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Sydney startup PlanDo wants to shape a new work landscape and empower a new generation of workers

Anne Moore has a fairly impressive resume. CEO. HR leader. Corporate growth strategist. Social scientist specialising in human capital. But more impressive is her belief in positive psychology in the workplace. She has conceptualised a better future of work and is pursuing new market opportunities to make that happen. Moore believes her startup PlanDo will address the changing mindset of tech-savvy employees, their job satisfaction and the impacts of technology.

The workforce is changing. The way we work is changing. And the way we do business is changing. And many attribute these changes to constantly evolving technology landscape. After all, we communicate with colleagues through taps on keyboards, as often (if not more) as we do vocally. Many of us prefer using our own technology because we’re so accustomed to it. But changes in worker behaviour are not just technological; it’s been said that employees today are less loyal, less patient and less committed to jobs, moving on quicker than the baby boomer generation.

Research also shows that 20 percent of Fortune 100 employees are contractors; and by 2020, at least 50 percent of the workforce is estimated to be contingent, resulting in challenges to attract and progress talent for employees and employers.

“The world of work is changing – careers are no longer linear, career paths have collapsed, contingent work on the rise and so is attrition, people want to bring their own technology to work to perform at their best and the psychological contract for work has changed.   We’ll hold many roles across our working life and potentially several careers.  We want to track our progress and keep it with us,” says Moore.

Back in the day there was also a perception that the more time you spend working, the greater your likelihood of success and the greater you deserve success. There’s something wrong with this formula; and Gen-Yers – the so called ‘lazy generation’ – have spotted the problem. It doesn’t actually work that way. Gen Y are all about accomplishing more in less time. The emphasis is on ‘doing less, but doing it extraordinarily well’ – as was argued by successful bloggers like Leo Babauta and Stephen Pavlina.

PlanDo wants to shape a new work landscape, especially in response to almost 60 percent of employees, particularly in small to medium enterprises, having not participated in performance reviews. The app abolishes the belief of the review process being designed to benefit the enterprise rather than the individual, and encourages regular conversations about performance and progress.

The app offers the tools to ensure all employees can be self-sufficient career owners, and equips employees and employers to have constructive career conversations, creating leadership and fostering a positive workplace culture.

“At PlanDo, we want to equip individuals to be self directed in their performance and growth because it’s important to well-being in the increasingly unpredictable world of work.  Self sufficiency and alignment also increases engagement and productivity.  It’s unique because there are no other platforms that offer co-careering in the workplace. It’s disruptive because we are democratising career ownership by offering all the collaborative tools and resources that you would generally find within enterprise to career owners,” says Moore.

In a way the startup is also responding businesses gradually moving away from a time-centric payment paradigm and towards a value-centric one, where how many hours we work or how hard we try will matter less than the value of our work.

PlanDo’s co-founder Alan Burt has assisted in bringing Moore’s vision to life using his technology expertise. Without mentioning any names, Moore told Startup Daily that they didn’t muck around when it came to choosing a development outsourcing partner: “We went with Sydney’s largest, most experienced software house to build our platform because we wanted to avoid trial and error. A clean, elegant UX was important.  Features such as goal setting, mapping skills, sharing were important to us.”

After six months of development, PlanDo can now be used to set create role profiles, performance goals, build development plans, audit skills, build self-awareness about personal strengths and motivators, share activities with others, receive feedback from peers and leaders, upload and store important career documents (like resumes, employment contracts, etc.), and even capture notes and reflections in a personal career journal.

Moore says that although PlanDo is a consumer-focused platform, SMEs can also get value from using the platform. “[We] know that self-directed individuals who ‘co-career’ with their colleagues are going to out perform, out grow and be more engaged.  There’s mutual benefit and value. Organisations want as many self-directed proactive employees as possible,” she adds.

PlanDo’s biggest competitors, according to Moore, are talent management firms that sit on the enterprise side of the fence. She’s fully cognisant of the size of the global talent management and engagement market, valued at approximately $20 billion in 2014 alone, and growing at 17 percent every year.

“We think that talent management systems are a solution to the conventional question of enterprise performance, growth and by default, engagement. Given emerging work trends, we think a better question is how do we equip our people for self-directed performance and growth across their working lives so that they are more engaged and collaborative in the process,” Moore adds.

PlanDo operates on a standard SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) subscription model, charging each user $5 per month when paid annual in advance ($60). Moore says they plan on making the app free for consumers eventually.

The startup has been bootstrapped to date and all its employees are financially invested. PlanDo has now entered its revenue stage, and will be looking to raise external funding to accelerate its growth. According to Moore, several investors locally and globally have expressed interest in supporting the startup from a financial standpoint.

But funding isn’t the biggest challenge for PlanDo. Moore says the biggest challenges have been managing uncertainty that comes as a default with working on a startup, as well as being on top of all aspects of the business and focusing on the end game.

That said, Moore takes pride in having used technology alongside subject matter expertise to offer a platform that empowers the current and emerging generations of workers to take control of their careers.

“We want to make a meaningful and positive contribution to the lives of people we’ll never know and never meet,” says Moore.

For the remainder of 2014, the focus for this startup will be sales and customer acquisition, as well as funding for the next stage of development. By the end of 2015, the plan is to set up global offices in New York and Silicon Valley.





Startup Daily