New app lets coworkers anonymously rate each other

| July 9, 2014

We rate our restaurants, our exes, our professors, our workplaces — why not our coworkers? A new app, Knozen, launched by Marc Cenedella, former TheLadders CEO, aims to do just that. As Business Insider reports, the free app “pits two coworkers against each other and asks the user a series of questions” to gauge their personalities. “The user then selects which coworker best fits the description and is told how many other colleagues voted the same way.”

Some of the questions include: “Who is more likely to leave work early for a date?”, “Who is more assertive?”, “Who is more likely to sing a song out loud?”, and “Who is more likely to buy cookies from a Girl Scout?” To protect identities, a minimum of seven workers from a given company must sign up, using their company email address, before they are permitted to use the app. App users can only rate other app users — not coworkers who have not signed up.


The makers of the app claim using it will actually improve coworker relationships. From tec_estromberg.

The app reveals how many of your colleagues agree or disagree with your answer. Those colleagues being rated also see their rankings, with the information appearing on their app profiles. All rankings are anonymous, and users receive notifications once they’ve been rated. There’s no playing dirty, insists the CEO — questions are “positive and upbeat,” and focus on coworkers’ personalities, not physical appearance or other touchy subjects. Plus, app users cannot post comments via the app; they can only respond to the questions posed.

While the questions are simple, the app’s aim is a bit grander: to improve worker relationships and office culture. As Cenedella, who views the app as a “personality API” that may eventually be used in the recruitment process, tells ABC News, “It’s used to better understand how you fit in with other people at work.”

Released in late June, Knozen has drawn $2.25 million in funding from investors including FirstMark Capital, Lerer Ventures, Greycroft Partners, and Box Group. “We think we’ve found a unique new way to gain insights into people, and that’s why we were able to attract such top-flight investors,” Cenedella told TechCrunch last year. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could know what people liked about us? We’re bringing personality to the internet. Knozen is a mobile app to discover and share personalities with your friends.”

What are the benefits of ranking your colleagues? John Weaver, a psychologist who focuses on office issues, explains to ABC News: “Certainly, building relationships in the workplace is a way to encourage the work environment. People get along, they work better, they’re more likely to support each other.” Yet there is a potential downsides as well: “Particularly, if you’ve got someone who is very emotionally sensitive or a target of some kind of bullying… Those kinds of interactions, I can imagine, could be used in a negative way to target that person and make that person uncomfortable,” says Weaver.

While the app may achieve its aim of improving office culture, just as with angry Facebook posts and personal YouTube channels, office workers would be wise to beware of leaving digital footprints that can’t be covered.

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Category: New Products, Office courtesy

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