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Staff photo by Doug Strickland / Max Farrell, CEO of Workhound gives a business pitch at the Dynamo Demo Day event at the Tivoli Theater 2016. The 5-year-old company, which was recognized as the 2019 Startup of the Year in Chattanooga, is expanding into the healthcare field.

After developing its employee feedback model for the trucking industry over the past five years, a Chattanooga-based company is expanding its real-time feedback platform for workers in home healthcare and long-term care facilities.

Workhound, a software company started in Des Moines, Iowa in 2015 and moved to Chattanooga the following year, announced Tuesday it is expanding its services into the healthcare field to help aid in employers' retention efforts for another type of essential worker.

"For more than a year, we've anticipated expansion into healthcare, and there is no better time than now to make that move," said Max Farrell, the CEO of Workhound who co-founded the company with Andrew Kirpalani as a way to help trucking companies get better feedback from their scattered workforce and thereby reduce employee turnover. "As the COVID-19 pandemic taxes and stretches thin the entire healthcare workforce, it is imperative that frontline workers are able to communicate what they're seeing in the field, as well as relaying their wants and needs."

WorkHound enables employers to receive instant and anonymous feedback from workers via text messages so management can address employee concerns in a timely manner. Feedback is cataloged and presented in a dashboard for aggregate results and the system also allows workers who wish to be identified to get individual issues resolved quickly from their employers.

Last year, Workhoud raised more than $2 million of venture capital including an initial $1.5 million seed capital raise from investors across the country, to expand its services. The company was recognized last fall as the 2019 Startup of the Year business in Chattanooga.

Since February, Farrell said Workhound data collected on truck driver sentiment about working conditions during COVID-19 has proven a valuable resource to industry leaders and watchers. The company began its feedback platform in the trucking company because of the unique, scattered nature of truck driving and the high 95% driver turnover in the industry, much of which relates to trucker frustration over unaddressed concerns or lack of feedback to employers, Farrell said.

"When we introduced WorkHound five years ago, our aim was to positively impact as many industries as possible by improving employee retention efforts," he said. "While employee retention remains an essential WorkHound focus, our platform is also enabling managers to keep a real-time pulse on their frontline workers amid a dynamic and rapidly-changing landscape. As we enter the healthcare realm, we believe WorkHound will not only facilitate more positive communication between frontline employees and management, but that open communications will also promote better health outcomes for the people in their care."

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340

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