Rypple, a startup focused on helping employees get feedback, since we first covered it in June of last year. The service has rolled out several new features and closed another round of funding. We caught up with Rypple to find out what's changed, and talked with Rypple customer Rackspace to find out how service works in practice.A lot has changed for
Screenshot of Rypple's "Thanks" feature
When we last covered Rypple, the service had only one feature: "Questions," which allows users to ask questions and get anonymous feedback. Since then, Rypple has added two new features:
Thanks: Thanks was previously known as "Kudos," which is a straight-forward way for any employee to give an appriciative shout-out to any other employee for any reason.
Coaching: Coaching is a feature that allows managers to create agendas for one-on-one meetings or employee evaluations, keep notes on individual staff members, and see an aggregate of feedback an employee has received. It can also be used to track tasks related to one-on-ones and evaluations.
Also, Rypple users can now solicit non-anonymous feedback and award each other special Foursquare-like badges.
Rypple has a another new feature, called "Goals" which it is slowly rolling out to users as well. Goals will work something like a hybrid project management and activity stream system. Users will set goals in Rypple, and then record actions taken towards those goals. Each time an action is recorded, it will appear in the main Rypple feed.
How Well Does It Work?
According to Henry Sauer, director of Rackspace services, Rypple is in use by about 100 of Rackspace's approximately 3,100 employees. It was deployed about six weeks ago to managers from several teams, from customer service to accounting.
Sauer says those managers have been talking to other managers about Rypple, causing more and more managers to ask for Rypple as well. "We didn't want it to to be something HR was forcing on people," says Sauer. "It needed to be organic."
The non-managerial staff using it seem to like it as well. "They get a good vibe from it," Sauer says. "It's very intuitive." Sauer notes the ability to post to Rypple via e-mail as an important feature driving adoption.
A screenshot of an example Coaching section setup
Managers typically have one-on-ones with their staff every week. The coaching feature lets managers and staff work collaboratively to set the agenda of one-on-one meetings and include feedback from other parts of Rypple.
Sauer notes that it's easy roll out small changes since it's SaaS. He's been impressed at the speed at which Rypple has implemented features Rackspace has requested - such as easy reporting of usage within Rypple and the ability to select which thanks, actions, and notes are public.
The only problem Sauer mentioned is that Rackspace had some trouble getting accounts with e-mail addresses other than rackspace.com to work properly. Some some staff have addresses from other domains, as a result of acquisitions. Sauer says that hasn't caused too much trouble, though.
As of now, Rypple doesn't integrate with Active Directory or other access control systems but, according Rypple Head of Marketing Jay Goldman, it's something the company is working on.
Rypple vs. Microblogging
Sauer says Rackspace choose Rypple, instead of a general purpose microblogging client like Yammer or Chatter, because it was built for this sort of employee feedback.
Goldman says that although Rypple feeds can be seen as a form of microblogging, Rypple doesn't really compete with microblog services. "We believe the open-ended status update style of collaboration is social for the sake of being social," he says. "Everything in the Rypple feed is an artifact of actual work completed, including thanks for jobs well done, actions for upcoming tasks, and goals for organization and structure."