Storytelling About Explorance With Samer Saab

Samer Saab of Explorance

Welcome to the Use Case Podcast! today we have Samer Saab from  Explorance and we’ll be talking about the use case or business case for why his customers use Explorance.

Explorance is a company that provides people insight solutions to help organizations bring actionable insights driven by listening to their employees. The episode discusses the business case or use case for why Explorance’s prospects and customers use their services.

Their solutions help bring to surface understanding of employee needs, expectations, and competencies to support them throughout their journey. The two solutions offered by Explorance are called Blue and Metrics that Matter. They work in synergy to support learning, development, engagement, inclusion, and employee experience.

The podcast also touches on talent intelligence. However, TA is just is a churched-up way of saying people analytics or people insights. Saab emphasizes that companies need to start being part of the solution and not the problem by transforming data into actionable insights that lead to action recommendations.

Explorance primarily offers insight-to-action solutions by connecting the dots between what organizations already know about their employees’ behavior and what they are telling. Insights alone were enough in the past, but now organizations need to be more agile, and their teams need to be autonomous to act on the insights provided by Explorance.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.

Thanks, William

Show length: 24 minutes

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Samer Saab
Founder & CEO Explorance

"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing.

There are such rough moments in time that I think most people give up. I don't blame them. Its really tough and it consumes your life. If you've got a family and you're in the early days of a company, I can't imagine how one could do it. It's pretty much an eighteen-hour day job, seven days a week, for a while.

Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you're not going to survive. You're going to give it up. So you've got to have an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right, that you're passionate about. Otherwise, you're not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that's half the battle right there.", Steve Jobs.


Storytelling About Explorance With Samer Saab

William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you’re listening to the Use Case podcast today of Semi on from Explor, and we’ll be learning about the, excuse me, the business case or the use case for why his prospects and customers use experience so summer. Would you do us a favor? Hello? Would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and exports?

Samer Saab: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. Uh, William? Yeah, so I’m Saab. I’m the CEO and founder of Experience. Actually, this year we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of the company, so we’ve. [00:01:00] And we primarily are providers of people insight solutions. Mm-hmm. Which is really helping organizations bring actionable insights that are basically driven by listening to their employees, right.

To their students, which is basically what we cover. And the main premise around that is to be able to bring to surface understanding an employee’s needs, their expectations, their. Their knowledge needs and their competency so we can have a holistic view and be able to support them, uh, throughout the journey.

And there are two solutions that we bring to the table, right is bloom. There is metrics that matter and they work in synergy to help us to support this whole, uh, this whole area that goes from learning to development, to engagement to inclusion and obviously employee experience.

William Tincup: Okay. So we’re gonna go through both products in just a second.

So one of the things I wanna, uh, look, you know, I saw HR Tech in Vegas last year [00:02:00] was a. Talent intelligence and it, and you know, again, I, you know, it kind of seems like, uh, I mean, kind of kinda seems like a churched up way of saying people analytics, uh, and people analytics, uh, has, and people insights have been around for a while, which, which I guess it’s just kind of people being bored with using the same words.

But for the audience sake, where are you, where are you getting the data? Where, how do you get insights into their.

Samer Saab: Absolutely. So when we, and it is true that in HR Tech it was the dominant theme, and I think it is a generally realization that companies have to start being part of the solution and not the problem.

Right? The problem is we have a lot of data. The solution is can we actually take that data, transform it into ACT insights, and ideally lead, lead to action recommendations with primarily a feedback provider. So obviously we were one of these organizations that contributors say, Hey, survey everything.

Listen to your employees at every [00:03:00] step that matters, and let’s add. More data that you can use. One day when we evolved it over the years, and we look at it more as we’re, we’re primarily insight to action as an organization, right? Today and literally recognizing two things. One is we need to make sure that, to recognize that there is data that’s already available, right?

Typically, what I know about my employees, how my employees are behaving and what they’re telling. And being able to connect the dots between these three and be able to provide meaningful insights. There were days where insights to the top level. And an organization was all you need. You know, you needed those top five to be able to learn what’s happening and be able to do something.

So insights were enough today. Organizations need to be more agile and they need their teams to be autonomous, so they actually have to provide these insights at scale to their 5,000 line manager, for example. And in that example, insights are not enough [00:04:00] because not everybody is equipped with consultants and people around them to help.

Come up with a plan. So the premise really is take a step further, and that’s like the insight to action piece. How do we deploy actionable insights with the recommendations for actions to everybody within organization so that everybody’s able to navigate effectively and keep that that boat flowing and move moving forward.

So that’s the evolution from just employee experience, right? To people insight, which is what? We’ll start getting and addressing today.

William Tincup: It’s, it’s, I wanna get your take on this because I absolutely agree with what you’re saying. It’s like, okay, at one point it was for the executives or the board executive to then be able to make decisions.

Then you’ve go, you push that down, uh, for all managers they need to have this, uh, actual insights. Do you think that they’re either now or in the future, there’s a place for the individual to have insight on themselves as.

Samer Saab: This is a fantastic question. Absolutely. Okay. I think if we wanna, [00:05:00] we wanna look at the ideal scenario is the, we need to empower every person to be able to meet their full.

Potential, right. Drive impact, drive growth, even drive optimal performance, which seems to be, uh, less talked about topic in this day and age. And the premise behind that obviously is to move that every person should have the information they need and recommendation for improvement they have. And the direction of where, what, what we build.

Obviously it does go that far about allowing people to get. The information they need and the recommendations they need to actually improve something or someone or themselves. Uh, the premise though is to look at the market maturity and already just going to the scale of, Hey, let us enable the 5,000 line managers that you have in a very organized structure, top, top down approach, right?

Uh, is already in trail basic territory. So I would think [00:06:00] the. Next dimension or next iteration of performance management in the workplace will, will go as far as you suggested, which is every employee will have actionable insights that they can do something about and be able to write as their story of success so that they can negotiate their next promotion.

For example. Are some of

William Tincup: your, uh, are some of your customers or do you, do you feel like some people, uh, they use it for like the team dynamic? Cause a lot of folks, not, not every company, but some companies, they work in teams specifically like consulting firms and things like that. So it’s, it’s. You know, what is the team dynamic?

What is the team performance? You know, how do we figure out what’s actionable and you know, what’s, what’s great, what’s working? Well, again, it’s not all negative, right? So what’s working well, uh, what, what needs to be improved and then how to improve it. So the question is, is are folks already now using it for teams, or do you see that also as something that, that’s kind of right [00:07:00] around the.

Samer Saab: No, absolutely. I think the teams is the focus and sometimes whether we look at the teams are ensuring that the people leading the teams are effective. Uh, you know, the company has lost a lot of skill over the last three years. Right. And looking at the dynamics of the team in professional organization, we usually are following more in multi right evaluation or 360 evaluation capability that we can, we specialize in from a technology but also consulting standpoint where we come in and say what.

What angles do you wanna measure? We’re looking at the customer side, maybe I’m looking at the project, I’m looking at the members of the team, the lead of the team, and how does everybody, uh, how do, how does an organization automate the flow of insights within that so that they can improve their general offering, but also the dynamics of the team.

And we’re going back to that notion of companies have to be more. I’m a big Titanic, but I have to split into 5,000 boards if I see something in front of me and I need [00:08:00] to, uh, re course correct my action so that you need your teams to be extremely autonomous and empowered so that an organization can be agile.

So, yes, absolutely. The, the approach, and this is to be able to go all the way from. The top of the organization, the topmost leadership. Then think of the heads of the areas, think of the VPs, the directors, the managers, the teams, all the components that need to get meaningful insights about what is that’s working for you.

What is it that needs improvement? And most importantly, where are your blind spots? Where are your opportunities? And ideally, be able to give it to them in a very consumable way so that nobody has to learn how. Read feedback, how to not be hurt by feedback and be able to just act upon the inside system from the

William Tincup: feedback.

Oh, I love that. Love that. So I’ll start with my own bias. I, uh, really hate software categories, so I’ve been doing this for a long time. So [00:09:00] if my, if my bias comes to. Too harsh just to, you know, dom me back. But I just hate the categorization of software, just the, the idea of it. But I also know that recruiters and HR and, and everyone else has budgets built in Excel.

So where do people typically find budget? What do, what do you call yourself? What do they call you and where do they find budget for you? It’s

Samer Saab: a, it’s a very good point actually, and it. Extremely pertinent. Uh, when I think about it, you know, we talk about analysts constantly and we look at sort leaders, et cetera.

And the world we live in has some kind of segmentation. For example, it looks at learning as something. It looks at development as something else. It looks at employee experience as something completely different and performance as something. And usually they’re different buyers, they’re different budgets.

And we look at the world as one we say. If I want to ensure that I’m [00:10:00] serving my customers at best, I have to make sure that my, my employees are useful and effective at what they do. Then I have to make sure that they’re engaged and feel included so they can contribute the diversity of the ideas, and only then I should make sure that they’re also very happy and optimized and the experiences are transacting.

What I just listed is literally three different budgets, three different users, right? The way we see them as one. Right? So, of course, yeah. It does make. So today we unfortunately have to sell in a siloed manner or provide services, uh, in a siloed manner. So this is where we, we go in and say, okay, are you interested in your employee’s effectiveness from a skill standpoint?

Test the learning segment. Are we looking at. Team autonomy, team effectiveness, leadership skills, uh, now we’re looking at the development side or organization development piece, uh, in an organization or sometimes under the talent umbrella. And then when you look at the experience, hey, how are your onboarding services?

And so on, [00:11:00] it’s another one. And then when you go to, hey, you know, do you wanna optimize your engagement surveys and be able to get more insights and have actionable, et cetera. You’re falling under another user, another budget, and then you have the performance piece. So we are agile enough to be able to kind of get all these, the value proposition of bring the table is really connecting those dots so that we can tell bigger stories of effectiveness, impact, and performance.

Not too many companies are there in terms of the breaking of these, of these silos, and not too many quadrants or too many. Areas in the industry are built to actually unify to that extent. Yeah, yeah. Right. This is, it’s what

William Tincup: I love about, it’s, it’s connective tissue. You’re, you’re kind of pulling from different things that are kind of a disparate Yeah.

Usually different databases and things like that. You’re pulling them together and becoming the soft tissue or the connective tissue between those things. So I love that. Let’s, I promise that we’d go back through the, the [00:12:00] product. So let’s go back through, let’s go through, I know you got two. Let’s go through the first one.


Samer Saab: Yeah. So basically the, the products are blue, uh, metrics that, and metrics that matter. Mtm Okay. Uh, I’m gonna start with MTM because it’s a very concise business proposition. Sure. So, metrics that matter is a tool that’s been built to help organization ensures in a most simplistic fashion that they are sending the right people to the right trainings at the right time and driving the most value from that investment.

Upskilling or growing the, the skill base and knowledge base of their employees. Okay, so that’s the first thing. It has its own methodology. It’s being used by, you know, the, you know, you know, a big, big portion of the Fortune 500. It’s very effective for organizations that typically have their own internal training organizations or learning organizations, and they want to make sure that they’re not just investing in the wrong, wrong direction.[00:13:00]

And we help them and, and the effectiveness of these of their programs. So that’s the, uh, one, you know, one main platform. The second platform we have is Blue. Uh, blue is a platform that actually brings. A very powerful, uh, capability to organizations because they can literally use it to integrate with any information system.

It could be an h r I, it could be an lms, it could be, uh, the portals, it could be behavior. Carrying, uh, systems and it actually allows organizations to be able to implement anything that they need, whether it’s a applicant survey process, uh, onboarding survey process and exit interview, uh, 360 process, uh, services, evaluations, engagement, evaluation, and so on.

And the premise behind it, it becomes a listening machine that will actually allow organization to get all these insights that they want. As we discussed prior, in a connected [00:14:00] manner, which means it gives you the ability to come and see if information you’re getting in your exit process is actually helping you improve your onboarding process or your recruitment process.

Uh, you’re getting good measure of your skill, skill base of your organization, then you’re gonna go and be able to, to improve maybe your succession planning or, or other things. So the, the premise behind it really is that it, it’s built to be set up once integrated. At scale and meeting the specific needs of organization that are trying to, to differentiate by being different in this day and age, there is a component in it, within it, in both platforms actually, that is, uh, powered underneath by blue ml, which is a machine learning, uh, software.

And the machine learning is able to actually tap into any employee. Comment or statement and be able to automatically, yeah, exactly. And it’s automatically able to categorize it, tell [00:15:00] you what is it that they’re talking about, how are they feeling about it? But most importantly, it’s giving you a sense of what are, what is the voice of the employee actually telling you to do more of, to stop doing, to start doing, cause you haven’t been doing it.

Or to continue doing. So it has a prescriptive component, which is very important. And that’s that improvement, that scale we were talking about. Yes. Go ahead.

William Tincup: No, that’s wonderful. So I’m, I’m, is that data that comes out of like Slack or email or messages, or is it external data like Twitter or things like that or combination of all those things?

Like where do we get, where do we find those nuggets?

Samer Saab: Technically it could be anywhere, but there’s a reality. So in general, we have to look at the sources where people express themselves and expect. That it’s analyzed. So for example, Glassdoor, indeed, all the open-ended feedback that is captured through, uh, step by surveys, whether it’s onboarding surveys, extra [00:16:00] survey engagement surveys and so on.

Some companies could go as far as saying, we wanna, we wanna analyze our slack, uh, insights, or we wanna analyze our teams insight or something else. That’s okay too. The premise though is, you know, whenever people know. There is something that they’re saying but not necessarily intending to share with you.

That is analyzed and you have to actually do a lot of communication and preparation around it and create a safe space around it. So say, okay, we will be looking at data, we’re gonna analyze it, but we’re only gonna analyze it and in aggregate fashion to be able to see what are the biggest themes that are popping from the conversation.

But we’re never gonna identify a response or respondent. And to give you an illustration, imagine that today we can detect by what somebody says if they’re at risk of leaving a company or not, and we can tie it of course, with who they are and the behavior. So you can get the connected strengths of [00:17:00] data to be able to predict something of serious Imagine now that I know that if I write something on.

There’s a system that could analyze it and say, Hey, I’m my press, and then next thing I have an HR manager talking to me. That becomes pretty spooky. Yeah. Yeah. Fair enough. So it’s, it’s important to know what, how to leverage technology in the right places. Not to go against the purpose itself of saying there’s a safe space.

Where you can actually express yourself to be heard. And we’re gonna be able to make the most of it and close the loop so that you don’t feel you wasted your time by giving feedback in the public space or private space. And there are areas that are a bit more touchy, like email, like, uh, communication channels, et cetera, that we recommend that companies take extreme.

Uh, To actually ensure that they clarify and communicate with the purpose of using it and ensuring that’s actually a safe, a safe approach. But the technology is itself. Yes, it’ll be able to do that. I

William Tincup: love this. Okay, I’m gonna start with a, a question on the buy [00:18:00] side. Um, and this is, Questions that you wish practitioners asked you more about?

Like in the buy side? So when they’re about to buy something like this experience, what should they be asking? What questions that should they be asking of you?

Samer Saab: I, I think the most, the most important thing is in general is that the, that approach of. Is it, and I’m gonna throw like three or four angle. Is it a point application or is it a platform to start with, right?

If it’s something built to do one thing and only one thing, or is it something that’s actually able to give them a holistic view of their complete talent landscape? That includes growth and effectiveness. Engagement and inclusion in experience and performance. So point applications are good to solve specific problems, but you’re looking at things in a silo.

You know, I. I can’t have one system that ensures I’m happy, another system that ensures I’m effective and another one ensures I’m performing and not these systems not talking [00:19:00] together, it does not make sense. Right? Uh, so the first thing is really a platform usually should be scalable, should be multipurpose, should integrate within an IT infrastructure.

It should have connectors to all the hrs out there, connectors to single sign on to portals to learning my system. It should live as infrastructure. The. So that’s the first thing we typically wish people did more of, which is one, look beyond the silo. And to ensure that they’re investing in platforms like they do when they go for an H R I S system, an LMS system, uh, crm, and so on.

The, because listening is a key component for company success and organization, actually. Uh, the, the second part is specialization. It’s very important. The organizations and the broad product are built with specialization in mind. Uh, some specialization in talent or HR is, Important. So again, the premise behind it is, yes, you can go and say, let us look at a generalized [00:20:00] survey platform, or let us look at a platform that has been built for years for customer experience and now we’re just gonna adapt it to.

Whereas there are organizations like experience that’s been invested for 20 years and upsetting solely around student and employee because the future. The future student is an employee to start with. The future of a student is becoming an employee. So we’re only being focused on specialization, and we think it’s important because technology alone is great, but then be beneath the technology.

There’s the implementation piece and there’s the expertise piece. The implementation is driven. How do you successfully implement? An employee listening platform. It’s because if it’s your obsession four years, you’re gonna do it. Understanding exactly. All these things we’ve been talking about, how do you create a safe space?

How much surveying is enough? When do you create fatigue? How do you close the loop? How do you build machine learning built specifically around employee listening and based on understanding employee eCommerce and how do you leverage this sort, the [00:21:00] things that are important for hr? And then there’s that expertise piece.

Adding much more value than just software, which I think is the key to success in this day and age. Uh, and third and final in that is really the insight to action is we have to recognize that as organizations are coming and saying, you know, we want to listen better or more to our. Employees. Our approach is just make sure also that there are a lot of components that will help me transform the data that I’m capturing into meaningful insights that move to action so that we can close the loop.

Cause people will give you their feedback once or twice or three times without being really heard. After that, it’s gonna, the value of the exercise will erode and you disengage them in the process and it could do more. Then good to just say, Hey, I’m willing to listen to you every day, but I never do something about it.

So these are in a summary, the three things platform, net point application. Bigger mindset that is more cross silos. The second one is it’s not [00:22:00] just about software. It’s about expertise in implementing and in supporting and consulting. So specialization matters. And the third one is that focus on the most important thing, which is less stop adding more data for companies and actually starts making sense of the data that is there and augmenting it in a way that’s responsible so that we don’t disengage the people that are giving you that data to.

William Tincup: I love it. Last, last question. You probably don’t do, uh, as many demos as you once did, but your favorite part of sewing experience to people that have never seen it before. Like what’s, what’s your favorite part when you get to a place like, you know, their lights, your their eyes are gonna light up. I, I love it and

Samer Saab: I use the right word, which is the ice piece.

So I still, by the way, I still have a very active selling component because I like to be connected to the field. So, uh, I, I do have regions and I operate by the laws of our heads of sales and everything with when I play this role. Cause I feed from that. And it’s actually [00:23:00] that because experience is not the most known brand.

Right, right, right. So you walk into a room, You’re about to present. I look at the faces and generally like, okay, we have to go through this, and there’s the time, five minutes in, 10 minutes in where you could see the eyelids open a bit more and you feel that it connected. They gut it. They understood that we’re bringing something very different and real.

More importantly, it’s not gimmicky. And I would know just when I see that, that I reaction that. Okay. Boom. We just, I think we just convinced one more. Now sometimes we end up buy. Sometimes they end up saying, oh, I need courage to buy this, but we’ll get there one day. And in both cases it’s a win because we look towards the future and there’s another 20 years they had to have fun, uh, going in that direction.


William Tincup: Mike walks off stage. Brother, thank you so much for your time today and, uh, I, well love what you’ve built and your building, uh, and just I appreciate your time.

Samer Saab: It’s my pleasure, William. Thank [00:24:00] you for having

William Tincup: me. Sure, everyone, thanks for listening to the Use Case podcast. Until next time.

The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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