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The History of 15Five

15Five was created from founder, David Hassell’s, deep desire to help people reach their fullest potential at work. Even during David’s early days as an entrepreneur he was always soliciting ideas and feedback from employees and colleagues. He responded with his own ideas, suggesting things to study or programs to take that would help people grow personally and professionally.

In 2011, David connected with Brad Oberwager, CEO of Sundia. Brad was then using a practice called 15/5 reports in his 100+ employee multinational business. The process highlighted critical information from employees and avoided the common situation of bad news traveling slowly. David immediately thought it would be valuable for any high-performing team or company.

He decided to take it to next level, allowing reports to be turned into conversations and creating the vision that 15Five could become the communication backbone for thousands of companies where employees could be supported, where transparency and trust would thrive and everyone could show up more empowered, creative and committed.

Interestingly enough, the idea behind 15Five is often credited to Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who had built his company around his passion for climbing and spent ample time each year away from Patagonia pursuing this passion. (In truth the idea actually originated in the 1980s with Yvonne’s friend and ESPRIT founder, Doug Tompkins.)

Yvon used the practice to keep his employees engaged and to stay informed even when he was out of the office climbing and surfing for up to six months each year. David, an avid kite-surfer, snowboarder, and adventurer himself is making the tradition of effective management from anywhere accessible for the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

In the succeeding years since 15Five was founded, this employee feedback system has evolved into a beautifully designed product. Over a thousand successful companies are reaping the rewards of increased employee engagement, productivity and retention, while helping to fulfill David’s vision for work to be the place where people become their greatest selves.

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