The corona crisis has given tremendous momentum to the development of start-ups focusing on online education and homeworking. This week Innovation Origins will therefore pay extra attention to start-ups in this edtech sector.
2DAYSMOOD has developed a software tool that allows you to fill in anonymously within 15 seconds how satisfied you are with your work using what is referred to as a mood measurement. All you have to do is answer questions via your mobile or computer by clicking on emoticons. That’ s good for the employee because they can let the employer know on a daily or weekly basis how things are going. For the employer, it’s a bonus that the company can immediately steer things in the right direction if job satisfaction drops, according to HR expert and co-founder Martin Meulenkamp of 2DAYSMOOD.
Why did you and Jan Pronk set up 2DAYSMOOD?
“Actually Jan Pronk is the original founder, I joined later and then we expanded the start-up. Jan worked as the IT guy at a bank where at the end of the credit crisis, sometime in 2015, they’d taken away the plants and coffee machines because of cutbacks. The mood at the bank slumped and people left in droves. That’s when he came up with the idea of developing a software tool that enables you to ask employees regularly – on a daily or weekly basis – how they are feeling. If the results reveal any dissatisfaction, you can do something about that. Most companies only carry out such surveys once every few years. In a place where I worked, employee turnover was high and they only carried out an employee satisfaction survey once every three years. That’ s not much use to you then. Because by the time the results come in, many of the employees who completed the survey will have changed jobs.”
Why didn’t you get on board right away??
“When Jan Pronk showed me the initial version of the survey method, it was nothing more than a graph showing the readings of employees using 8 emoticons. It was a classification system of various human emotions based on the model of the American psychologist James A. Russell. At that time, I was an HR manager on the board of directors at a large company and didn’t want to give up that job just yet. When I left, I phoned Jan and suggested that we set up a really good company behind his product so that we could help organizations around the world to prosper.”
How high is the response rate of employees who complete the weekly satisfaction survey?
“Around 60 %. So that gives a representative picture of the mood within a company.”
Can you also see from the results how you as an individual employee rate things compared to your department or the rest of the company?
“No, it’s an anonymous questionnaire. You see results at the team, department, or company level. We advise presenting data from five people or more in order to ensure that anonymity is guaranteed. But if a company and the employees involved choose to be fully transparent, we can tailor this to their needs. Incidentally, we do offer a secure personal dashboard. Here, each individual employee can view the votes that they have cast.”
What was the main obstacle that you had to overcome?
“Money. All start-ups have that problem. In the end, we found investors who believe in us as entrepreneurs. From the moment that kind of money is available, you can start building up your system. Then you bring it to the market. We’ve had our first client since 2016, a staff leasing agency in Utrecht, and they’re still our clients. Once you have procured 15 or 20 clients, it’s no longer that difficult to attract more. But getting that far is primarily a lot of hard work.”
How many clients do you have now?
“About fifty companies. Most of them in The Netherlands, but very recently we acquired our first one in the US too. They pay a license fee depending on how many employees use the system.”
What was your biggest breakthrough?
“‘Finding out that the people who work for us are such a great team and are committed to creating an organization that does something meaningful. Who all want the organization to be a global player.”
Do you ever take a job satisfaction survey yourselves?
“Yes, every week. Every week isn’t just all sunshine and joy for us either. Not least because of these corona times. Of course, I’m more concerned about money now. That’s also not much fun at times.”
Is the corona crisis adversely affecting you too?
“Yes. Companies are postponing contracts. They would rather not spend any money. We created a crisis monitor, together with Empatix, and made it available free of charge. It helps companies with managing remote working, shaping ‘the new normal’ and get feedback on that from their employees.”
Do companies have a greater need for online satisfaction surveys now that their employees are working from home?
“You see that a lot of companies are struggling to motivate their employees. Sometimes they have a lack of trust. I heard a story from someone who had to send a print screen every hour so that his manager could see what he was working on. Our services keep you in touch with your employees without overdoing communication. Connecting with each other is important for employees in order to be able to cope with stress. The results of the crisis monitor bear this out.”
What can we expect from you in the coming year?
“A follow-up to the Crisis Monitor will follow. People who now work from home will soon all have to go back to the office. Then we’ll add questions that suit that situation. As a leader, you wouldn’t want to shape the renewed culture on the basis of gut feelings. You need your employees’ insights if you want to keep them both satisfied and loyal. As an employee, you may even want to work from home three days a week from now on. That will save you travel time and costs. People have had time to think about what they consider important. What did they miss the most? What needs to be done differently? These are essential insights that you want to take with you into ‘the new normal’ for your company.”
What are you expecting to accomplish with 2DAYSMOOD in the future?
“We then aim to be a major player in the international market.”