15Five cloud employee feedback service gets funding boost

Investors include Yammer's David Sacks

According to multiple reports, 15Five, a service that lets employees enter weekly feedback reports and share them with management, got a million dollar boost this week from multiple investors including Yammer's David Sacks and former Mashable editor Ben Parr.

The service claims that users can enter weekly reports in under 15 minutes and managers can read them in less then five, hence the name (get it, 15Five, clever). The idea of the service, according to VentureBeat, is to give managers and executives a clear idea of what's happening with employees and presumably find what works, what doesn't and attack problems before they fester.

The company outlines its philosophy clearly on the website when it says, "We believe that communication and accountability are the backbone of any thriving organization, and simple weekly reporting is an effective way to drive both."

While the goal sounds worthy enough, and they appear to be completely sincere in their approach to foster better communication, I find it hard to believe that busy employees are going to take the time to write these reports unless there is a serious problem they want to share, or management demands it. As for management reading them, if you have 30 people reporting to you, that's going to take almost an hour and a half to read--a fair chunk of time for a busy manager. And it's even more difficult for CEOs, although judging from what I can see on the website, they appear to have an executive summary type of report that a busy executive can review fairly quickly.

A look at the customer list on the website shows it's mostly smaller companies, like Taskrabbit and Mahalo (whose founder Jason Calacanis is also an investor), who are using the service. Red Hat is probably the biggest and most well-known company. The enterprise Linux company boasts 5,300 employees (as of November 2012). 

I expect if there is demand for this type of explicit feedback service, you will start to see enterprise social companies adding this functionality in the near future--or simply buying 15Five--and perhaps that explains Sacks' interest in the company.

For more information:
- see the VentureBeat article

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