We’re beaming about what our new brand means for you

December 15, 2021

Show me a company with few policy violations, mostly on-time deliveries, and miraculously low turnover, and I’ll show you a company with a strong, positive culture. 

Positive culture is often obvious in its effects. You see it in people’s behavior. Though, it remains difficult to measure, especially when it begins to degrade. While it’s positive, it serves as a connective tissue that binds, excites, and inspires. But if it starts to slip into negativity, the magic fades, the bonds loosen, and finally, when it’s gotten really bad, you can see those effects in people’s behavior too. 

But how does a manager or leader guide things before they get bad? How can they know what their people need before the effects are felt? Well, that’s the challenge. That’s information workers tend to not share, and it does not filter up.

Culture is crucial. It’s also a seemingly impossible puzzle. That’s why I’m so thrilled to announce ListenUp. In this article, I share how we’re encouraging companies to improve culture using data.

Our name, “ListenUp,” is a double message

Our new name marks the culmination of an important journey of realization. Through our research, we’ve learned that “good culture” is something you can only ever amplify. You can’t invent it. You cannot transplant it. You can’t purchase it. It can only be discovered and nurtured

But to know how to nurture culture, and where to nudge, you need data. Because the people who have the greatest power to shift it—leaders—are, by virtue of their position on the hierarchy, unaware. 

Cultural commentary is something that circulates freely among workers, but only rarely filters up to management. To quote countless interviewees in our research, “Everybody knows.” That is, every employee knows when culture is toxic. Everyone knows when a culture is in trouble. But they can’t share candidly. No matter how true their feedback, nobody wants to relate bad news to their boss—they might fear reprisal or simply not want to be seen as the problem. That creates a sort of cultural ozone layer which traps all the ambient hostility and negative action within the lower levels. Outside looking in, management sees fraternity and joy when the reality is anything but.

ListenUp helps address that lack of awareness. It pierces the bubble of unspeakable topics and allows both parties—workers and leaders—to hear each other out, often for the first time. It captures all that unvoiced feedback from across departments and roles and packages it into recommendations people can act on. 

Unlike other culture software though, ListenUp is not a listening tool. It’s not for surveillance. It’s a conversation tool, and it works both ways. Hence, the name has a double meaning. 

For leaders and managers, “ListenUp” is a wakeup call. It’s saying, “Hey, it’s time to listen to your people. There’s something they’re trying to tell you and if you miss it, it’ll cost you.” 

At the same time, it’s a promise to employees: “This is a way to ensure those up top listen.” 

Yet the name isn’t all serious. The “Up” part also connotes curiosity, openness, foresight, and a thriving culture where people feel celebrated, yet challenged, and never forced to make compromising choices. As in, “It’s only up from here.”

When ListenUp quantifies a company’s culture into disputable and discussable data, everyone knows where their department stands—and what it needs to do.We chose the name ListenUp for a variety of reasons.

We chose the name ListenUp for a variety of reasons.

Those conversations about how to adjust the culture can go well, but they can also go poorly, and we don’t want to paint an overly positive picture. ListenUp is positive, but it’s not unaware—we see what’s happening. The brand is designed to address tough, dark, or negative topics too. But if we have to choose our view of the world, it’s one of irrepressible optimism. We see the best in people, even when they aren’t being their best, and value candid arguments if they expedite the resolution. (Did you know 3 in 4 arguments lead to a positive outcome?)

Our color and fonts play on that sense of optimism and feedback fearlessness. We’ve named each color after a phase in the celestial cycles because just as the planets go through phases, so do people and cultures; and just as night always follows day, resolution follows conflict.

What you may notice first about ListenUp is that it’s somewhat playful, with bright colors and organic strokes. We use illustrations sparingly, so everyone can see themselves in us, but also use high-contrast, black and white photography to depict all facets of our users and their emotions. There is human connection in every one of our images. And our icon, which we’ve named Beam, reflects the feeling we want people to feel when our job is done well.

What does it all add up to? An exciting new personality in this space poised to help companies measure and address their underlying culture factors, and create more positivity. 

Daybreak for a new era of culture data

Companies rarely know how good their good cultures are, or how bad their bad cultures are, or where they exist along that spectrum. We aim to change that. With a platform to help capture unvoiced feedback and frustration, we help organizations get as close to the source of truth as possible—their people—to show where they stand.

Because, it’s only when you know where you stand with people around you that you know how to behave. It’s the same with culture. ListenUp offers insight. But leaders are the ones that have to act. We hope more of them take those actions after looking at the data.