BetterWorks, a cloud platform that helps companies set and manage goals, announced a new feature today that automatically updates goal progress based on information in Salesforce and Workday.
The platform enables employees to set goals in an open fashion so that everyone can understand what others are doing and see how the different pieces fit within the overall goals of the organization. The idea for the company began to take shape when CEO and founder Kris Duggan was working at Badgeville. He realized it was really hard to keep all the employees engaged and focused on the company goals. This observation led him to found BetterWorks.
With BetterWorks, each individual can add goals on a quarterly basis (or whatever time period the company defines), then link these goals to projects, other employees or however they want to organize it.
Duggan says once the goals are out there, everyone can see them, and more importantly, employees can track the progress of their goals instead of waiting until the end of the year to see how they were doing (which really doesn’t make a lot of sense when you think about it).
Up until now, the act of tracking goal progress in BetterWorks has been a manual one. Duggan likened this to recording your steps in Fitbit instead of having it automatically track it for you. People did it, but they were looking for automation to reduce the amount of time it took to maintain the goal setting records.
This week, BetterWork announced it was integrating with Workday and Salesforce to pull data automatically from these services and linking this information to goals an employee has set inside BetterWorks. Tying it to these popular services not only simplifies life for employees, it ensures that executives and HR who are keeping track of employee progress, can get a more complete picture without waiting for employees to enter the data themselves.
BetterWorks also hinted that these two integrations were just a starting point and it intended to build more throughout this year.
The company has only been around since October, 2013. So far it has raised $15.5 million, with the most recent $15 million round coming last fall. Duggan says he partnered with John Doerr, a general partner at KPCB, who is famous for funding Google in the 1990s long before it was a big deal. In fact, he says a lot of the inspiration for the service comes from Google, which has always dealt with goal setting differently from most companies.
Google is open with goal setting, meaning everyone can see everyone’s goals. Many companies are moving to Google’s model and BetterWorks is a way to take that Google goal setting idea and apply it as a cloud service where employees can enter and track goals on a regular basis.
“How do you have people have clarity of purpose and see how what they are doing connects to the big picture,” Duggan asked. “If we are all open about what we are working on, it has a way of driving clarity across the organization.”
Among the companies using BetterWorks are GoPro and NerdWallet, but the goal is Fortune 500 companies. Duggan is bold enough to predict that within five years a majority of Fortune 500 companies will be running his company’s platform. “There is a huge, gigantic whale-size wedge around goal setting and goal platforms,” he said. He believes his company is first to market, and that its timing is perfect because companies are ready for this.
In terms of numbers it’s still early, but BetterWorks has 75 customers and has recorded 65,000 goals and 125,000 check-ins on the platform.
This product makes a lot of sense, but much like enterprise social, it needs to prove there is a reason to use it. If all employees are required to, that’s a huge driver, but if it’s just another program to open, it could face the same fate as enterprise social, a good idea that never really reached its full potential.
This approach to goal setting could be more important for small companies that are growing quickly, maybe even more so than the Fortune 500 companies that BetterWorks is targeting. In fact, every company wants to clearly define goals across the organization to reduce redundant work and help employees understand how their work fits into the organization’s overall mission.