Getting feedback from your employees to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep them happy and productive is hard enough when you’re all in the same office — the challenge is magnified when you have employees out in the field. But providing opportunities for feedback is critical to employee engagement, and eventually to bottom line. Organizations with engaged employees outperform those with low engagement by over 200 percent.
The team behind Chattanooga-based employee feedback platform WorkHound, CEO Max Farrell and CTO Andrew Kirpalani, had helped companies from startups to Fortune 500 build processes for generating employee feedback. However, they noticed a gap in such options for frontline workers. Starting with the high-turnover trucking industry, they’ve built a custom platform that lets employees submit feedback anonymously and from their phone while on-the-go.
The WorkHound team shares more on why trucking companies sees such high turnover, what industries they’re expanding into next, and how their platform has helped companies improve their company culture based on what employees want.
Who does WorkHound serve?
WorkHound is an employee engagement platform for frontline workers. We started in the trucking industry where we created a continuous feedback loop between workers and their company. Our platform enables workers to share feedback with their company anywhere, anytime, anonymously (to avoid the fear of retaliation) to help companies understand and address frontline issues daily.
We then work with both the workers and companies to make positive changes. We focus on addressing urgent worker issues, helping the company use feedback to improve operations, and make companies close the feedback loop by responding to the feedback weekly.
What problem are you solving?
Our mission is to help people love the work they do. This is challenging in a lot of industries like trucking, nursing, manufacturing, and warehousing, especially when you have annual turnover rates that are 95 percent or higher. We help workers have a voice with their companies and give companies the tools to act on issues. When you listen to people and treat them well, good things happen!
What is the market industry impact?
Trucking has a 95 percent annual driver turnover rate and there is a 50,000 driver shortage. Many blue collar and distributed workforces are struggling. There is a $74.3B market opportunity in employee engagement software.
There is an opportunity for a software solution in the market that focuses on employee engagement for the 23 million non-desk workers in trucking, manufacturing, nursing, construction and warehousing, creating a niche $14.7B market.
We’ve helped workers claim unpaid wages, feedback has led to changes in company culture, and worker ideas have been implemented to improve the company.
What is your revenue model?
We charge a monthly subscription for companies. Subscriptions start at $1250/month.
How did you come up with this idea?
In Des Moines (where we founded the company), there are skywalks that connect the downtown area. We would walk around and see how miserable people were in their jobs and knew that you should not dread work. That led to our company mission: help people love the work they do. As we talked with workers across different industries, we realized frontline workers, especially in trucking, had the biggest challenges. We saw that drivers left companies because they weren’t respected, they didn’t feel like part of the team, and didn’t have a voice. We built the platform to give them a voice.
Funding or bootstrapped?
A little bit of both. We didn’t pay ourselves as founders for the first year as we got the company off the ground. WorkHound has raised around $600,000 in funding from angels and venture funds.
Who are your competitors and why do you stand out?
We run up against solutions that offer annual surveys or exit interviews. In industries like trucking, a worker can be happy on Tuesday, fed up on Wednesday, and quit by the end of the week. With our focus on a continuous feedback loop, we help companies be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to these issues.
What has been your biggest challenge thus far?
This is a conversation best discussed over a beer.
Andrew describes this best: “Starting and running a business is like getting punched in the face, getting back up, only to get punched in the face again.”
How does the southeast weave into your story?
We started our company in Des Moines, Iowa in 2015 and still have an office there. In 2016 we were accepted into the Chattanooga-based Dynamo Accelerator that focuses on transportation and logistics. Given our initial focus in trucking, they helped us ramp up our sales efforts and opened a lot of doors in this industry. After the accelerator we knew it was important to keep a presence in Chattanooga.
Are you hiring?
Definitely! We are looking for sales and customer success reps with hustle and heart. They can check out Angel List or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your next steps?
Looking into industries beyond trucking. We’ve grown 500 percent since the beginning of last year and have been turning away inbound interest from nursing, warehousing, and manufacturing companies to stay focused. We’re eager to kickstart those conversations again.
Holly Beilin contributed to article development