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Praxent helps customers grow through custom software and uses Mentimeter to help grow their own business. Director of Operations, Chris Walker gave us insight into how Mentimeter helps Praxent.
At Praxent, employee feedback is considered an invaluable resource for company culture. The organization feels their ability to successfully help clients profit from the custom software they design and develop is tied directly to their strengths in discussing, as a team, where they can improve.
One major venue to collect this feedback is in their quarterly “lookbacks.” As a company, they take at least half a day every quarter to bring everyone in one room and reflect on the wins and lessons learned from the previous months. Innumerable process and team improvements emerge from these conversations, ranging from the small (ex. the type of coffee in the office) to the game-changing (ex. the way they structure client agreements). In short, their quarterly reviews are incredibly important to the growth and development of the company.
Praxent considers itself a freedom-centered workplace that relies heavily on employee-led initiatives to improve the company and the culture. Thus, gathering constructive feedback is a critical factor. Ensuring every team member feels heard and respected is also crucial for company improvement.
Whilst Praxent had these values and processes in place, they needed a tool to help them achieve what they wanted in these important review sessions. With Mentimeter, Praxent have managed to improve their ability to gather and take action on what matters most to their team.
This case looks at the pain points Praxent faced and the solutions Mentimeter provided to overcome these challenges.
Hyperbolic Feedback: All too often, team retrospectives can lean toward hyperbole. It can take the form of overly-celebrating what’s going well, while underplaying, or outright ignoring, what’s not going well. Just as easily, a risk with discussing what’s ‘not going well’ as a team is that groupthink can sometimes focus discussions on problems rather than solutions.
Squeaky Wheels Rather than Group Feels: Another big risk with group feedback is that well-intentioned team members might dominate the discussion, overly-focusing on matters that might be better addressed in another venue.
Too Big and Too Small: Even with expert facilitators, Praxent routinely struggled with facilitating conversations toward the right size of problem. Ensuring every voice is heard in these group talks means relatively minor issues (ex. how an individual tracks her time) were conflated with more critical matters (ex. the need for a professional development program), creating a bias toward inaction and frustration.
Incorporating Mentimeter surveys has greatly improved Praxent’s ability to solicit and take action on company feedback with almost no effort at all.
In these lookback meetings, Praxent asked a series of questions aimed at gathering feedback, typically following this structure:
1. Mentimeter presentation (2 minutes) Post a question and allow team members time to respond with their phones;
2. Discuss individual responses in small groups (5 minutes) Before revealing the Mentimeter results, team members have the opportunity to reflect and draw broader conclusions;
3. Review Mentimeter results as a team (1 minute) Now that themes have emerged in small groups, we reveal a Flowing-grid display of all responses on a large screen;
4. Discuss Thoughts and Concerns (10 minutes) Because individuals and small groups have reflected, broader themes or even disagreements can be spurred by what the company-wide results reveal;
Feel of the Team: Reviewing the Flowing-grid of responses means that the important themes can naturally emerge without unintentionally giving one individual’s opinions an outsized (or undersized) venue.
Everyone Feels Heard: Because all comments are anonymously captured and all comments are displayed, earnest and even difficult feedback can be discussed without requiring an unfair amount of courage from team members.
Bias Toward Action: By strategically incorporating Mentimeter into individual, small group, and company-wide venues, these surveys are used as a tool toward suggesting improvements rather than dwelling on the problems. By the time the company had reviewed this board, they felt primed as a group toward addressing concerns rather than brood in them.
For Praxent, Mentimeter surveys are a huge asset in the team’s communication, informing decisions and discussions great and small. The relatively easy set-up and seamless presentation-views allow for quick and actionable feedback that actively inform decisions of all types and sizes.