Vetter the Online Suggestion Box Ensures Employees are Heard [Interview]

vetter interview

A major cause for disruption in employee happiness tends to be caused by a lack of communication between management and employees, and workers feeling as though they are disengaged and uninvolved in the way the company is run. To help companies of all sizes ensure employees' voices are heard, Vetter has designed an online suggestion box.

The online application allows employees to submit their ideas. Others within the company can then login and rate and comment on submissions (which show up as anonymous during this process). Anything with a rating of two stars or higher is vetted. Management can then sort through vetted ideas and get a better understanding of what changes employees might want to make. Employers can also use Vetter to launch Idea Challenges, which alerts employees when the company is seeking out a creative solution to a specific problem.

Co-founder of Vetter Duncan Murtagh, spoke to us about how the online suggestion box can contribute to the overall productivity of a company, and he even shared some of his own productivity secrets. 

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1. What was the inspiration behind Vetter?

The idea for Vetter arrived when Steven (co-founder) and I were working at a bank in Taiwan in 2011. This was where they first encountered the frustration of their ideas not being heard by management and not knowing if innovative ideas were even welcome. We knew suggestion boxes existed, but they were becoming less and less visible and were often referred to as the black hole, as nothing ever came out of them. We looked around for a solution online but found nothing. So we decided to enter Taipei Startup Weekend and took 2nd place and pushed on from there.

2. How can Vetter help to change an existing office culture and retain high-performing employees?

Vetter’s introduction can have an instant impact as it, or a similar tool, immediately communicates “management want your ideas and look what we’ve invested in to help with that”. It’s a concrete sign that ideas are welcome and management now want to make the culture more open.

Unfortunately I haven't got any exact data-points but a Gallup study found that compared to the bottom 25% of companies, the top 25% of companies (in terms of employee engagement) had: 65% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations) not to mention 37% lower absenteeism and 22% higher profitability. So the higher employee engagement that a tool like Vetter would bring can have a major impact.

3. TigerAir began using Vetter because a large majority of their workers do not work in a traditional office, and the rest are scattered through four offices. With so many companies offering flexible working, how can TigerAir and other companies like it use Vetter to increase employee engagement and the overall productivity of a remote workforce?

A web-based service like Vetter is always available to employees, no matter where they are based. These types of ‘available anywhere’ web-based tools are becoming more and more widespread. It’s essential for TigerAir to have something that’s available anywhere, as obviously, their staff are literally flying all over the place.

[Tweet ""Every day, make to-do list on small piece of card. If it’s a small card, you are forced to only list the 4-5 things you really need to, and can, get done.""]

4. What are your favorite productivity tips that help you make the most of your day?

Every day, make to-do list on small piece of card. If it’s a small card, you are forced to only list the 4-5 things you really need to, and can, get done. You place checkboxes beside each task and check it off as you do them.

[Tweet ""Unhappiness among workers in America is costing a shocking $300 billion per year in lost productivity, the Gallup-Healthways estimates.""]

5. What factors lead to employees working more productively?

I think there are lots of different factors:
1) Happiness levels - are employees happy enough that they want to work productively? They have to be reasonably happy to do their best every day, I've seen this with the teams I have managed, but if anyone doubts this opinion, Gallup have come up with a typically huge number for the cost of unhappiness: "Unhappiness among workers in America is costing a shocking $300 billion per year in lost productivity, the Gallup-Healthways estimates;"
 2) Engaged with their work - if they aren't engaged and just don't care, they'll never seek out any ways to be more productive. Disengaged employees will do what is needed, in the way they've always done it and no more.;
3) Give employees access to the tools to be productive too, so I.T. shouldn't block half the internet, thus preventing employees from accessing productivity boosting tools like www.focusatwill.com (which I use for hours a day).