place the right people in the right positions within an organisation, and as such maximises skills while reducing costs.
“Employees who are engaged can increase innovation, productivity, and bottom-line performance. These employees will also reduce costs related to hiring and retention in highly competitive talent markets,” Tessendorf says.
“It’s easy for employees to stall on tasks they don’t enjoy. If employers don’t recognise that someone is in the wrong position, that person won’t be happy and will be forced away from using his or her strengths to add value to the organisation.”
Launched in April 2014, the startup already has 31,000 users on its platform.
The startup charges US$0.38 per feature, per user, per month; based on the provision of 14 features which employers can switch on and off in real time as needed. Tessendorf says the cost to the employer usually comes to approximately US$3 per employee per month. With this model, Quainted broke even after 14 months.
Tessendorf explains the co-founders are cautious about their expansion strategy, preferring to perfect their product and improve on existing features rather than attempting to scale far and wide quickly.
“We are improving existing features daily and we try to get as much user feedback as possible. We would rather make a handful of customers very happy than a whole bunch of customers only somewhat happy. Right now we’re focusing on those initial customers because we know it will be a crucial step for us to create a sustainable product and brand,” he says.
“As for new products, we are adding new features which we feel will contribute to our overall vision at a rate of about three new features per month.”
Nonetheless, the startup is involved in a number of international initiatives, including being one of the finalists at the Swiss-South African Business Development Programme, which will see Quainted pitch to investors in Zurich later this year.
The co-founders say their ultimate dream is to see Quainted take-off in Silicon Valley. So watch this space.