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d-fine is a European consulting firm with scientifically minded employees that provides innovative and future-proof solutions through sustainable technological implementation.

Their Deputy Head of HR, Anne Zaman, had already used Feature Upvote boards to give feature requests and feedback to their recruitment software providers, d.vinci. Since Anne was already familiar with how the boards work, she recognised the potential for Feature Upvote to improve their feedback process for employees and decided to road test it at d-fine. Over to Anne…

Most employee feedback was collected only once each year

Before introducing Feature Upvote, we would ask employees for their suggestions on all types of things – processes, policies etc. – at their annual interviews. Our employees would have a chat with their manager each year, and their suggestions were documented in an Excel sheet for each employee.

The problem was that it wasn’t very transparent, and the employees didn’t know whether other employees were concerned about the same things.

It was quite complicated to get the information out of each individual Excel sheet. Plus we weren’t easily able to give our employees detailed feedback on their suggestions. This caused problems at our end and for the employees. We weren’t happy that it was so difficult to provide feedback, and our colleagues weren’t happy that they weren’t always getting a response, or weren’t clear on the outcome. We captured the most popular suggestions in a report, but minor issues, especially, could not all be commented on individually.

And, of course, with annual reviews running from July to September, we were only collecting this feedback once each year. So we would have to deal with a large number of suggestions in one go. Plus, if an employee had an idea in January, but then they didn’t have their interview until August, then they might have forgotten that idea, or not be with us anymore, and we’d miss out on that suggestion.

That’s why I was keen to start trialling Feature Upvote.

From trial to full implementation with 1000+ employees

We started small during the trial period and rolled it out to about 150 employees. At that point, we had two boards and two internal teams working on the boards and responding to the suggestions.

So our trial users made suggestions, voted on people’s suggestions and received the emails with feedback. After a certain point, we asked our trial users what they thought of the new system, and the feedback was positive, so we decided to implement the boards for the entire company.

Making a success of it was all about communication and letting people know the purpose of what we were doing, and how it would benefit everyone. Also, by taking the opportunity to give suggestions out of our annual interview process, this became the only way for our colleagues to provide that kind of feedback. So that encouraged people to use the boards. And they really do use them!

Six boards to “elevate” ideas and suggestions

Now, with Feature Upvote, we have a continuous process, with six boards for different topics. We call each board an elevator, so we have the HR Elevator, the Event Elevator, the Office Management Elevator, the IT Elevator, the Staffing Elevator and the Controlling & Travel Expense Elevator.

People make all kinds of suggestions – on the events board they might suggest having face-to-face events or ideas for different remote events. The HR board might get suggestions for training or for a job bicycle.

When a suggestion is made, people vote on them, so they get ranked higher or lower. And then, as an admin or moderator, you can change the status of suggestions as they get dealt with, give them tags, and use the filter functions. Employees can also use the filter functions to search for topics that interest them. It works really well.

No surprises! We expected our colleagues to use it – and they do

When we introduced Feature Upvote, I expected our colleagues to like it and to use it, and they do!

That was my expectation because I’ve used Feature Upvote myself, so I knew it from a user perspective, and it’s really easy to use. The search functionalities work very well – I have no complaints about anything.

From my perspective in HR, I think lots of companies could benefit from using it in this way, because one of the main issues with employee suggestions is that people make suggestions and then they don’t get any feedback. So it puts them off from making more suggestions.

When you have this transparent system, each suggestion has a different status and can be commented on from all sides, so it’s easy for us to handle the suggestions, and it’s easy for employees to see what’s happening with their suggestions.

Robust data protection and support

We had some concerns about data protection – which is a consideration any time we use an external system. It was important to us that our data was protected to European standards. But this is important to Feature Upvote too, and it all was taken care of with the contracts between d-fine and Feature Upvote.

As an HR department, good support is really important to us too. What we’ve found is that any issues that come up get resolved really quickly. The team at Feature Upvote has been open-minded about the suggestions we’ve made and implemented some changes already for us. We’re really happy.

Final word from d-fine

Our employees like the transparency in this feedback method. We have more open communication, and when a colleague says they don’t like something, I can suggest they add a corresponding suggestion for improvement to one of the boards, so we can see what others think. It gives us an awesome space to really evaluate a suggestion. And it means we’re not just implementing something because one person wants it. We get to see how many votes something gets.

We discuss our top five or ten suggestions in our decision board meetings, depending on how active the board is, and we review those on a regular basis. Sometimes we’re already working on something that might affect a suggestion, so we’ll leave it to see if our actions have a positive impact. And for the ones that are easy to implement, we’ll take action quickly.

It works really well, and I don’t know of any other solutions that will work like this or have the impact this has had for us. It’s a very cool tool that I’m sure would be beneficial in lots of companies.

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