Arbor Insight has landed a second major client for its software allowing employees to anonymously report workplace incidents ranging from fraud to sexual harassment.
Comerica was the first client for the Ann Arbor-based company's Neighborhood Watch for Corporations platform. The second client is a large regional credit union, but Arbor Insight has not yet released the name of the business publicly.
Arbor Insight CEO Scott LaVictor says the first two client companies have been financial institutions because they are in one of a few industries, along with healthcare and advanced manufacturing, that have a regulatory requirement to protect employees by implementing a reporting protocol.
With sexual harassment in the national news in recent months, Arbor Insight's software addresses some of the barriers to reporting harassment and other workplace concerns. A company survey showed that people who experience workplace harassment often don't report it because they don't know how to do it or they worry about anonymity or retaliation.
Neighborhood Watch provides a third-party-controlled tool that not only makes it easy to report workplace incidents but makes it easier for management to respond appropriately. Instead of an ad hoc group of phone hotlines, paper forms, or online platforms, Arbor Insight's tool provides ease of access and a smarter way to help both employees and management.
LaVictor says that's because Arbor Insight's tool and the machine intelligence that powers it provides important context for managers responding to these types of reports.
"Our tech has evolved to make sure that what's being reported is not just what users want to say, but what the client needs to hear," LaVictor says. "Often, there's a big difference in context, and we always say that context is king – or queen."
For example, a traditional risk management investigation into a stolen laptop computer would simply ask when and where it happened, who was involved, and would request contact information.
LaVictor says those basic queries miss context and require a lot of follow-up by the investigator.
"Where our tool really shines is that, once it recognizes the topic is computer theft, it's trained to ask those basic questions but also asks was the device used for work, was it password-protected or encrypted, does anyone else in the office use it, or was a thumb drive inserted in the computer?" LaVictor says.
LaVictor says this kind of reporting could potentially head off workplace violence as well.
"I've done a lot of workplace violence investigations, and there were always indicators," he says.
In interviews, he found there were always at least two or three people who heard comments, saw things, or were told stories that suggested the incident was likely to occur. If employees were able to report those concerns, it would have provided key context that could have resulted in an appropriate intervention such as counseling for the troubled employee, LaVictor says.
"We're at an important point with our second client, who is committed to helping us grow," LaVictor says. "Our survey results clearly indicate that a platform like ours is accessible and intelligent and something that people want."
This piece is part of a series highlighting local business growth in the Ann Arbor area. It is supported by Ann Arbor SPARK.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.