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By Bill Rojas, SAP Digital

How many apps does it take to change an organization’s entire corporate culture? One!

In all seriousness, it’s true: Flashbrand is a new native mobile or Web-based app that’s poised to revolutionize feedback and culture in the workplace – and by so doing, create a means of changing the way organizations, managers, and employees relate to one another. And if the commitment starts at the top, said its creator Denis Descause, Flashbrand can help to completely redefine organizational dynamics and develop a growth mindset.

Millennials rule – and want feedback fast

Why change? Well, if you’ve been paying any attention to the impact of a new generation on employment practices, you already know that millennials tend to have very different expectations for feedback on their performance. Fail to meet those expectations, and be prepared for a lot of employee turnover and very low employee engagement. Organizations – and their HR departments – are feeling the pain, and that’s one problem Flashbrand’s customers are trying to overcome. “These younger people do not have the patience for an annual performance review. They are not interested in waiting weeks to get feedback from their managers,” Denis told me. Keep in mind that millennials currently comprise 50% of the U.S. workforce – rising to 75% within the next 8 years – and 99% of them say that feedback is important to them, according to a study by PwC. They don’t want managers, but leaders who inspire them, coach them, and help them grow.

Flashbrand puts a simple app for instant feedback in the hands of employees themselves and gives them the power to manage their personal development. They can use it to request feedback not only from their managers, but from coworkers, project team members, customers, partners, or anyone else they think might offer worthwhile input. “Employees want more than praise; they want constructive criticism. They also want to improve continuously, to learn and grow, and to build their personal brand,” Denis said.

Encourage career development

As for continuous learning and development, Flashbrand completely changes the way employees – and organizations – are approaching it today. Only about 19% of employees use e-learning when it’s pushed out from the organization, Denis explained; it’s rarely at the right time or place, and employees don’t know where to start. With Flashbrand, employees instead have their own personal development platform that lets them consume recommended, relevant e-learning content when and where they need it, and learn on the fly. 

A way to hear their voices – now

They also want a way to communicate themselves, and to offer their thoughts and opinions about their experience. And that information, unsolicited by the organization on topics of importance to employees, is far more valuable than HR surveys asking questions that may be irrelevant. With Flashbrand, employees can easily provide real-time, in-the-moment communication, anonymous or authored, that the organization can actually put to use. Flashbrand essentially replaces employee surveys with constant listening, and uses the SAP HANA platform for deep analytics, including text and sentiments analysis, to detect issues in real time and track trends over time.

And take advantage of a real-time analytics HR tool

With a completely configurable set of skills or criteria, and rich and dynamic analytics for individuals, managers, and HR, Flashbrand is ideal for small, midsize, and large companies looking to accelerate development of talent and leadership, and ignite a love of learning.

How the lightbulb came on

I asked Denis to tell me how he came up with the concept for Flashbrand, which has just become available on SAPStore.com. Not surprisingly, as an employee and a manager himself at a number of large companies, he had begun to observe the radical changes in the workplace. About three years ago, he had the opportunity to participate in an HR initiative. “The idea was to recognize that a company’s brand is represented in large part by its employees. So let’s help employees manage and improve their own personal brand.”

That’s when the light of inspiration flashed. “It was clear to me that traditional HR tools are broken,” he said, “and that there was a real need in the marketplace for something focused on people and on development to replace them.”

Since he and his team officially launched Flashbrand at an HR event last spring, the uptake has been remarkable. Marketing budget is limited, but people have been finding it through word of mouth, Internet searches, and the like. Already, Flashbrand customers include brand names in banking, consumer packaged goods, and electronics, companies both small and large. And Manpower Group recognized Flashbrand this year with its Best HR Startup Award.

Discovering the SAP Store online marketplace

Denis learned about SAP Digital last spring, and discovered in SAP Store an innovative new channel for Flashbrand – with a lot of synergies between the SAP customer base and its target market. SAP Store is our online marketplace where you can buy software, education, and data from SAP and third parties with a simple click-through process. “It’s a different SAP,” Denis remarked, “very exciting, fast, and agile.”

Building and marketing Flashbrand has been a rewarding experience, he went on. “What Flashbrand does is create discussions that just weren’t happening before. In fact, according to a report by Zenger/Folkman, continuous feedback makes a big impact. In organizations that have embraced this approach, managers are becoming part of the top 15% most effective leaders, and employees are becoming part of the top 10% most engaged employees. Flashbrand helps people get better and more engaged, and that makes me happy.”

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