8 Ways Sift Is Challenging Traditional Workforce Engagement

By Benjamin Seidman on August 21st, 2016 / Comments

According to Gallup polls, only 34% of American workers are engaged. Sift is in business to change this number.

Sift, a Detroit startup, has launched their Understand and Engage products. Understand promotes effortless transparency through its smart directory, allowing coworkers to learn about one another with universal search. Engage is built to deliver actionable insights in real time, including deep analytics, custom scheduling, and more.

Today, Sift customers are using the Understand platform 1 million times per month. They have launched their product mainly within the Quicken Loans Family of Companies, starting with Quicken Loans, Title Source, Bedrock, Fathead, Xenith, Jack Entertainment and Venture For America.

Sift is driven by these numbers:

  • 2.5X more revenues come from companies with engaged employees vs. competitors with low engagement levels (Hay Group Study)  
  • Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts (Corporate Leadership Council)
  • 82% of Employees said it’s very important that their organization address the employee engagement problem (Psychometrics Engagement Study)

Without further ado, here are 8 ways Sift is challenging traditional workforce engagement:

Millennial Expectations

“As millennials enter the workforce, the way they expect work to be is changing. Millennials expect much more collaboration, communication, frequent interactions with management and feedback,” says Sean Jackson, CEO at Sift. “A lot of organizations today aren’t ready to meet the expectations of this new workforce and are not able to get as much as value as they could.”

Initial Traction

“We’re really excited to have onboarded our first dozen clients in Downtown Detroit. We have about 20,000 users now who are using the tool every single day and are loving it. We’re excited to bring tools to leaders to help them better understand who their people are and how they’re feeling, so they can get the most out of their workforce. For employees, they know that their leadership cares about them,” says Jackson.

Early Insights

Sift makes sure workforces are engaged. “Engagement is about discretionary effort  – it’s knowing you have a job where you are empowered and a team with you to help get that job done. It’s this family feeling for your workplace where you have a team that’s working to accomplish a mission,” says Jackson. Sift wants to make this reality happen and allow for improvements where needed.

Customer Discovery

“We had experience working in large organizations using cutting edge technology and something we noticed there was much more connectivity and depth in the online and consumer facing world. Social context gives us such greater understanding into who our coworkers are,” says Jackson. “But, here we are 8-10 hours a day, and we don’t know the person sitting across from you. You don’t what their skills are, where they have work previously. There is a huge divide between our social and professional network.” Sift is made to give you that deeper understanding into the people that “you spend most of your lives with.”


“We’ve been working with leaders in the engagement space, both academic and professional to build with cutting edge practices. We’ve built most modern, simple product for users to understand users and how they’re feeling,” says Jackson. “10,000 active unique users per day. Each of them is using it between 3-5 times a day. Total pages views a day about 100,000.”

Dan Gilbert

“Dan Gilbert has been one of our strategic investors, one of our mentors and cares deeply about culture and employee engagement. He cares about workforces being both efficient and fun. It’s been fun bouncing ideas off him and you can definitely see his fingerprint and philosophy embedded throughout Sift, from it’s fun interface to it’s serious but not too serious attitude,” says Jackson.

Features and Iteration

“Sift can become an employee engagement ecosystem because we are building smartly, as we focus on building out the base,” says Dylan Ramirez, Director of Business Development. “We have a lot of people data. We’re about to roll out our first set of employee engagement tools very soon.”

Growth Strategy

Sift is nine employees strong and practice what they preach by utilizing their own tools internally. “We make it a fun place to work and make it a place where people have ownership,” says Jackson. Sift’s long term goal is to move the needle on employee engagement on a larger scale. “Human Resource leaders have been dying tools that can do this for a long time.”

Venture For America

“Part of the mission of VFA is moving the needle on important issues in our country,” says Ramirez, 2015 Venture For America Fellow. “We have definitely been influenced by VFA and in building the product, the network and support system has been incredibly helpful.”

To learn more about Sift, go to justsift.com.

About the Author

Benjamin Seidman

Benjamin Seidman

Michipreneur Influencer at @michipreneur. Director of Business Development at @SPLT. Executive Team at @detroityp. Core Team at @Urbanei1. Tweeting my photography @bigseido and Instagram @seido_photography. Almost forgot, Go Blue!