The Humu Nudge Engine is making work better—here’s how

Laszlo Bock
CEO and co-founder

At Humu, our mission is to make work better for everyone, everywhere.

But people are complex, messy things. If work is going to be better tomorrow, we have to change the way we do things today. And getting us to change? That’s one of the hardest organizational challenges out there.

So to make work better, we have to make change easier.

This month we’re swimming out of stealth mode, unveiling the Nudge Engine, technology that transforms organizations at scale using small, personal steps based on science, machine learning, and a little love.

By combining research, technology, and humanity, Humu measures what matters inside organizations to focus attention and action on the incremental—but dramatic—changes that lead to a stronger, happier, and more productive workplace.

Here’s how it works.

With inputs including a custom diagnostic and information as granular as employee commute times, we use machine learning models to identify each partner company’s unique drivers of business outcomes like happiness, productivity, and retention.

In contrast with lots of ‘engagement surveys’ on the market that rely heavily on correlation (see also: correlation of Nicolas Cage movies and people drowning in swimming pools), Humu’s algorithm runs thousands of iterations of proprietary statistical models to determine the unique areas of action that will drive happiness, productivity, and retention for every team at your company. That means every single person in your organization can focus on the change that matters, when it matters most.


But it’s natural to resist change. Especially when the choice seems to be out of your hands, or an edict from the top. There are millions of interactions between employees each day—from meetings to evaluations to just holding the door open—and at Humu, we believe everyone can do their part to change each one for the better.

Humu's Nudge Engine deploys thousands of customized nudges—small, personal steps—throughout the organization to empower every employee, manager, team, and leader as a change agent. Over time, our nudges grow increasingly aware of the timing, messaging, and motivational techniques that inspire individual employees towards action. If this seems a little too impersonal, a little too “HAL 9000,” that’s where the love comes in. The result: stronger, happier, more capable organizations built from the inside out, and bottom up.

Don’t just take our word for it—Humu’s recommendations have increased action in organizations by as much as 250%, and folks using Humu have seen 20%+ increases in their focus areas in just six months. Nudges work.


Take this incremental but dramatic step towards transparency: when managers share Humu’s findings with their teams, workers have rated them as 46% more committed to change—and also registered the company itself as 22% more committed—than those whose managers didn't discuss findings. Surprising? It’s science: transparency in leadership is directly linked with employee commitment, effectiveness, and trust in leadership.

The end result with Humu is a win-win: companies benefit from higher productivity and dramatically lower attrition rates; employees benefit from increased happiness as measured by a sense of meaning in their work, a feeling of being empowered by their leadership, and trust in the organization they serve.


As Jonathan Neman, sweetgreen’s founder and CEO told us, “Humu’s science and analytics enable us to measure and improve each and every team member’s experience at sweetgreen and give us the data, insights and nudges to create a more engaged and performance driven workplace.“

The Humu approach is supported by decades of academic literature, and the Nobel Prize-winning insights of Professor Richard Thaler on the efficacy of micro-interventions, or “nudges,” on human behavior and decision-making. But it’s also built upon the foundation of knowledge my team and I pioneered at Google, where we used a near constant loop of experimentation and feedback to build a transformational people culture.

For me, Google’s topping the charts of Best Company to Work For for eight years was only the beginning—through Humu I’m excited to build upon this approach and make it accessible to industries ranging from retail and manufacturing to financial services and technology.

I used to say at Google that people were more complicated than the search algorithm. It was a joke...sort of. As anyone who’s spent time in an HR function knows, every corporate challenge (or scandal!) boils down to a people challenge (or scandal!)—and that “people are complex” is the understatement of the century. There are trillions of human interactions that happen within a company in any given year. Each one of them is an opportunity for disaster—or for transformation, one personal relationship at a time.

Because work *can be better*, with minimal effort, through the help of technology that supports us, and everyone around us, move 1% closer to our best selves every day… And radically transforms organizations in the process.

Does Humu sound like something that could (or should?) be deployed in your organization? Contact us now.