WorkSimple Is Shutting Down (and why you didn’t know who they were)

Kris Dunn Current Affairs, HR Technology, HR Vendors, Kris Dunn

I got a note earlier this week – WorkSimple, a pretty innovative SaaS play in the performance/social recognition space, is closing its doors in a matter of days.  Here’s the email that went out from Morgan Norman, the founder:

WorkSimple is Shutting Down ws_logo_medium

After exhausting all options, we are forced to close WorkSimple. We’re devastated to have to shut down the service, but unfortunately due to capital constraints, we have no choice.

It has been an incredible journey and we’re heartbroken not to be able to continue on. We’ve created the Social Performance space with you and demonstrated that there is significant demand for this type of service, but not yet enough demand to support what the company needs.

We have an incredible community of customers and partners across the globe that have helped shift how we work together. We believe this will continue in the marketplace.

What about the app?

We’ll keep the platform running through February after which we will have to shut it down; however, we recommend you begin taking data off the application as soon as possible.

The simplest way to get goal data is via exports in the reporting section of the application. If you are a paying customer and need exports beyond what reporting provides, please email help.


We’re grateful you chose WorkSimple, and we’re very sorry to have let you down.


The WorkSimple Team

Some of you are saying “so what?”  I was shocked to get this email, as I had demoed the product in 2012 and included WorkSimple solution in a shortlist of 5 providers to consider for clients Kinetix helped revamp their approach to performance in 2012. WorkSimple had a great solution. Here’s how they describe themselves on their website:

WorkSimple began with a simple idea – what if there was a way to measure people on actual results and work. And Social Goals was born.

We decided to create the industry’s first social performance platform based on actual work and social goals that happen throughout the workday. It would be designed for everyone, every employee, it would be easy to use, and would focus on communication, visibility, transparency, with a game changing user experience.

We learned along the way that employees love social goals. They knew for the first time what was expected of them and what they could expect from the company. They could see what others are working on, and how their job role and goals impacted the greater objectives of theirs peers, team and company.

Managers and employees used their goals as discussion guides on a weekly basis. Problems were getting solved, employee coaching and performance feedback was emerging, performance behaviors were discovered, and engagement was happening.

Our vision and platform is on track to fundamentally change the way employees and companies view performance and each other. We help build your performance network in a single day.

WorkSimple attempted to merge the social revolution with performance management, with its solution asking for employees to enter the things they were working on, then receive feedback on how they were doing from other employees – a recognition play built into the solution.  In recent releases, they had matured the product to the point where managers could roll up that goal setting and feedback process into an actual, traditional performance review – something I thought they needed to do to meet the need of traditional organizations.

Sadly, the biggest barrier to the solution was probably getting all your employees to use the system on a daily basis to show what they were working on, what areas of focus that rolled up to, and also to give feedback and recognition to others.

Translation:  User Adoption is a bitch.

Worksimple had a pretty kick-@$$ team.  They swung for the fences on the future of performance management.  They got it right in many ways.  I’m guessing they were 5-10 years ahead of the curve.  The lameness of our approach to performance management globally couldn’t catch up to them.

And that reality is why you probably never heard of them, which stinks.  For them and you.

Bay area companies – check out the talent at WorkSimple – there are some great folks who are free agents.