Technically HR: Employee survey platform Perceptyx acquires Humu’s ’nudge’ tech

Perceptyx plans to incorporate Humu’s “nudge” library to help close the “gap between insight to action.”
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

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Employee listening platform Perceptyx acquired tech company Humu, according to an announcement last week.

Perceptyx’s software captures employee insights and helps clients identify next steps to address employee experience goals based on feedback, but its CEO, John Borland, said he expects the new acquisition will help the company leverage “nudge theory” to help clients make bigger impacts through smaller behavioral changes.

Co-founded by former Google SVP of people Laszlo Bock, Humu’s “nudge” library helps companies influence positive behavior change by sending managers and employees notifications via Teams, Slack, or email based on a theory in behavioral science.

“What Humu developed over the last six or so years is a very robust database of nearly 2,000 nudges that are all tied up to about 96 different key behaviors,” Borland said. “Oftentimes, the CHRO or the senior leader would determine what are the behaviors that they feel like have the best opportunity or the biggest need to be nudged on, and so they would trigger those at the very top level.”

With the acquisition, Perceptyx plans to leverage its listening and sentiment gathering capabilities to inform HR leaders of the nudge campaigns that could best impact the employee experience.

“Historically, what we would do is we would give that manager...our recommendation of what you really need to focus on,” Borland said. “We give them some ideas and some resources, and then we largely leave them on their own to go execute against that.”

Perceptyx will integrate Humu’s extensive library of behavior nudges into its platform, allowing organizations to deliver personalized nudges to both leaders and employees.

If a listening campaign suggested that employees are afraid to contribute, for example, a resulting Humu nudge campaign might send a Slack message ahead of a meeting informing staff that behavior science indicates that speaking up at the beginning of a meeting produces a better outcome than holding thoughts until the end. It might simultaneously email a manager suggesting that 10 minutes are set aside to brainstorm fresh ideas before hopping into the planned agenda.

Zoom out. HR leaders and top brass know that engagement and the employee experience is crucial for positive business outcomes, but lessons from employee surveying and sentiment gathering often only result in one or two programs to pilot and assess.

Perceptyx is betting that real-time nudge campaigns, informed by employee listening, can produce small workplace changes that have big impacts for the organization, and do so along a regular cadence.

“Because we’re constantly measuring and listening, we can see the impact of those nudges and if they are working, we can double down. If they’re not working, we can pivot and shift,” Borland said. “So, we have a true closed-loop process. That’s kind of the gap between insight to action.”

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