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Profits or wellbeing? New app reevaluates what’s more important

Tech career accelerator Mission Ready and social enterpirse Te Whangai Trust have come together to launch the SEEC Wellbeing Tracker, an app which helps track employee wellbeing. Made for Kiwis, by Kiwis, SEEC aims to address the social issues facing New Zealanders, as well as to change the way companies measure success.

Here, we chat with Te Whangai Trust founders Adrienne and Gary Dalton, and previous student at Mission Ready HQ, Pramod Saraf, on the creation of the app and the direction it is headed.

Community-led social enterprise Te Whangai Trust works with high needs individuals, often those who live in poverty, have had drug and alcohol addictions or prison sentences, to build their skills and help them into employment. 

“We scaffold people of high risk and most vulnerable into the community through our environmental contracts, and then get them self-reliant and into sustainable work, and eventually get them employment elsewhere in the community, and get others to follow in their footsteps,” says Adrienne.

Beyond helping bring people into employment, the trust is also focused on wellbeing within a business. Gary says society often records success through the financial outcomes of a business, but what isn’t recorded is the social and environmental impact of that profit.

In the aim to create a more balanced view of how businesses are impacting communities and the environment, Te Whangai Trust, with the help of Mission Ready, launched its well being tracker, SEEC.

“We’re looking at a balance sheet that measures a social profit or loss, environmental profit or loss, economic profit or loss, and cultural profit or loss (SEEC),” says Gary.

“We heard about Mission Ready, and they were looking for projects for their students, so we approached them in regard to this dream to develop an app, and they embraced it headlong.”

Mission Ready HQ

Previously a student at Mission Ready, Pramod Saraf now works for Te Whangai Trust and is the mentor for the SEEC project. He is working closely with Mission Ready’s more recent cohorts to follow it through.

“When I started at Mission Ready I was put on this project, and I was really happy about that because I thought ‘I can really do something about this.’ It’s been an amazing journey since,” says Saraf.

“I like everything about this app. The people who I’m working with, the process of building it, the team at Mission Ready that is always supportive and give us different developers to work on it, and the dedication with which they work with – the meetings and the prompt completion of tasks.”

Unique to other wellbeing apps, SEEC focuses on the community. It is giving corporates the chance to change New Zealand’s appalling social statistics by focusing on the wellbeing of the people who are creating the profits and long-term sustainability of their business.

“There’s a lot of wellbeing apps on the playstore and apple store, but what makes this different is it’s a New Zealand app, so it’s more culturally connected, and it’s directed at employers,” says Saraf.

“It’s showing them they’ve got to look at the wellbeing of their people as well as the financial profits. It’s never going to be open to each and every individual to use on their own, it’s for companies to use as an employment wellbeing tool which makes it quite unique.”

SEEC users will have access to features like “sharing emotions”, where they can share their individual data with someone one that they trust, perhaps a doctor or a friend. If they do this, that friend or doctor will get their emotion log for the past three months, which will help employees get some advice.

For employers, if they see a group is averaging a lower sadness average, they can connect with them by sending a common email to that group such as “please if you’re feeling this way you can find help by calling the helpline or you can connect to any of us”, so that if they want to come and talk to someone they can. 

Gary says it is important to re-evaluate what is most valuable to us as a society, because it has typically always been about financial profits.

“We’re only as safe as our weakest link in society, so unless we support the people who are really struggling, that will become our safety level, whether it be a pandemic or social unrest or whatever.”

Currently, the wellbeing app is at a stage where it is roughly measuring wellbeing in terms of how happy or unhappy an employee is. It looks for change on a person’s current state and can measure how wellbeing impacts a business’s profits and productivity.

“We’re at the point where we’ve outstripped the expertise of the Mission Ready group, and so we need to fundraise to get the app through the next stage,” says Adrienne.

Although designed for companies as an employment wellbeing tool, Saraf says the app will have a significant ripple effect across many people.

“If a business has 50 employees for instance, they are particularly concentrated on improving the lives of 50 employees, but those 50 employees are also connected to another 500 different people, so that actually indirectly affects the others too.”

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