Building a Coaching Culture

By Ganpy

How can leaders help build an effective coaching culture?

“The amount of time that people waste on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me. I have fun running the Virgin businesses, so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”
– Sir Richard Branson.

In an earlier article, we talked about the hidden powers of corporate coaching. In this article, we are going to talk a little about how to go about building a coaching culture in your organization.

    What exactly is a coaching culture?

A coaching culture means creating an environment where you provide not only opportunities but also actively support your employees to learn new skills, thereby enabling them to become greater assets to the company. It also means such an organization emphasizes on its management why training, regular feedback, and opportunities for growth for its employees creates a more engaged and a more energized workforce.

Developing a coaching culture is not just about having a performance coaching resource available within the organization for a specific period of time. It is one of the more significant investment decisions that need to be made to build a sustainable coaching infrastructure.

    What does coaching culture enable you to do?

A well developed corporate coaching culture allows employees to:

1) Take responsibility for their own actions
2) Take risks and contribute their own creative ideas
3) Treat mistakes and setbacks as valuable learning experiences
4 Speak up, challenge and express conflicting views
5) Offer constructive and motivating feedback
6) Feel appreciated and that their contribution matters
7) Raise motivation and performance to achieve better results
8) Form cohesive and high achieving teams

    How do you go about building a coaching culture?

A coaching culture is a collective representation of the behavior of the employees in your organization, behavior which is driven by each individual’s beliefs, values, motivations, ethics, objectives and aspirations. However, as we all know, changing those influencing factors to drive new behaviors can take time. It is also a challenge to decide whether to invest in developing an internal stable of coaches or whether to invest in external coaches or whether a mix is the most appropriate.

If you are deciding to develop an internal stable of coaches, then consideration must be given to who is eligible to apply and how would the successful applicants be selected. This must be based upon the individual’s passion for coaching and not necessarily as the individual’s next development opportunity. It is not recommended to take a hierarchical approach and start at the top and work your way down through the organization for coaching. Also if internal coaches are being developed, then consideration must be given to the hierarchical perceptions e.g. could a professional trained coach who happens to be in a lower position (hierarchically) in the organization, reasonably coach someone in a higher position?

There will be issues around boundaries if the coaches are entirely from an in-house stable. That is where organizations can often find entering a partnership with another organization or a group of organizations can be useful so that coaches can be swapped into the other organizations. The practicalities of having an internal coaching stable also surround the availability and time off requirements to allow coaches to prepare and undertake their coaching in the right environment.

1. Lead By Example

Start with You, the Leader.
Engage a coach for yourself. Find someone who delivers exactly what you are hoping to provide for your team. If you achieve the desired results, then share your experiences with your team.

2. Ask the Right Questions

A coaching culture encourages employees to learn from their experience by exploring the right questions rather than telling them what to do and how to do it. Next time an employee has a challenge ask them open-ended questions that begin with “how” or “what.” For instance, “What would you have done differently? and “How can I support you?” This way you empower employees to come up with meaningful solutions. – Mo Chanmugham, Esq., CPCC, MGC Coaching

3. Start at the Top

Start by teaching senior leaders a few coaching basics — listening, asking questions, encouraging others to reflect and develop insights before taking action. Then guide them to coach their most respected team members. As these “influencers” gain traction from beingcoached, they will be open to learning and modeling the same coaching behaviors. Over time, a coaching culture will emerge. – Carolyn Esposito, Talent Pathways, Inc.

4. Just Do It

Coaching is a way of being, and as such, you can’t simply integrate it. You just have to understand what it is and do it. It’s not the same as adding carrots to your stew. So the key is to educate teams about what coaching is and then have them do it — coach each other. Have a weekly group coaching session with a coach to help answer questions and demonstrate. – Larry Boyer, Success Rockets LLC

5. Build A Coaching Routine

You can’t be a runner without putting in weekly miles, and you can’t have a coaching culture without a coaching routine. One high-performing sales manager at Salesforce creates a coaching culture by allocating an entire day each week to coaching. On Tuesdays her 10+ direct reports get 30 minutes of one-on-one coaching — time completely dedicated to their developmental needs. – Taylor Jacobson, TeamPossible: Achieve more of what matters

6. Make Managers Accountable For Developing Employees

Create a coaching culture by tying this activity to the company’s mission, and hold every manager accountable for coaching employees to help them master their jobs and learn new skills. Create a structured process with clear goals for coaching employees. Be sure to make time and resources available to guarantee success. Reward managers who meet or exceed these goals and reevaluate those who don’t. – Barbara Safani, Career Solvers

You may agree by now how much employee engagement is directly related to employee motivation. And what kind of critical role coaching plays in increasing your employee motivation.

So, if you haven’t done it yet, as a leader, it’s perhaps time for you to start putting together a plan for building a coaching culture for your organization.

You may already be behind the curve…

The Hidden Powers Of Coaching

By Ganpy

Corporate Coaching is highly under utilized. Why is it important?

Coaching

If you look around, you will see how the role of coaches is very well understood in the world of sports. Athletes recognize the significance of the roles played by their coaches at various stages of their careers. A great coach is needed in order to help you reach your maximum potential, no matter which sport you are in. And in the process, the athlete not only strives to reach his/her maximum potential but also gains self-confidence and ends up improving overall performance.

But when it comes to the corporate world, why is it hard for us to find similar examples of organizations having come to similar realizations? There are some companies that have understood the value of coaching, but even where the value of coaching is understood, it is often provided only at certain levels. Executive coaching and Leadership coaching are the two most commonly invested coaching functions in corporations. However, this is a flawed understanding of the role of coaches in the corporate world.

Coaching is essentially a conversation or exchange of thoughts/ideas, structured in a formal way in order to focus on what really matters to the employee and to the employee’s relevance to the organization. This is why coaching should happen at all levels, and not just at the executive or leadership levels. Coaching is supposed to get down to the deep end of the problem, i.e. to the core of the issue.

Coaching sessions can be built in many ways:

1) Manager -> Employee
2) Peer -> Peer
3) Peer -> Peer (across departments)
4) External -> CEO

Coaching programs should be well structured and scheduled. In many ways, Coaching can be considered a new way of employee training, but with an individual focus.

Unlike the executive coaching sessions, which were originally designed to deliver specific measurable results through specific targets and goals, it is important to note that corporate coaching has been shown to have a much bigger ROI than the regular corporate training.


What Is Corporate Coaching?

Corporate coaching is not a form of classroom learning like typical training programs. Corporate coaching is motivational, and it strives to inspire employees to reach specific goals. This type of coaching focuses on the individual, their happiness, and what they can do to help the company be successful.

A good corporate coaching session teaches employees to maximize productivity (hence profits), without being too forceful on any other people who may work with them. An ideal structure of corporate coaching results in top-down absorption. When it works from the top-level, it changes the way an organization operates. Once executive leaders of the organization start acting differently, then the changes from the top work their way down. Needless to say, this results in organization changes.

What Corporate Coaching Is Not

Corporate coaching is not life coaching, however close it may sound like. Corporate coaching teaches strategies and tactics geared towards tangible improvements/goals. Since every organization is different, the coaching structure is never set in stone. Corporate coaching methods are not a one size fits all solution for problems. Everyone is different, and so are the answers to the problems each organization tries to solve.

Why Executive Coaching is important?

Corporate coaches help executives reach high levels of excellence. And typically the coaches for executives are external coaches. The most effective way of coaching starts from the top and it should work its way down, for transformation to start from the top and migrate to the bottom. Corporate coaching can transform an organization’s performance by strengthening executive talent. Improving executive talent improves performance by enhancing leadership strengths that coincide with business goals.

Team Development

Best successes are attained when team development starts from within – inside out. Corporate coaches believe that members of a team intrinsically know the problems a team is facing, and hence they often are the best suited to offer solutions and ideas.

A corporate coach tries to bring these problems to light by encouraging team members to speak up about problems and creating a safe environment where differences can be discussed. These can be achieved through various means. Personal meetings, workshops, seminars, webinars, online tools, etc. Corporate coaches design and administer surveys/feedback lists to analyze team data for strengths and weaknesses to identify where developments need to happen. A corporate coach will teach leadership, corporate culture, communication and working relationship management.

As it is hopefully clear by now, corporate coaching has always remained important, but it’s just that more and more people are beginning to identify with it and understand the significance of it, of late.

We will talk in detail about how to go about building a strong and an effective coaching culture in another blog post.

Paradise in the making…

By Victor Ruiz

Discovering the key elements and behaviors that contribute to creating strong & cohesive teams, that work together to achieve goals, in a healthy and a happy working atmosphere

Employee engagement can be described in many different ways, maybe as many ways as people attempt to define it. Possibly, all definitions are correct, some may be more complete or accurate than others, but I guess all of them have points in common and they help to understand the concept. If you have been following our blog regularly, I am sure, by now, all of you have a clear idea & understanding about our definition/interpretation of the employee engagement issue.

So, what if we forget about definitions and concentrate on the main objective of employee engagement?

If you have to pick a single objective, what would it be?

I am completely convinced that the answers to this question would be much more similar than the definition of the concept of “employee engagement”.

Recently, Glasswork announced its list of the 50 best places to work in 2017. Based on employee feedback, the ranking includes companies with more than 1.000 employees across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. As we read the list, one question comes to our mind. Are there some characteristics shared by all those places?

From a general perspective, we all can agree that the mission of employee engagement is to build the best possible workplace. This seems very simple, but what does it mean? Which elements should work together to build a great workplace? Well, that is the aim of this article, in which I will try to identify those key elements and behaviors that help to create a strongly engaged team, that works together to achieve goals in a happy atmosphere.

Respect and freedom

Where do we start? One of the most important things is to make employees feel important and valued inside the company. If you accomplish this, the game is half won. A good place to start is by explaining employees the mission, vision, values and goals of the company, and especially how would they fit into it. By doing so, managers show their team members, that they are fully conscious of their potential, and that they have a game plan in which employees play an active and strategic role inside the team. It would make them feel like they matter from the very beginning, generating instant motivation. It is also important that the company provides training courses and/or learning programs for employees to show they really care about their professional growth.

Respect and freedom go together as essential in any company that wants to become a great workplace. We are referring to employees sharing their thoughts, ideas and suggestions with absolute freedom. Respect is implicit in this. Engaged employees don’t only want to perform the tasks they are assigned, but also want to participate in the decision making processes of the company. Restricting decision making to the senior or managerial staff is a way of reducing the possibilities of finding good ideas, because they can come from any member of the team. A good company to work must empower employees to be proactive making contributions and decisions.

Freedom also implies information and communication, which should be multidirectional and transversal, working without departmental restrictions, so that all the members of the team are considered to be at the same level. Communication in such environments are enriched due to collaborations with partners from other divisions and/or with other backgrounds.

Team players

In line with this, the concept of ‘team’ is crucial in creating a healthy working environment. Companies should build a culture in which managers and employees have the sense of belonging to a team. Everyone must realize that they are part of a team and they are not just a bunch of individuals. When team members operate individually without connections, each one goes in a different direction and no progress is made. People work better when they help each other, in a collaborative environment and then everybody is involved in making the team grow stronger, playing together, rowing in the same direction. It doesn’t matter who gets credit because all the goals are achieved together as a team.

‘Team’ is a term that we can relate to work, but this is not only about working all the time, so we need another concept to illustrate that other side of the workplace. ‘Camaraderie’ fits very well into it. It is highly improbable to love your work if you don’t have fun at the workplace. Camaraderie is about having fun at work and form friendships with your co-workers, something that happens in an environment, that fosters the conditions for people to be themselves, feel free and share anecdotes, jokes and laughs. Employees should feel at home. This is essential to break the daily routine and have a chance to relax from the stress of the often exhausting workload, as well as to strengthen bonds within the team.

Recognition

Last, but definitely not least, we have a fundamental pillar in workplace environment, recognition. In companies with poor working culture, it is common that employees don’t receive any kind of feedback on their work until they make a mistake. On the other hand, great companies make sure that their employees are recognized for their work.

Employee recognition is a question of pure empathy. Taking into account that your employees are the ones in charge of the success of your business, it is a matter of how important it is in your scale of values. The more you care about your employees, the more you care about your success. Managers must raise awareness of the importance of recognizing the work of their employees. With little effort and no cost, they can achieve big wins if they keep team members motivated and engaged with just a few sincere words of encouragement. After all, maybe the only thing that we seek is to be recognized for what we do. As simple as that.

These are the fundamentals of a good workplace.

Of course, there are many other important aspects to consider, but we tried to keep it as simple as possible just so that we begin with a solid background.

It is certainly not easy to turn a poor or non-existent organizational culture that makes employees want to leave, into a great culture in which people would desire to take part, overnight. It requires time, hard work, dedication and the will to change the core values of the company and instill them in the workforce, but let there be no doubt..

It’s worth the effort! Totally.

HR Tech Conference and Expo 2016

By Ganpy

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Dear Readers,

This is to let you know that both Thorsten and I are excited to be at the HR Tech Conference and Expo in Chicago between Oct 4 and Oct 6. If you are going to be at the conference, please stop by the Startup Pavilion and say hello to us.

With HR Tech finally beginning to get the kind of attention it deserves, this year promises to be a great opportunity for so many customers and HR Tech Vendors to come together to share the latest ideas. For our part, we are naturally very thrilled to give a glimpse of Cabaana to the HR Tech world, especially our US customers for the first time. We hope to trigger a healthier conversation with customers in the Employee Engagement space, by bringing a different but a critical focus to the problem, which most companies haven’t yet come around strategizing for their businesses.

Thorsten and I will share our experiences from the conference through a blog post in the coming week.

Meantime, you can follow us on Facebook or on Twitter for more regular and more periodic updates from the conference.

Cheers!
Ganpy.

Collaboration through Huts

Ever been lost while were trying to look for a report from one of your past meetings? What if there is a streamlined manner in which you could store all project related communication and documents in a single space? Wouldn’t this make your life much easier? Welcome to Cabaana Huts.

By Victor Ruiz

Bora Bora (French Polynesia) at night. Not a bad place to be at this time of the year, isn’t it?
Bora Bora (French Polynesia) at night. Not a bad place to be at this time of the year, isn’t it?

Let me begin by sharing an anecdote. After a year of internship at a major Spanish shipping company, a friend of mine was officially given an offer to become an employee. For the first few months, his work was not very different from what he did as an intern. It involved mechanical inventory tasks, some report creation tasks, and most importantly it entailed the all critical function of serving coffee to his superiors.

However, his patience and dedication for a few months ensured that his first real opportunity to ‘shine’ at work finally arrived. Delighted with his work till then, his boss entrusted him with the preparation of a document related to a Japanese group which was interested in investing in the company. Although the boss had assigned a few other people to help him out, my friend was the leader. It was not necessarily a task of the highest importance, but my friend rightfully realized that this was an opportunity that came his way as a sign of his boss’s confidence in him.

It took several weeks for him and his team to put together this document, but they actually got it done two full days ahead of the planned meeting with the Japanese investors. He received congratulations from his boss and from a few other important leaders in the company. His boss hadn’t planned on having my friend attend the actual meeting, but after reading the document, the boss decided that he was the best person to explain some of the document’s key points.

The big day had finally come and my friend had everything under control. In a kind of pre-business ritual, he put on his lucky suit. Well, his only suit to be honest, carried his lucky fountain pen, splashed on generous amount of his lucky perfume, and of course was getting ready to print the document to distribute to his audience, which was on… Wait…A…Moment…

Where was the document?

He was 100% sure that he had saved it on a specific folder that he created for this purpose, but as a result of a tragic and apparently impossible-to-explain computer failure, the document was not where he was expecting it to be. My friend panicked and called his colleagues & team mates asking for the document. They couldn’t find it either. They all believed that it was his responsibility to ensure the safety of the document.

In the eyes of everyone in the whole company, it was clear. This was his FAULT.

Don’t worry!! My friend could eventually locate the document and it all ended well. More importantly, he still has his job at the same company. But it was a very embarrassing moment for him. The only consequence of that slight mishap was that there was a considerable delay in the meeting, which inevitably resulted in he being taken to his boss’s room for a good sound-off.

What I really learnt from his story was that the lack of streamlining & organization of information and loose collaboration among the employees were the two main factors that caused the embarrassment, and that it is crucial for companies to have appropriate tools to guarantee the same.

That brings me to the next point. What about you and how is this in your company?

Have you ever been frustrated when you had to find a document buried under several layers and several folders when you need it urgently?

This is where Cabaana could make a huge difference in the life of everyday teams, trying to focus on overall efficiency.

Cabaana provides a single space for all your project related communication and collaboration. This space is called ‘Huts’.

Huts are nothing but the hub of all team collaborations. You can organize your team’s collaboration activities either through private or public huts, use “threads” to filter specific topics of discussion that are being worked on, and/or share files and other data within Huts. You can also search for information in those threads inside the huts (they can be deleted when obsolete). In addition, Huts can be used for activities in which not all the team is involved.

In short, Use Huts to get work done.

Huts is a tool designed for knowledge sharing and project management. A Hut is a well-organized and streamlined document storage space for documents that may have to be accessed several times or that are vital for both the team and the company.

Huts are similar to Forums that contain threads for their respective topics. Threads are the starting points for communication on specific topis and knowledge sharing. Hut members can comment, ask questions and answer others’ questions. In addition, members have the capability to upload files that they consider appropriate.

Cabaana provides both Public and Private huts, the latter being only accessible by those users who have been invited by the hut owner (that is, the creator of that hut). Public huts, on the other hand are visible to all users, who can join or leave whenever they want.


Huts don’t need to be for work purposes alone. Users can create huts to share jokes, hobbies, sports, memes, anecdotes, etc.

As a secondary level of categorization of threads, users can use tags. This enables the search mechanism to work even better.

As you can see from the above, through this feature called Huts, Cabaana provides a productive collaboration space with streamlined information, making “lost information” a poor excuse.

This series on Cabaana Features is almost at its end, but I am not done unveiling all the features as yet.

So, Stay Tuned!

Employee Interaction? Challenge Accepted.

Interaction among colleagues is the essence of workplace Happiness and Productivity.
Cabaana triggers interaction in fun and engaging ways.

By Victor Ruiz

Everyday interactions we have with others are contagious, in terms of happiness – Nicholas A. Christakis, American sociologist and physician
Everyday interactions we have with others are contagious, in terms of happiness – Nicholas A. Christakis, American sociologist and physician

Have you tried spending one day without talking to anyone? In one of my former jobs, you didn’t even have to try. It just happened on a regular basis. It’s not that the workers were extremely shy or hermit-like, but such were the characteristics of the tasks and they required certain isolation to concentrate on the work.

Strange things happen when you have little contact with the people around you. While working for that company, I didn’t feel that we were going anywhere. I mean, each employee performed his/her tasks individually, but there was nothing remotely similar to a team or any sense of belonging. We rarely had meetings or events in which we could put our knowledge together and try to solve problems.

It goes without saying that it wasn’t the best possible working environment. I had the feeling that the specific conditions of the work there had gradually flooded everything, consuming the spirit of the people working there, turning them into lonely souls who were trapped, like some kind of prisoners of their forced solitude.

In Cabaana, we believe that interaction between the members of the team is the foundation on which teams can bond and culture can grow. Through Cabaana’s well designed and easy-to-use communication features, interaction among colleagues is streamlined well for maximum efficiency.

Behind all these is Cabaana’s Engagement Engine – a powerful hub for triggering and monitoring engagement. One of the features of the Engagement Engine is to trigger interaction between peers on a regular basis using a set of configurable rules.

Happiness Challenges

Within Engagement Engine is “Happiness Challenges”, a feature designed to promote interaction between employees.

In all fairness, these Challenges are just the icebreakers of sorts when it comes to generating interaction.

Challenges help the employees get to know each other, find similarities and interests in common, which increases the level of confidence among them. Little by little, this confidence creates a positive background in which situations, anecdotes and jokes contribute to build a collective imagination, that strengthens happiness and the team spirit of the workforce, thus helping the growth and progress of the company to reach its goals.

This is how an invitation to a Challenge looks like on the platform
This is how an invitation to a Challenge looks like on the platform

Now some details.

You may ask, “How do you choose the challenged employee?”.
We select them from using these configurable criteria: ‘any member’, ‘any team leader’, ‘only non-team leaders’, ‘only hut (*1*) owners’, ‘member of a public hut’, and ‘member of a private hut’.

I can see you go, “Well that’s ok. But how do you select the targets?”.

We select them again using a set of criteria that in future releases will be made further configurable.
Criteria include, ‘no target’, ‘any other employee’, ‘any direct contact’, ‘any peers’, ‘one of its managers’, ‘someone followed’, ‘someone following them’, ‘someone on the same city’, ‘someone on one of your huts’, and ‘someone with the same interest/skill as you’. We will continue to develop this algorithm we have right now, so as to give more weightage to certain criteria such as employees/team members with whom there has been minimal interaction, etc.

Challenges can be configured and Rules can be set as below:

Weekday: What day of the week a specific challenge should be sent
Frequency: On what frequency a specific challenge should be sent to challenged
Max_number: Related to how many times the same challenge should be sent every day to the whole company/team
Priority: The priority of the challenge
Reward: Either for the challenged or for the target (Kudos)
Max_time: The maximum period of time a specific challenge stays relevant, so it is not sent after the expired time. For example, lunch challenges are configured to be relevant only before 13:00
Rewarded by: Who awards Kudos for a specific challenge? Usually the company/team (that is, Caba), but can be set to be awarded by the challenged or by the target as well

In addition, Cabaana can give more visibility to the challenges through these reports.

● Report challenges accepted (Newsfeed or Private)
● Report challenges completed (Newsfeed or Private)

Cabaana comes with the following out-of-the-box Challenges (Be ready, the list is huge!):

having a meal, sharing a coffee, sharing trivia involving movies, books, music, sport and work, having a walk, offering water, offering help, sharing jokes, portraits and handshakes, asking about superpowers, solving issues, wishing ‘niceday’, afterwork, sharing candies, Dilbert comic, selfies, decoration, articles, and compliments.

Now that you’re familiar with this feature, are you ready take up the Cabaana challenge?
Be brave and stay tuned for more…!

(*1*) ‘Huts’ are the centre of all collaboration. You can organize your team’s collaboration activities either through private or public huts, use threads to filter specific topics that are being worked on, or share files and other data within Huts. In short, Huts are used to get work done.

Keep Your Team on Track!

Checking on your team’s daily mood is important to look out for early warning signs when things are “going south”. Cabaana has a simple but an effective survey feature that allows you to collect feedback from the participants and the survey can even be customized.

By Victor Ruiz

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog – Mark Twain, American writer
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog – Mark Twain, American writer

It’s curious and sometimes sadistic, how minor and apparently insignificant things can affect our mood dramatically for the rest of the day.

It was as recent as last week. I woke up in good spirits as usual. The sun was shining, the weather was sweet, made me want to move my dancing feet (1), I was taking a shower… but the water wasn’t sweet at all. In fact, it was freezing cold.

First blow.

But I’m not so easy to bring down. After the shower, I recovered my previous good vibrations and got ready to have breakfast. I was about to drink my first sip of coffee with a smile on my face, but what I didn’t know was that the cup contained lava just bubbled from a volcano that burned my mouth and spilled on my shirt. Oh, come on, life cannot be so unfair.

Second, but DOUBLE blow.

I must recognize that I hardly smiled after the coffee incident. However, that morning still had something nice for me. I missed my bus. That was the third and final blow. R.I.P. to my mood for the rest of the day.

Well, this was just an example of a disastrous morning (that I hope it doesn’t happen again!), but sometimes you don’t need nothing special to happen to just feel sad or without the right energy to start your day and go to work. For example, Monday mornings. I guess we all agree on this infernal period of the week…

Effects on productivity

Apart from Monday mornings and the comeback after holidays/vacations (who doesn’t feel depressed?), since a team is composed of individuals, it is difficult to know about their individual mental or emotional states, or their mood flow through the week, like something cyclical. It depends on many things and most of them are personal.

According to Sophie von Stumm, senior lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, “from a biological perspective, we know the brain structures and neurotransmitters that are involved in mood, but very little is known about the genetic origin of fluctuations in mood.”(2)

However, something we have no doubt about is that the mood of employees has a crucial effect on the working environment and consequently on the performance of the company. A positive mood is related to happiness and qualities like proactivity, creativity, resilience, productivity or energy. On the other side, a negative mental state drives to sadness, apathy, lack of willpower, low energy, indolence and laziness.

Both moods can cause a chain reaction in the workplace. In the first case, it means paradise. But if the negative case happens to spread, then companies may be in big trouble.

Mood surveys

To help you keep a check on your team’s daily mood and, thus, catch the early warning signs on when things are “going south”, Cabaana has a simple but an effective survey feature that allows you to collect feedback from the participants and the survey can even be customized.

Mood surveys are a daily/periodic check to know about the employee’s mood. Surveys provide three moods: ‘Sad’, ‘Meh’ and ‘Happy’ (see screenshot below), but they can be customized in such a way that the admin can establish the specific time in which the survey will be sent, or set up the different options (for example, instead of ‘Sad’, ‘Meh’ and ‘Happy’, he can create other ones that he considers to be more appropriate).

In the front end, you will find the survey as follows:

Screenshot 1: Don’t you think our mascot ‘Caba’ is adorable?
Screenshot 1: Don’t you think our mascot ‘Caba’ is adorable?

All the answers from employees are stored in what we call the ‘engagement engine’, where we also use certain engineering and artificial intelligence to offer information extrapolated from all this data.

In this first version of Cabaana, what we offer are the results through what we call a ‘Mood Board’. It is a dashboard with a series of graphs/charts. You can access the ‘Mood Board’ by clicking on the smiley button on the upper part of the page, next to the ‘Kudos Leaderboard’ button.

Screenshot 2
Screenshot 2

Inside the ‘Mood Board’, you will find the ‘Average Company Mood’, and then the ‘Daily Mood Levels’. These two graphs obtain their data directly from the mood survey, but each one of them shows different statistics.

The first one (‘Average Company Mood’) shows the daily evolution of the mood of employees in the last 30 days, that is, one month. In the near future, we will be able to show any period that the user demands. What is more, users will be able to download the data and use it as they want.

The arrow inside the box indicates the difference from the day before. In case of the image, it means that the mood has increased 0.25 points compared to yesterday. However, the average mood is within the parameters of ‘Meh’ (yellow color and face of indifference).

Screenshot 3
Screenshot 3

The ‘Daily Mood Levels’ are shown in the image below, where the empirical results of each day are expressed as percentages, that is, the percentage of users that each option has. Like the ‘Average Company Mood’ statistic, for the time being, these results only reflect the mood results from the last 30 days.

Screenshot 4
Screenshot 4

You already know that employees are the foundation of any company. Now you have a tool that helps you to know when things are going in the right direction or when some things need to be improved.

But this tool is just part of a series.
Cabaana has much more to offer… So do stay on track with us and we will keep you updated!

1) Adapted from ‘Sun is Shining’, a song by Bob Marley & The Wailers
2) ‘Unraveling The Surprising Relationship Between Mood And Productivity’

The Importance of Being Recognized

Ever felt the effect of a simple “Thank you” on your mood or the effect of a well meant suggestion?
Cabaana makes it easier to appreciate one another in a fun and an engaging way.

By Victor Ruiz

Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated - Robert McNamara, former President of Ford Motor Company
Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated – Robert McNamara, former President of Ford Motor Company

Some years ago, a friend of mine was working at the Publishing Department of his university. His work consisted of filling in different kind of forms regarding the check-in and check-out of academic books and proofreading of texts. He used to describe his job as “very boring, lonely, mechanical and thankless.” One could tell he wasn’t excited at all.

It must be very sad to tell somebody that your work is thankless. Leaving aside factors such as low salaries and excessive working hours, right now I cannot think of anything sadder than that. And the saddest aspect of all this is the reason why he felt that way.

Sometimes, a job can be thankless because the general public or your consumer may ignore it, as they don’t understand what it takes to get that job done. But at least those who know (coworkers and managers for example) about what it takes will understand how hard it is make the employee enjoy the respect of his profession.

Carrying the burden of a thankless job

The case of my friend was different. The main reason for him to suffer a thankless job was – yes, you guessed right– his boss.

My friend’s boss was neither a grumpy nor a bad person. In fact, he was proud of his employees. Outside the workplace, he used to tell his friends and other managers about the great work that his employees were doing.

The thing is that he just happened to never tell his employees about it. Inside his mind, may be he perceived that to openly tell an employee that he/she was doing well was a sign of weakness and hence he surely would begin to lose their respect.

Instead, he would walk by the office looking at his employees with disdain: not because he despised them, but because he thought that by showing this attitude, his workers would feel that they should work harder to please him. He confused appreciation with complacency.

Can a manager be more wrong?

In the beginning, my friend, as well as his peers, used to work hard for the Services. They thought that they had a demanding boss, but believed that it was good to prove that they could put a lot of effort and eventually be recognized for their work.

However, as months passed by and as nothing changed in the attitude of their boss, they began to lose their faith in what they were doing. One day, as usual, my friend was focused on his work and the boss was having one of those walks. He stopped by his desk and put his hand over his shoulder.
My friend thought this perhaps was the moment. Finally, it had come.

The manager bowed down and whispered in his ear: “Come on, you need to move on!!”

That was all he got from his boss after many months of committed work. For him, this was the final blow to his confidence.

A question Ff empathy

This boss was a clear example of how not to treat your employees. Though his intentions weren’t bad, his ineptitude gradually broke the moral of his employees and dispelled them from the aims and the spirit of the company. He had full responsibility for the disengagement of his workers.

In the end, employee recognition is a question of pure empathy. Besides, taking into account that your employees are the ones in charge of the success of your business, it is a matter of how important it is in your scale of values. The more you care about your employees, the more you care about your success.

Managers must raise awareness of the importance of recognizing the work of their employees. With little effort and no cost, they can achieve big wins if they keep workers motivated and engaged with just a few sincere words of encouragement.

After all, maybe the only thing that we seek is to be recognized for what we do. As simple as that.

This was just my friend’s case, but the lack of recognition is a complex issue that can affect all kinds of teams and team members, including managers themselves.

Kudos!

In order to help anyone in the team recognize and appreciate the work of their colleagues, Cabaana provides its own employee recognition system – Kudos.
Within Cabaana, recognition works in all directions:
– From managers to employees
– Among employees (peer to peer recognition)
– And even from employees to managers.

Kudos are based on a scoring system, which has been currently categorized as follows:

5 Kudos: Thank You!
10 Kudos: Good Job!
20 Kudos: Impressive!
50 Kudos: Exceptional!

As you can see below in screenshots 1 and 2, all these metrics are managed from the Kudos panel, where you can choose one or more employees to receive Kudos.

Recognition SS2

Recognition SS1

Each month, each user is awarded a finite number of Kudos to spend by the admin through the admin panel. At the end of each month, Kudos be reset to zero. If an employee has any unspent Kudos from the previous month, it won’t count just to avoid idle users to accumulate a large number of Kudos.

Ability profile for each employee

Within Cabaana you don’t simply award someone a certain number of Kudos. Instead, you have the ability to set a context for the Kudos you are awarding. The user gets to pick from eight attributes which are completely customizable by the administrator (both the adjectives and its value) to go with your Kudos. These attributes will define the KQ (Kudos Quotient) of the employee, which you can check on their profiles (see screenshot 3 below).

The employee profile shows the three most appreciated attributes of the employee. Thus, we try to build a more meaningful profile for each team member/employee inside the company to help assess the true potential of that employee through a 360 degree feedback of sorts, for future promotions or inter-department transfers.

Recognition SS3

The sharing of points is carried out following in the following basis:

For example, if an employee receives ‘10 Kudos – Good Job!’ and the attributes chosen are Proactive, Timely, and Helpful, then each of those attributes will get 10 points. These values will not be reset every month.

On the Kudos panel, users can also set up the following (see screenshot below):

Visibility – Decide whether you want your action to be viewed by the rest of the company or just by the employee that will receive it

Message – to explain your team member/manager the reason why you are appreciating his/her work

Image – you can also attach an image to cheer up your peer

Recognition SS4

Each time a user receives Kudos from a colleague, if he decides it to be visible for the rest of users, a post like the following will appear on the general Cabaana Newsfeed.

Recognition SS5

The Kudos system has a second way of indirect employee recognition and it is through an informal ranking among employees. If you click on the trophy icon that appears on the upper section next to the browser bar, you will find the ranking of employees based on the number of Kudos they have and that won’t be reset. This Leaderboard is a fun and a gamified way to promote peer to peer appreciation.

Recognition SS6

Last, but not least, there is another way to obtain Kudos – By simply completing the daily “Challenges”. For each accomplished challenge, the employee obtains ‘5 Kudos – Thank You!’. In the following screenshot, you can see a Newsfeed post informing that ‘Caba’ has awarded the user with 5 points.

Recognition SS7

As you have seen now, Cabaana makes it easy to recognize and appreciate the work of your employees in a fun and an engaging way.

If the well-being of your workers is so important for the success of your business and, I believe, it is, why not invest a bit on addressing it?

But our journey of exploring all the features of Cabaana has not yet ended… So stay tuned for more!

Make it Simpler, Make it Easier

Messaging has become the most preferred way of communicating in our personal lives – Cabaana helps you to take it to your professional lives as well.

By Victor Ruiz

Image Courtesy: IT Donut
Image Courtesy: IT Donut

In the last two decades, from the rudimentary chatroom based web chats of the mid-nineties to WhatsApp and Snapchat messages of 2016, instant messaging has gradually increased its importance in our lives. Nowadays it has became an essential part of our day-to-day routine. We use it constantly to communicate with friends and relatives.

Who doesn’t text every day, at any given point of time, for some reason or the other?

This messaging habit is usually more prominent in our personal lives, but in our professional lives, it can be a powerful solution to address the communication necessities of modern workplaces, since it allows employees to interact amongst themselves in real time.

According to the author Mary Ellen Guffey, in her book Essentials of Business Communication, IM is “a convenient alternative to the telephone and is replacing e-mail for short internal communication.” It is not by chance that “French IT giant Atos switched its in-house communication entirely from e-mail to a Facebook-style interface and instant messaging.”

Statistics also appear to support this idea: “more than 2.7 billion IM accounts worldwide attest to IM’s popularity. Sixty-four percent of business professionals use IM.”

Benefits of IM

In Guffey’s words, “the major attraction of instant messaging is real-time communication with colleagues anywhere in the world –so long as a cell phone signal or a Wi-Fi connection is available.” Moreover, “IM allows people to share information immediately and make decisions quickly,” which explains why “its impact on business communication has been dramatic.”

It knows no frontiers, since “group online chat capabilities in enterprise-grade IM applications allow coworkers on far-flung project teams to communicate instantly.” Guffey also expounds that instant messaging and texting are considered by many people as a “productivity booster because they enable users to get answers quickly and allow multitasking.”

Not surprisingly, this kind of communication is related to immediacy and it helps to increase efficiency. “The immediacy of instant and text messaging has created many fans. A user knows right away whether a message was delivered.” In addition, “messaging avoids phone tag and eliminates the downtime associated with personal telephone conversations. Another benefit includes presence functionality. Coworkers can locate each other online, thus avoiding wild goose chases hunting someone who is out of the office.”

Other benefits of IM that Guffey underlines are “low cost, speed, and unobtrusiveness.” As she writes, “both IM and texting can be low-cost substitutes for voice calls, delivering messages between private users quietly and discreetly.”

Be Happy, Cabaana is here!

All things considered, there is no doubt that any tool that enables this kind of communication is bound to help employees reduce the amount of time they spend on performing daily tasks and thus making their job easier and more pleasant.

But how can you get access to a tool that lets you do all of the above for your work?

Enter Cabaana.

In Cabaana, users can use Instant Messaging in two ways:

1) Individual Chats – This is ideal for ‘one to one’ communications
2) Group Chats – This is ideal for group chats and is done through ‘Rooms’, where communication is ‘many to many’.

Needless to add, ‘one to one’ communication is private (see screenshot below).

IM Screen on Cabaana Web
IM Screen on Cabaana Web
IM Screen on iPhone
IM Screen on iPhone

In the current version of Cabaana, users can only create public “rooms”. This means all team members can access any room that has been created. However, private rooms will be implemented in a future release of Cabaana. Once this feature becomes available, team members will be able to access only rooms to which they have been invited to.

The conversations in rooms can only be read by those who are invited to be in those specific rooms (currently all rooms are available to all team members). To that end, the only thing you have to do is to access your room of choice through the list of rooms that appear once you click on the button ‘ROOMS’ (see screenshot below), which is located on the left sidebar. Once you are in, you are privy to all communication that is taking place there.

Room Selection
Room Selection

All team members on Cabaana can currently create rooms by means of the modal window that opens up when you click on the icon ‘+’ that appears when you place the mouse pointer on ‘ROOMS’. Just type a name for the room you want to create, and click on ‘Create’ (see screenshots). It will immediately appear on your list of rooms (remember left sidebar?). Other team members can immediately access the same room.

Room Creation
Room Creation

In global terms, Cabaana defines instant messaging as a fast and an effective communication channel that acts as a substitute for the traditional e-mail. In future releases, we will enable sharing of documents/files through these messaging channels and even will integrate third party file sharing services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Calendar among others.

Don’t these features sound powerful enough to make your work related communication more efficient?

But, I hope you already know that Cabaana is much more. The main advantage of Cabaana and the unique added value that Cabaana offers is that Instant Messaging is just one of the many services available on this platform.

Are you eager to know more about what else is available?

Stay tuned…