While the national conversation is forcing companies to review HR processes to suppress sexual harassment and bias reports, technology startups are looking for a way to smooth the process and promote communication.
LA-based AllVoices is building an encrypted office communications platform that employees can use to anonymously send complaints to their HR department to track and trace cases on a user-friendly dashboard. CEO Claire Schmidt tells TechCrunch that their company has just completed a $ 3 million launch round with funding from Crosscut, Greycroft, Halogen Ventures, Vitalize VC and others.
Schmidt, most recently Vice President at 20th Century Fox, founded AllVoices after finding inspiration in Susan Fowler's Uber blog post to create a platform for corporate employees to anonymously provide feedback and submit reports of internal toxicity. According to Schmidt, existing reporting processes can cause harassment victims to hesitate to report and endanger their careers.
"We use this really outdated process. Basically, we tell people," Okay, come in and tell someone in the human resources department and hope for the best. Schmidt said in an interview with TechCrunch. "And for me that was particularly unfair to the most vulnerable in a particular work environment because they are younger and do not have as much job security – they are considered unnecessary."
Corporate employees who use AllVoices can log into a mobile app and send reports anonymously and receive text messages when they receive a response from the company. This is an optimized process that Schmidt hopes to encourage employees to report "in real time". People will not see names or other identifying information, and AllVoices will not know the employee's name if all communications are encrypted.
"We encrypt all of our data in memory, in backup, during transport and in the idle state – at every level," says Schmidt.
Sixty days after submitting a complaint, AllVoices sends a notification to the employee asking if they are aware of the company's actions and how satisfied they are with them. The startup aggregates this data and returns it to the company to give them a clearer picture of their own responsiveness.
AllVoices is not the only startup to address this issue. In 2018 we introduced Spot, which also builds an anonymous reporting platform. The AllVoices platform goes beyond rationalizing sexual harassment processes. The startup has modules for general feedback, ethics and compliance issues, cultural issues, concerns about diversity and inclusion, and harassment and prejudice against complaints.
The startup has also set itself the goal of creating a free version of its product so that employees of companies that don't have AllVoices integrated can continue to submit anonymous complaints by emailing someone in their HR department. Schmidt hopes that the free service will meet their broader mandate and help them attract new customers.
AllVoices states that almost 50 companies now use the platform, including Instacart, GoPro, Wieden + Kennedy, The Wing and FabFitFun.