Sid Pandiya, the 22-year-old co-founder, came up with the app alongside fellow UCLA graduates Yen Tan and Andrew Zhou, with the aim of making Slack more than a chatroom for tasks and deadlines.
The app asks users how they are feeling by offering them the option of selecting a red, yellow or green heart, which they can then expand on to provide more information about their emotions.
Pandiya and his team want to help remote workers feel more connected to their colleagues as remote work and working in front of a computer all day can feel isolating and tedious, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and burnout.
According to Kona’s study, organizations that have used the program have seen a 5% decrease in staff attrition. Pandiya said managers can use Kona to identify team members who are struggling and offer solutions, for example, by giving them a day off if they are not sleeping well. The app can also provide human resources departments with anonymized, aggregated data.
Kona is being used by more than 100 firms, including Equinix, MasterClass and Oyster, and aims to provide a more humane way to deal with employee satisfaction than traditional employee surveys.
Kona has a low-key openness that sets it apart from other corporate-run mental health initiatives. Tan said its founders tried to make it as friendly as possible and named it after their friend’s dog.
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