What Bravely Isn't

Like many startups, we spend a lot of time talking about what we’ve built and who we’ve built it for. I’m constantly being asked: “What is Bravely?”

The tricky thing is that it can be hard to describe what you are when you’re building something totally new. Especially when your product or service is something that challenges the status quo and forces people to think about things differently.

That’s why I’ve found that it’s often helpful to talk about what Bravely isn’t.

We’re not a replacement for HR.

Because we help coach people through stressful moments at work, and give them the tools they need to approach conversations about performance, we’ve been asked if we’re trying to replace the traditional HR department. We’re not.

In fact, Bravely actually exists to support a company’s existing HR team. We think of ourselves as a new first step in the conflict resolution process: one that prepares employees for conversations with bosses, peers, and HR teams.

Because our Pros are independent coaches that work outside the walls of a company, they’re able to offer employees a neutral, objective perspective. They also alleviate fears that people might have around speaking up to someone that they see in the halls every day.

Our data shows that after using Bravely, people are actually more likely to go to their colleagues and HR than they would have if they didn’t have a coach to speak with beforehand. We know that many companies are investing time and resources in their HR departments, and we want to help be part of the force that ultimately drives people to take advantage of these teams.

We’re not an EAP.

More than 75% of companies now offer Employee Assistance Program (EAP), giving people access to psychologists and mental health counselors who they can speak to about the personal issues that may be affecting their life at work or at home, and direct them to further resources. These can range from financial issues to substance abuse issues and beyond.

We believe these programs are important and valuable. But they should not be confused with our service. Bravely is focused specifically on workplace conversations and our Pros are HR professionals and business coaches focused purely on fostering more productive workplace conversations. They help employees tackle conflict through structured approaches (like interest-based bargaining), and never delve into life beyond the office.

We’re not just a whistle-blowing resource.

We’re often asked how Bravely helps employees who are dealing with workplace harassment and discrimination. We like this question a lot and the answer is an important one.

In these situations, our Pros are there to help employees think critically about their issue and develop an action plan towards resolution. Sometimes that plan may be to speak directly with the person they’re having the issue with, and most often, that plan is to have a conversation with HR. These conversations begin by making sure that the employee understands the definitions and standards of behavior as defined by both EEOC guidelines and their company’s harassment policy.

In situation where it makes sense, Pros can also offer to anonymously escalate an employee’s issue to company leadership — not unlike you would using a traditional reporting hotline, but with much more context. We believe that this additional context can be a crucial piece of the puzzle when working towards resolutions around difficult situations.

By defining what Bravely isn’t, we believe that Bravely’s position within the existing HR landscape becomes clearer and easier to define. We are excited about enriching and living side-by-side employers’ existing teams to help people work more bravely.

This piece was originally posted on Medium