A decade ago, it was reported that 70% percent of employees were avoiding a conversation with their managers, colleagues, direct reports, or HR teams. At Bravely, they call this the Conversation Gap––and they decided to partner with a research firm to look into whether it had widened or narrowed in the years since.
What they found? Despite the increased emphasis on workplace culture and the billions of dollars that have poured into HR departments and initiatives, the number of employees avoiding tough conversation hasn’t budged. And what’s more, the fear of speaking up doesn’t discriminate: regardless of title, tenure, company size, identity, or industry, people are avoiding conversations about, well, everything.
- Conversations are failing at a higher rate at large companies
- Managers struggle to speak up at the same rate as their direct reports, causing ripple effects downstream
- LGBTQ+ employees fear retribution more than others
Meet Toby Hervey and Sarah Sheehan, co-founders of Bravely, a platform that connects employees with professional coaches for confidential conversations in the moments they need them most. At Bravely, they say, they’re on a mission to democratize coaching.
The idea was born out of a phone call that Toby received from a friend who was struggling with her manager and threatening to quit. After trying (unsuccessfully) to give his friend unbiased advice, he decided to connect her with Sarah––a former colleague and friend whose career experience started in Human Resources.
Sarah’s objective guidance helped Toby’s friend shift her perspective, approach her manager, and work through her issues. And for Toby and Sarah, the experience struck a chord.
Having spent years building a platform for on-demand urgent care, Toby couldn’t help but think that employees would benefit from a similar approach in moments of need at work. And Sarah, who had moved from HR into a sales role at a fast-growing tech company, knew first-hand that when people were distracted by workplace conflict, it was impossible to do good work (and bad for the bottom line).
Beyond that, though, they asked themselves what it might look like to provide people with expert guidance in the moments they needed it most. They started Bravely to solve the problem of democratizing employee coaching and expanding access to professional resources and support that had traditionally been reserved for executives and “high potential” employees?
Today, Bravely supports employees at companies across all industries like Zillow Group, Evernote, and a fast-casual food chain––giving them an outlet to discuss everything from coworker conflict to performance-related stress, and the tools they need to go forward with confidence. Additionally, they provide HR teams with aggregated and de-identified insights that they can use to develop programs and policies within their organizations.
Are you interested in learning more about Bravely’s research and how the Conversation Gap impacts employees? They’ve shared a link to their expanded research which you can download here.
For more information about Bravely or to get in touch with Toby and Sarah, please contact them here.