I want to start this announcement with a confession.
I have been an engineer, a product manager, a salesperson and an entrepreneur in my career. In every single one of these roles, I have always found myself getting stuck with fundamental things like finding the right information, staying up to date with process changes and being forced to use too many tools to get things done. At some point, I stopped submitting my bills for reimbursements, and refused to raise tickets for simple things. This resulted in me getting asked to not act like a rebel, especially when I was the co-founder of a company, or playing an executive role 🙂
It was clear that everybody was frustrated – employees who didn’t know what to do and the service teams struggling to keep up without context. One of my friends and a veteran HR leader once joked that as a company, we built high tech for our customers while deploying archaic solutions for employees. This remained with me for a while, along with a niggling question: why isn’t more innovation happening for back office needs? They are just as important as customer needs, if not more, in today’s hybrid workplace.
I have heard similar stories from friends, colleagues, and leaders about their companies being taken over by mundane processes. There’s something different about everybody’s take, but the experience is much the same everywhere. Of course, none of these companies wanted employee experience to be this way. Most cared enough about this to try different solutions and hired dedicated teams to make things better.
Yet, they all ended up more or less in the same place. Why?
The messy world of employee experience
I saw three patterns emerging as I spent more time with this problem.
- Growing companies are drowning in operational complexity every day.
- Popular employee solutions are designed for processes over people.
- Businesses start with customer experience (CX) without solving for employee experience (EX).
This translates into a frustrating and overwhelming experience for the employees as their company grows into hundreds and thousands of people. It’s not funny how much time they spend outside of their jobs on seemingly simple things.
Earlier this year, when I spoke to my friends Kiran and Parsuram about this challenge, we discovered a shared passion for redefining employee experience. As entrepreneurs trying to decide what next, the opportunity was clear and the problem, important.
After several months of speaking to leaders from different companies, we are unveiling our vision today.
We want to connect the gaps between your employees, your operations teams, and all the tools you use at the workplace. We want to ensure your employees can enjoy their work and we are excited to begin building on this vision. Here’s how we’re planning to do it.
- Employee service concierge: making it easy for every employee to find answers, raise requests, and get approvals quickly and asynchronously.
- Invisible tools and processes: adding a much-needed layer of simplicity between employees, all of their tools and the processes they can’t remember.
- Seamless interactions and workflows: enabling operations teams to provide services without dealing with unnecessary overhead.
- Networked information for everyone: consolidating all of the siloed information across employee tools and getting them to work with each other.
- An employee-first platform: empowering employee-first companies to live up to the culture codes and values they have on their walls.
Our name is partly inspired by Atomic Habits, James Clear’s bestselling book about how tiny changes to your habits can completely change your life. I would also like to thank Dheeraj Pandey (co-founder of DevRev and former CEO of Nutanix) for validating the purpose behind our name and helping us double down on it. We believe it’s time for companies to adopt an atomic work culture, and our products can play an important part in making it happen.
As for our logo, it has three hearts coming together like puzzle pieces to form the letters “AW”. It represents empathy and integration, two values that we think are key to our vision and any company’s success.
Where are we today, and what’s next?
This is the beginning of our journey, and like all new startups, we have big dreams. We are laying the foundations by talking to leaders and refining our vision.
Meanwhile, we’re setting up offices in San Francisco, Bengaluru, and Singapore and putting together a purpose-driven team to deliver employee delight at modern workplaces. We can’t wait to tell you more in the coming months.