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Social Media links for David!!
Daniella This is the cavnessHR culture podcast and I'm your host, Daniella Young. Our guest today is David Endean. David, are you ready to be great today?
David Yeah, let's do it. Daniela, super excited.
Daniella David is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley working at the intersection of people and technology. Before building an enterprise software platform that helps companies measure employee engagement levels. He built a psychometric evaluation that helps individuals better communicate their humanistic skills. When not engaged in this work. David can be found training for and racing triathlons, including the world-famous Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. David, can you tell me a little bit about something that you're working on right now, that's super exciting to you.
David There are always so many things going on in my head. But I've been in the enterprise software space for about a year now. I've really focused on working with individual companies and helping individual companies figure out how to improve employee engagement levels and culture in their workplace. I'm really excited to try and branch out from that and capture data from a broader spectrum of people. So, transitioning the technology a little bit to move, to reach more people, and identify if we can do some pattern matching to see if things like proximity to public transportation, or highways, or urban centers versus rural centers, large city centers, verse, smaller towns. If any of that has an effect on how employees are engaged at work and how that affects company culture. So, trying to figure out how to recreate the process and how to reach that market.
Daniella That sounds fascinating. I love the focus on using data to help companies understand actual things, tactical tips and things that they can do to move their culture, move their engagement in a certain way. David, we hear a lot about software as a service. Sounds to me like you're providing something that is typically a service. Or a consulting service as a software. So, tell us a little bit more about culture analytics, your company and what that is that you're building?
David The traditional model for consulting says, you bring together a team of so-called experts. They walk into a company and they spend the first few days, few weeks, few months, sometimes just figuring out what the lay of the land is. All that time, they're getting billed at the same rate as when there are actually working on providing and implementing solutions. Then they step away from the company. They step away from the project and leave it to the company for implementation. The idea behind this is it becomes both the precursor and the follow up to traditional service. It says, Let's actually figure out what the problem is and because we're using technology. Because we're using data, because we're using software, the cost drops dramatically. Over the matter of or over the course of two or so months. We can actually figure out what the key areas where a company has some issues where they need to focus. We can figure out where those key areas are. So that when a traditional consultant, whether it's myself or another individual, or even somebody internal to the organization steps in. They can look at the data and they could say we know where the problem is and then they can immediately move into solutions. Not only can they move immediately into solutions. But as they begin to implement it, they can track the progress of it because they can continue using the software. They can continue using the service throughout the entire process. Hopefully, when what you'll end up seeing is they'll end up seeing the trend going up. You could say yes, what we're doing works. Or you can say, hey, maybe this wasn't such a good idea, or we're starting to see things get a little bit faster. So, let's move in and let's like reiterate, let's tweak, maybe we didn't quite get it right. You can start to see this trend line go up and up and up into the right. It's using software to decrease the burden or decrease the timeframe that you need, like a traditional consulting service.
David That sounds like it would be very useful to a lot of companies, especially maybe some of your smaller companies. I love that it is data. So, it'll be potentially a lot more reliable than kind of just the one-off interviews. Obviously, I'm pretty partial to consulting services, because that's what I do. I definitely could see how this could be an amazing tool, right? Where you kind of have your baseline and you know, what you're looking at.
David Well, I think it's a huge value to you as well. I mean, if you are a consultant, then there are two ways to provide quality service. One is you're really ingrained in a company for a long period of time and you're stuck on this one project for a long period of time. But now we're going to step up, step into this, and we're going to use this before we come in and so you can kind of bleed your projects together. While you're consulting with the company, a, you're preparing for Company B. So that by the time you actually need to work with a company B you already have everything you need for everything in place. So, you can actually begin to expand your practice and you can begin to work with more companies through the duration of a year.
Daniella Nice. Yeah, I mean, it sounds obviously like something beneficial. I even think from the consultant perspective, obviously, business owners are always looking for metrics and data and an actual way to show what they're spending money on and how it's worth it. Which I think in the world specifically of sort of corporate culture, consulting, leadership, employee engagement, all of those topics. Until now it's been relatively hard to show the hard numbers, the data. One of the things I wanted to talk to you about is there was a study that Harvard Business Review published. It finally, actually put a number. So since for years, people have been talking about culture and 2014 culture was the word of the year. Everybody's heard it. Everyone's a little cross-eyed by it. I heard Business Review came out and said, okay, we did a 22-year long study, that puts the profit of a strong company culture 756% above a not good culture or culture. Now everyone can see the benefit. Number two, now, how do we build a good culture?
David You're right, the profits and the benefits, not just in terms of profits. But in terms of employee retention, in terms of the well-being of the people at your company, at work and away from work are huge. Your right, I love to see these numbers coming out. I've seen everything from 150% on the low end to this Harvard study. That's looking at 750%. The question then becomes if we can quantify that, it's worth it, then one of the aspects of culture that we can manipulate. That we can measure and manipulate so that it works in our favor. One, I think one of the best, best definitions of culture I've heard is, it's nothing more than the entirety of interactions between a group of employees or the whole of an employee base at a company, So every interaction I have is affecting culture. How in the world? Do I change this? How do I make this better? How do I make this work for me? There's a lot of ways that you can transition that and box it into different categories of interactions. You can measure drivers of those and action. Things like how are we working in meetings? Do we follow an agenda and the agenda is such a simple, practical way of making a meeting more productive. But it has to be created, and it has to be followed. Giving people the task of saying, create this agenda, run this agenda, follow this agenda. At the end, let's recap this meeting. So that people actually know what the heck we just covered the duration of the last hour is a huge way to improve simple communications. If you improve simple communications, you've clarified expectations. If you've clarified expectations, then people now have this Northstar that they can follow. So, they can move forward on a daily basis and get more work done. Getting more work done is literally what results in that 750% increase in profit. Its productivity, because you've taken the time to enjoy, engage with employees and give them what they need, so that they can be productive.
Daniella I don't think we need to too much belabor the point of how amazing data is and how it can solve problems. Because we all know that. But I think that for a long time, people that are kind of spearheading culture or culture change, or any of that are kind of at odds with the business bottom line. The hard part is those people have the data to show we make more money. A lot of times whatever the cultural aspect is the new process. We're going to put in place the new employee engagement experience, it seems like the opposite of making money. I think with your tool, we're going to see a very interesting, now the culture, people are going to be able to have numbers and hard data behind it. Here's why it matters. Here's how it comes right back to your bottom line.
David I hope so. I think and I'd be curious to hear your quick take on it. But how do you think things have shifted from the role of a company as solely churning out profit to the role of the company as a place where employers and individuals can thrive and have an impact on not just the economy, but on a community and how does that change the focus of the company?
Daniella I think that's absolutely changing right now. I think that in my opinion, a big part of that is a generational shift. This is broad generations and how they're different. One of the things that seem to be with millennials these days, in part because of technology. Millennials are considered now the most philanthropic generation that the world has ever seen. There's a lot of focus on, yes, one on building your personal brand, as technology has helped with that. You don't need to stay at this company. If it's not for you, you can move. But there's also a big focus on having a meaning to your life. For the first time, huge amounts of people are willing to take jobs for half of the pay. It's good culture, but more specifically, if it's something that they're doing, where they feel like there's a purpose. David, you and I both know this because we both served in the military. David was an officer in the Coast Guard, I was an officer in the army. That is not something you do because you want to make money. I think that it is starting to shift. It's starting to be, we can all think of large companies that are getting a lot of social criticism right now. Because they are clear that they only care about the bottom line. On the flip side, companies that say, Zappos is of course, a great example, we want this to be a great place to work. Southwest who said, our employees are number one, not our customers, employees are number one. We're going to make this a great place, built one of the most profitable airlines in history. So there are, I think, some very strong examples of what you're saying. I for one, I'm hoping that the shift just continues.
David Yeah, no, I completely agree with you. I think it's really interesting that you bring up our military background as this type of environment where you seek to serve with purpose. I think, interestingly enough, even in an environment like that. If you get the culture wrong and if you don't focus on your people. Even if you have this incredible mission, that has these massive amounts of impact. If you still don't think about your people, you lose them. When I was working in the Coast Guard. I was in charge of coordinating search and rescue. Time and time again, over the couple of years that I did that I would have conversations with people. It was baffling, how often I heard, I'm just in here today to make a paycheck and then I'm going to go home. I'm going to come back the next day. I'll be here to make a paycheck until I can move on to a new unit doing new things. I was like, you guys know what we do, right? Like, every single week, we save an average of 5 to 10 people's lives. That’s pretty big. That's incredible. But what happened is we created this environment in which we were doing nothing more than following checklists and boosting our numbers so that we could get a bigger and better budget. We could reduce the schedule overload and we did it in a way where certain individuals within the office had no upward mobility. Those people were missing managers and leaders who are focused on their individual development, and who were instead focused on improving personal status. That's a dangerous place to be. Even in these incredible organizations with these amazing purposes, you still have to look internally as Southwest does putting their employees first. You still have to look internally and you have to take care of your people. If you take care of your people, your people will take care of your customers. You take care of your customers, your customers will give you money and your profit lines will will soar.
Daniella To your point, David, there's actually a famous story that right after 911, customers were sending hundred dollar checks to Southwest. Because they felt such loyalty and they wanted to make sure Southwest didn't go under. Southwest, of course, didn't cash the checks. I'm so happy to hear another military officer talk about that. It's not just inherent goodness and sometimes, maybe I come off sounding critical. But, the military, there's nothing inherently great about it. As you know, America is so attached to veterans into service into the military, which is awesome. But in fact, we only have to look at some other countries, or even sometimes our own military to see examples of where it's gone really, really wrong. As leaders in any organization, it is inherent on leaders to have to focus on, what is the purpose?
David Absolutely. Reinforcing the reason behind what you're doing every, every product, and every company that exists at some level exists to serve a person. Whether it's a technology company that provides automation for services. The reason that started is that it's designed to create a better lifestyle for people. It's designed to give time back to people. Products are designed to make lives easier for people. So at the end of the day, every company's product service mission is about people. If you can, for your employees, remind them that they are existing to serve another person. That their existing, to make the life of another person better.
Daniella It really comes back to what we were kind of saying earlier. That we're seeing this shift that it's not just your company makes a bunch of money and you do community service on the side. It's that your company is actually solving real pain for real people. That's why you're a company in the first place. So let's sort of surround ourselves with that focus. For any of our listeners, Zappos is just a phenomenal kind of mini case study. Because, I mean, they sell shoes, there isn't anything inherent about that. That is like, oh, we're saving lives, or that seems like an easy rallying cry for building culture around. But you know, Tony Shea, and the people at Zappos have done this amazing job. So, yeah, that's, that's super, super amazing. Another thing, David, we were chatting earlier, and you mentioned, something that I really loved about your software. Which was it not only helps business leaders to catch problems but also to celebrate successes. So talk about that for us for a little bit.
David A lot of services and a lot of data and technologies are problem focused. We say we're here to solve a problem and that's a very good thing. Obviously, if we can minimize the number of problems we have in the workplace, then we're on an upward trajectory. But if you are consistently focused on the negative side of your corporation and consistently displaying this message of improve, improve, improve, get better, get better get better, then you completely miss these opportunities. To celebrate successes and to say, you all are doing an amazing job.
David There's a review process that companies do where they go back, and they say, how did this project go? What can we do or what did we do poorly? What did we do wrong? One of the things I like to say along those is, instead of saying, what did we do wrong? Let's look back and say, what did we do well, and then when you start off the conversation by saying, what did we do well, and putting people in a positive mindset. You then transition, the concept of even better if, and you maintain this level of positive language. But it's done from this much higher level of playing field. Because people inherently want to feel good inside.
Daniella I think it's such a good reminder for business leaders that your employees want to make you happy. Everybody likes to know that they did a good job. Maybe once in a while, you have a problem employee, but in general, everybody's trying to do the best that they can. Just remember, if you're frustrated, it's usually because it wasn't done the way you wanted it to be done. But that those people were trying their best. Well, David, this has been such a great conversation. I feel like the time got away with us. So, what is the best way to connect with you on social media?
David I'm most active, if not only active on LinkedIn. I am not the only David Endean there. But I believe the link to my profile is in the notes section of your podcast. If you click through that, then that's the easiest way to get ahold of me. I'm always open to responding to messages and collaborations and partnerships and ideas. So, anything, anything you have there, reach out and always interested in a conversation.
Daniella The LinkedIn link, and any other links will be available on the show notes for this episode and those show notes are found at www.cavnessHRblog.com. David, what is one last piece of advice that you have to offer our listeners?
David I think we will build off the idea of celebrating successes. I take that into a personal framework and reflect and say, what am I doing really well. We have a tendency to start all our days with what do I have to get done today? I think I challenge you in a personal framework to do something similar at the end of the day, and reflect back and say, what did I get done today? That little almost meditative piece of saying, I accomplished something will rejuvenate you going into your evening when you go home or spend time with friends and family. But it also gives you a tad bit of motivation to come in the next day and continue building on the successes of whatever you've already accomplished. So, reflect and reflect and recognize your own accomplishments.
Daniella That is wonderful advice. I am going to do that tonight. So, thank you so much, David, and thank you to our listeners and remember to be great every day.