The idea for Arnold the conversational robot was born in 2017 on the basis extensive research, in which we set out to discover what HR managers and directors of organizations are most concerned about. The area of employee surveys, which we remembered from our professional lives as boring, complex and often unnecessary, soon began to stand out in the research. The area of employee surveys was therefore an ideal choice for new ideas and a fresh, innovative approach.
We wanted to change all that. We wanted to create a tool that employees would engage with and love because it is tailored just for them.
Arnold is sometimes introduced by our clients as a new colleague – a robot the employees meet up with from time to time and have a quick chat about a specific topic. He focuses briefly and intensely on one topic and does not try to cover several topics imperfectly once or twice a year. The schedule of conversations can be set by each company, but most often Arnold has a chat with people once or twice a month..
Arnold’s reporting represents a huge change from traditional surveys. Arnold sends a clear, easy-to-understand report about each topic, which each manager receives separately for their team or other organizational unit. So they have tailored feedback in his hands, which they can translate into action almost immediately and respond flexibly to their team’s needs or frustrations. But Arnold doesn’t forget about the HR department or the top management of the organization, who have different information needs and to whom he sends a report with the results of the entire organization or higher organizational units. Reports are sent out immediately after data collection, there’s no need to wait for them.
The integration of all the above pillars has created a meaningful tool that has a real impact on the company and is not just a necessary evil or a task to be ticked-off in the calendar. It’s a tool that maintains agility, can be completely tailored to the needs of the company (e.g. custom conversations), but also provides advanced functionality such as sophisticated reporting, employee management, topics, smart anonymous mode and language mutations.
Arnold gets structured feedback from employees through short but regular conversations on a specific topic. People receive invitations to chat from Arnold by either email or text message, and then chat with him in a web browser. Reports are created by Arnold for individual team managers and the HR department as soon as employees start responding. Then they just complete the survey and the final results are available immediately.
Arnold has about 35 different topics ready and tested in practice that you can start using immediately in your organization. Amongst them you’ll find Satisfaction, Constructive Feedback, Autonomy, Working from Home, Work Environment, and many more.
The individual topics are written to take no longer than 5 minutes and to be fun for the employees to complete. They are written like a real, natural conversation – Arnold asks various questions in a human, friendly and understandable way, and at the same time responds to the employees’ answers – either by simply thanking them or by branching the conversation based on previous answers – so each employee has their own conversation based on how they answered in a given situation. The questions are varied – with scalable answers, room for clarification, commentary, and thus offer enough space to express oneself openly on the topic.
Arnold includes a module in which you can either customize an existing conversation in the graphical editor to fit your organization (e.g., set the level of formality, add a question, add answer options, etc.) or write a conversation that is completely your own. For example, you can inform employees about a new process or situation in the organization, or address specific topics such as workplace safety. Arnold’s colleagues in Customer Success are happy to help you take your first steps in creating your own conversation.
One thing that greatly increases the relevance of Arnold’s output is the smart anonymous mode. By default, each user can choose whether to reply anonymously or using their own name. So they express their opinions and beliefs openly, but switching to anonymous mode protects them if they want to confide anonymously for any reason.
Each survey is usually closed after a week and Arnold uses the data collected from the employees to create an individual report for each team leader separately according to the organizational unit they lead. So managers can see their part of the organizational structure (if they lead several teams, they can see all of them), management can see the whole of it, and basically can immediately spot problem areas and start helping where necessary.