The software company uses data on culture to prioritize people initiatives, build strong and sustainable teams, and improve retention.
Founded in 2017, Statespace is a data platform that uses AI, cognitive science, and video games to revolutionize how people improve their skills. In 2020 the company went through both a series A and Series B and grew its team from 10 to 80 employees.
Over the past two years, Statespace had grown from – in Danielle’s own words – “Scrappy startup, flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, everybody’s doing everything” to completing both a series A and series B within a single year. This meant growing from 10 people to 85, doing two rounds of organizational restructuring, and adding layers to fit the increasing size and complexity of the organization.
Following this growth, as Chief People Officer Danielle could see a direct need for formalizing company values and finding reliable ways of working with these in both the recruitment and review process.
The core challenge was to keep on building a strong and sustainable team of people who thrived with the reality of a dispersed and fast-growing startup while getting clear guidance on which initiatives to prioritize along the way to keep retention and satisfaction high.
“Growing pains” from fast-paced changes and organizational restructuring
Lacking accurate data on value match in interviews
In need of a survey tool that employees would actually use
Danielle wanted better data to make more informed decisions. And she knew she needed a tool that would have buy-in from the team.
Their existing tool for surveys and reviews just wasn’t helpful: At best she would get a reply rate of 40% and the questions were far too generic to be engaging to employees.
Before talking to Platypus Danielle wasn’t even aware that she could have access to data on cultural drivers. Using Platypus would be a first: “Our first conversation triggered something like:
“Wow. What other company have I worked for where I actually have data on what is going on with our people, what they’re thinking about, and what is important to them?!”
By targeting surveys to what employees actually care about, she was able to get employee buy-in, and high-quality, actionable data.
The data from Platypus showed Danielle that there was a strong accordance between employees’ cultural drivers and the core values the company had just worked on.
Knowing this, Danielle could run a set of satisfaction surveys asking employees how happy they were with the state of things. Now, she knew what would be a direct priority for her to work on.
Coincidentally, at the same time, gossip had started brewing about a team being dissatisfied with a leadership decision. This landed on Danielle’s table. Instead of having to assume the worst, Danielle could get some accurate perspective: “I went to that question in our satisfaction survey, and literally, two people said that they wanted to see this change. The phone call I got was that an entire team thought that. So we didn’t need to have a fire drill to fix it, we simply had a blanket conversation and a town hall”.
“Platypus helps with the execution of messaging to your team. I see it like this: Why add fuel to a fire? Or why drop everything to put a fire out when maybe it’s not as bad as it seems. The Platypus data really helps me with that.”
An important priority for Danielle was to get data that could support their assessment of a value match in the recruitment process. Statespace is among other things a dispersed team, and people need to be okay with that.
For Danielle, the problem was that you won’t find answers to questions about core, cultural drivers in interviews: “You’re not gonna ask a question that will reveal if leadership is important to this candidate. Or if flexibility is important to them. Especially since you cannot ask certain questions during the interview.”
The Platypus data gives the recruitment team an insight into whether Statespace will be able to meet the priorities that are important to candidates, resulting in a team that is even more aligned than prior to growing.
Surveys with 85% reply rate
Data about employee and candidate drivers you wouldn’t have access to anywhere else
Clear guidance on how to prioritize initiatives
One thing that has made a huge impact on Danielle’s decision to use Platypus was the support she’s received along the way. “I can sit here and say: “It would be really cool if we could export this, or it would be really cool if we could get a notification about that, and then get an email from the team saying: “That’s in queue!”
“That's so important to me because that means that Platypus really cares about giving people the data that they need.”
But just as importantly, Danielle is getting a type of data that she’s never had access to before in her career. She's not relying on conversations or assumptions: "I know what’s important to our team and I have the data I need to continue building the best team".
In Danielle’s opinion, Platypus is an ideal solution for remote or dispersed teams. For Statespace the data from Platypus has been key in identifying if candidates will be thriving in a dispersed organization.
“But really, it would be good for any company that’s not a flat structure. Because the moment you have layers, you have to understand how to manage your people”.