Donnerstag, 7. Juli 2016

Now is the time for a new kind of feedback at work - Insights by Steffen Maier of Impraise

Steffen Maier
By searching the Internet I found interesting statements and insightful hints on employee feedback and leadership by Impraise. I found later that Steffen is one of the leading guys of Impraise. We met each other via Twitter. Now I am very happy that Steffen will give readers of my blog a look at his activities at Impraise.

Peter: Hello Steffen. Thank you in advance that you give me some insights of Impraise.
Steffen: It is a pleasure to be here Peter, thanks so much for this opportunity.

Peter: What is behind Impraise? Who is the inventor of your feedback tool? Could you give us a short view at the history of Impraise?
Steffen: Sure! Behind Impraise there’re 4 entrepreneurs who wanted to improve communication at the workplace. Basically we all suffered from lack of feedback in our previous positions, we all realized that the old annual performance review was a system that was not helping anyone to improve at work.  Feedback always comes too late and isn’t specific and actionable enough anymore. That’s why we decided to create the simplest web-based and mobile solution to exchange timely, actionable 360 degree feedback at work. We started off in Berlin and moved to Silicon Valley one year later. Today Impraise is based in Amsterdam and New York City.

Peter: The name Impraise implies management terms like appraisal. What is the philosophy behind Impraise?
Steffen: At Impraise we aim to turn the workplace into an open and healthy environment where everyone can constantly learn and develop their skills. For that, we believe that regular feedback is crucial.  Everyone should be able to ask and provide feedback whenever the need arises, improving the internal communication and work environment as a result. People should be able to reach their full portantial while companies benefit from a boost in productivity and engagement as an outcome of meaningful feedback through our solution. The actual name Impraise came from combining “improve” and “praise”. To of the key results we want to achieve within a work environment.

Peter: What are key objectives of Impraise? What impact does your tool have?
Steffen: Individual workers at companies today are used to the idea of getting feedback from only their manager, and mostly once or twice a year. Our solution makes feedback an on-going activity within a company. Feedback should not be limited to be only given by the manager, our goal is to remove all those artificial barriers. Impraise also makes feedback very specific as the app lets you define specific behaviors, skills or values that are relevant in your job. This creates focus for the person receiving feedback but also for the feedback giver. Our tool increases social engagement in the workplace by creating an open feedback culture, which gives ownership to the people take hold of their own development while also increasing the level of peer coaching. People learn quicker and knowledge and advice within the team gets shared frequently. Ultimately, we make the whole performance management processes much simpler and more insightful. The administrative time can be reduced by 75%. Saving a 100 people company about 20,000 EUR per year.

Peter: And what is your specific role at Impraise?
Steffen: I’m a Co-Founder and responsible for growing our company. Practically, I’m managing our marketing and PR efforts to increase awareness and interest towards HR.

Peter: Until now only few German companies have changed its feedback systems to real-time feedback. From my point of view many German HR Professionals prefer annual performance management systems. Most of our HR Managers define their roles by means of promoting these classical performance management systems. What arguments or experiences could you bring forward to convince these managers? Maybe you have some success stories?
Steffen: At Impraise we don’t segment our clients based on countries or languages, every single case is unique for us. So it doesn’t matter where you come from, unless you’re willing to revamp  your Performance management practices. I would tell those managers their workforce is craving real-time feedback (44% of millennials are asking for it, 98% of employees are disengaged if they receive little or no feedback). Leading companies like GE, Adobe, Accenture, among many others realised how important is to get rid of the annual performance review and implemented an actionable feedback system in their workplaces, in order to prevent huge losses of money on a disengaged workforce. Besides, 95% of HR managers say their PM process is not providing valuable outcome.
But most important, we work in a very competitive work environment, outdated software means getting left behind compared to the competitors. Impraise also provides a data analytics system that provides more accurate data for managers to avoid making wrong, costly decisions. There’s no time to waste, the change is now.

Peter: How could Impraise support managers and organizations in this ambitious venture? Because it depends not only on an excellent tool but it means a big cultural change too.
Steffen: For sure Peter, that’s why we also provide constant guidance through the implementation of the platform. We have in-depth material on coaching that we provide to managers on how to get the best out of our tool and ultimately into a feedback mindset. We see that the change really has to be embraced top-down with an organization. Only managers that are taking on feedback themselves and that listen to their people will encourage feedback behavior and a growth mindset within their team. That’s at least what our experience shows us. We’re seeing this very prominently working among younger internet companies in the US. We take our learnings from them to apply them in more established organizations. However, this culture change has to come in steps and that’s exactly what we help our clients with, it’s a long-term partnership to implement a feedback culture successfully.

Peter: Thank you very much for this insightful interview. I wish you great success at Impraise.
Steffen: Thanks so much for considering us!

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