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Humanist Coffee Hour:
A New Culture Building Platform Delivers Results

By June 3, 2019Culture
Dane Amyot, MD of bountiXP


We catch up with Dane Amyot, MD of bountiXP, an employee recognition and engagement platform designed to unify and align people for success.

Humanist: What is the link between organisational alignment and employee engagement?

Dane:The theory of alignment looks at the extent to which strategy and culture create an environment that facilitates the achievement of organisational goals.

Engagement, on the other hand, is about choice. It’s a choice made by employees to align their personal values, practices and behaviours with the organisation’s, and to give their best work.

At bountiXP, we’ve developed a holistic, employee-centric platform that is designed to unify and align people for success by leveraging recognition and engagement.

Humanist: Can you tell us how bountiXP leverages recognition and engagement?

Dane: bountiXP’s design incorporates performance-based recognition and values-based recognition. This unique, dual-purpose approach aligns people with company strategy and culture to drive business results.

Humanist: In our work, we come across a surprisingly high number of organisations where culture doesn’t feature on the C-suite’s agenda. What is your answer to this challenge?

Dane: I think things are changing. You take a chief executive like Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. He took a 40-year-old company that was performance obsessed but at a high cost – Microsoft’s culture was known to be cut-throat and callous. Nadella totally transformed it. And since the turnaround, Microsoft’s market value has never been higher – at around $250 billion.

I’ve read that one of the first things he did after becoming CEO was to ask his C-suite to read a book about developing empathy as a skill.

Amazing. What Nadella’s example shows is what can happen when a CEO makes culture an essential, central and ongoing conversation.

Because really, it is only culture that can drive a business forward.

You can develop a great strategy – but unless you can connect people to your plan, it will fail.

I strongly support the view that strategy guides a business forward. But it’s culture that actually drives it.

Felicity Hinton chats with Dane Amyot

Humanist’s Felicity Hinton talks to Dane Amyot, MD of bountiXP, an employee recognition and engagement platform designed to unify and align people for success.

Humanist: There’s a lot of scientific evidence to support the view that a strong culture drives organisational outcomes.

Dane: Yes, I’m particularly interested in the relationship between culture and innovation. There’s a lot of research underway around the world and in study after study, you read how culture fuels innovation.

And that’s just one outcome. A well-realised culture attracts and retains talent. It generates efficiencies. It builds purpose.

But a strong culture is one that is reinforced by a clear and compelling strategy. So, we’re back to the fact that aligned organisations – where strategy and culture work together, in synergy – are organisations that produce better results.

Humanist: Tell us a bit more about bountiXP and its applications.

Dane: bountiXP is a cloud-based, SaaS platform that brings the many aspects of employee engagement together into a single employee experience. Currently, the platform incorporates real-time recognition and rewards, social communication and engagement, 360-degree feedback, gamification and learning.

Humanist: That’s impressive – I can’t think of a single workplace platform that combines so many applications.

Dane: bountiXP is the first all-encompassing employee recognition and engagement platform. In its complete state, it will also incorporate continuous performance management, making it a truly holistic solution.

Humanist: Developing a continuous performance management app, is that in response to employees wanting peer-based feedback?

Dane: It is. But it’s also in response to the way work – and within that, management – is changing. The annual, manager-led performance review so typical of top-heavy hierarchical organisations has been shown to be ineffective. As organisations become more agile, employees need 360-degree feedback in real-time, so that they can learn, adapt and improve.

A continuous feedback loop serves this purpose and we’re building it at bountiXP.

Humanist: So, if that’s bountiXP as a platform, tell us a bit more about bountiXP, the company.

Dane: bountiXP is a small start-up based here in Cape Town. We’re an agile team of designers, developers, data engineers, digital strategists and content marketers committed to changing the world of work.

‘If you look at engagement as a metric of organisational performance, you start to see a bigger, systemic problem: of organisational misalignment. bountiXP has been designed to align strategy and culture, by leveraging recognition and engagement.’

Humanist: How did you come to start bountiXP, and what’s your business background?

Dane: bountiXP was born out of a need to address the problem that employee engagement is in decline, globally. But if you look at engagement as a metric of organisational performance, you start to see a bigger, systemic problem: of organisational misalignment. bountiXP has been designed to align strategy and culture, by leveraging recognition and engagement.

Before bountiXP, I worked at Achievement Awards Group – a company dedicated to human performance improvement. In 2011, I led a project within the group’s employee motivation and engagement business to design and develop a definitive, best practice employee recognition program guide.

Humanist: That must have laid an incredible foundation of knowledge for bountiXP.

Dane: It did. And it continues. What’s great about bountiXP’s association with Achievement Awards Group is that we have direct access to its employee recognition, engagement and experience think tank. There are thought leaders and SMEs with over 150 years of combined knowledge and experience.

The team includes Professor Kurt April, tenured professor of leadership, diversity and inclusion at the Graduate School of Business in Cape Town, associate fellow at Said Business School, Oxford University and faculty member of education at Duke University, as well as Doctor Preeya Daya, academic specialist in workplace performance improvement and strategic human resource management.

Humanist: Are you seeing the gap close between academic research and applied research in business?

Dane: I’m a huge advocate of action research. I think South African organisations are too slow to embrace experimentation. Today’s technology is so flexible that companies can be experimenting and testing research findings on a small scale – be it with behavioural insights, new user journeys or product enhancements – that then allows them to predict the outcome on a larger scale.

The benefits translate into cost efficiencies, and faster and repeatable innovation.

Humanist: Can you give us some predictions for the future of work?

Dane: I think we’re going to be seeing a huge shift towards humanity-driven work, and more human workplaces. AI and automation are going to replace a lot of jobs, but not people, I don’t think. That’s why bountiXP is working to be a part of that future, harnessing tech to unlock human potential.

Dane, last question. How do you take your coffee?

Dane: Strong, with a dash of milk.

Felicity Hinton

Felicity Hinton

Felicity Hinton is the founder and chief strategist at Humanist, a culture-change agency that helps transform people for business success. Previously, she worked in human performance solution design, and advertising. She is a certified change manager (UCT), has a Bachelor’s degree in English (Wits), and has won several awards for her business writing, including a Silver Quill.

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