Consulting firm launches employee experience tool
uMap aims to help companies create positive culture that leads to ‘virtual waiting room’ of talent.
A new consulting firm is debuting a software tool it says will help managers shift their thinking to win the war for talent.
Grand Rapids-based Become Unmistakable, a leadership development and business consulting firm at 100 Grandville Ave. SW, is rolling out uMap, the first of a planned series of software-based management tools that will be available for licensing.
Become Unmistakable was founded in May by Mike Novakoski, president and CEO of Holland-based construction firm Elzinga & Volkers; John Parker, vice president of project development at E&V; and Rob Dwortz, former president and CEO of The Bank of Holland.
The partners founded the firm to help leaders learn to use right-brain thinking — which they define in part as creativity, compassion, vulnerability and selflessness — alongside the usual executive skills of analytical, logical and strategic thinking.
Elzinga & Volkers created an offline version of the uMap tool in 2013 to help engage and connect employees via 11-by-17-inch printouts customized to each person. But the designs took several hundred hours for E&V staff to create for all the individuals participating.
The team at Become Unmistakable decided to take the idea and convert it into a more user-friendly software program.
Danielle Bouwhuis was hired in June as implementer, trainer and guide to shepherd the process of transforming the uMap into a digital product the firm’s clients could license.
uMap licensing prices are currently set at $1,000 for 10 licenses, $5,000 for up to 100 licenses and $15,000 for up to 500 licenses.
Once the company buys the license, participating employees can create an account and log into the tool, and then fill out a 45-minute survey on their personal and professional goals.
After users are finished, they can choose whether to make their “map” public — so anyone in the company can view it — or to keep it anonymous so only they and their manager can see it.
The software is designed to capture information that will “improve and personalize every employee’s experience from pre-hire to retire,” the company said.
The uMap — which comes in three templates: left brain, right brain and balanced brain, depending on the goals of the organization — has multiple applications, including recruiting and onboarding, engagement, performance assessment, talent development and community building.
Dwortz said the process is intended to be “light and fun,” while also capturing data about employee values, intrinsic motivations and goals.
The idea is getting those things out in the open will help the employees and the organization get on the same page.
“It’s about aligning the needs and aspirations of the organization with the needs and aspirations of the employees,” Bouwhuis said.
Dwortz said employees can print out their uMap results and hang them in their office to start conversations with clients about values and goals.
He said the uMap tool also helps managers create a “roadmap or playbook” for “managing with connections.”
“We use it as an organization now, and we teach that managers should engage in regular conversations with their employees around personal and professional development and how to focus on the success of the individual as they define it,” Dwortz said.
Dwortz and Bouwhuis said uMap will help organizations build a “virtual employee waiting room” — in which a company’s workplace culture will be communicated by word of mouth and draw in prospective employees.
“The virtual employee waiting room is where we identify a great candidate with no position open for them, we negotiate with them on a salary and compensation package, then they go back to their existing employer. Then they get a phone call when we are ready to hire, and they give their two weeks’ notice in the proper fashion,” Dwortz said.
Dwortz and Bouwhuis said uMap also is designed to help measure employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, improve margins and reduce costs associated with hiring a recruiter.
For an additional fee, organizations can send three to five employees to Become Unmistakable for half- or full-day training.
E&V has licensed the software and is a client, along with a handful of others so far.
Dwortz said uMap was born of knowing there is a better way to create a positive employee experience.
“It comes from a fundamental belief we hold that there is a better workplace environment to be had than many of us have had in our past,” he said. “We believe the key is to engage with the workforce.”