Give your team a voice, get reliable reports
Invest in a professional tool for diversity and inclusion to boost employee confidence. Deal with big problems more effectively and spot small problems early.
Created by psychological scientists and memory experts, Spot helps people recall details of what happened as reliably as possible, without talking to a human.
Get a secure place for employees to record incidents, easy verification and management of reports, and trend-tracking across reports.
Have questions about how Spot works for companies? We gathered some answers below. You can also reach out to us directly.
What is Spot?
Spot is a bot. Talking to Spot is like texting or using a messaging app, but with a machine instead of a friend. Our bot is a program that responds to what you write and can ask meaningful follow-up questions.
Why a bot?
People are often hesitant to report workplace harassment and discrimination and don’t want to talk about it with others at their company. A bot is helpful because:
- It’ll never judge or assess you.
- It’s available anytime, anywhere, for as long as you need.
- It won’t share your conversation with anyone, unless you explicitly ask it to do so.
How do employees use Spot?
There are three main steps to record and report an event with Spot. They may or may not result in a report that’s sent to you.
- Interview with Spot. Spot asks a series of questions about what the employee remembers.
- Confidential record of the interview. The employee reviews a record of their interview with Spot as a private PDF.
- Optional reporting. The employee has the option to create a report to send to their company. They can delete parts of the interview that they don’t want to share. Spot sends the report from our email server.
Receiving Spot reports
I just received a Spot report. What now?
Spot reports should be treated as a starting point for an investigation, not as definitive proof that something has happened.
Your organization likely has a process for dealing with internal complaints or allegations of harassment and discrimination. Initiate that process upon receiving a Spot report.
If the person who submitted the report provided their name, we recommend sending an acknowledgement of the report to them explaining the next steps your organization will take to deal with the complaint.
What happens if I ignore a Spot report?
Responding to all allegations of discrimination and harassment is essential to maintaining the trust of your employees.
If it feels like such issues are ignored or dealt with insufficiently, your employees’ satisfaction suffers, as does your ability to recruit and retain a qualified and diverse workforce.
Legal benefits and liability
Are there legal benefits to using Spot?
Yes. One of the main benefits is that by encouraging your employees to use Spot for problems as they arise, you’re more likely to find out about issues early. It allows you to deal with problems internally and try to prevent them from escalating to resignations, legal action, or bad press.
Making Spot part of your HR toolkit or grievance policy shows due diligence in maintaining a healthy workplace. You may receive more complaints, but we think this is a good thing—it likely indicates that your employees feel comfortable enough to report inappropriate behavior when it happens.
Having reliable records of what happened also means that you can address complaints more easily than if faced with vague allegations. Encouraging reporting, and taking these reports seriously, may also provide your organization with extra legal protection. For more on this topic, see our handbook on harassment and discrimination.
Am I legally liable after I receive a Spot report?
If you ignore an allegation of workplace harassment or discrimination, you might be putting your organization at risk. Companies have legal responsibilities to deal with such allegations.
Initiating a fact-finding internal investigation is the appropriate response to receiving a Spot report. The extent of that investigation will depend on the amount of information given in the report.
Can I avoid legal liability by not clicking on the link in the email I received from Spot?
No. Once you’ve received a complaint of harassment or discrimination, you have a responsibility to investigate.
Verification and anonymous Reports
How do I know that the person who sent the report is who they say they are?
If the person submitted their own name on the report, you should contact them to acknowledge that you received it. Currently Spot cannot verify any user’s identity. We’re working on this feature for the enterprise tool.
I just got an anonymous Spot report. How do I know who sent it?
Although we encourage individuals to submit their names, we also allow anonymous reporting. We allow anonymity because it’s important for you to know what’s happening in your organization, even if someone feels they cannot reveal their identity.
We don’t store any user information. If someone hasn’t revealed their name in the report, we cannot access that information for you.
How do I know whether the report actually came from one of my employees?
If the person didn’t identify themselves, you may not be able to verify whether a report was sent by an employee. However, if you receive a complaint of harassment or discrimination, you should still investigate, even if you’re unsure who the person is.
How can I deal with an anonymous report?
When individuals choose not to reveal their identity, Spot informs them that anonymity makes it more difficult for their organization to deal with a complaint.
We recommend that you investigate the claim and keep a record of this investigation, even if it was very limited.
How do I know a report actually came from Spot?
All Spot reports are securely signed PDFs. You can see verification that the report came from Palace Inc., Spot’s legally incorporated entity, right in the PDF file.
Each Spot report is also assigned a unique ID code, found on the cover page of the report.
We delete reports 30 days after they’re downloaded by the recipient. We do keep an ID log of each report sent through us, along with when and to whom it was sent. Thanks to this log, we can verify that a report was generated by us and can confirm when it was sent.
What does “securely signed” mean?
Spot reports are securely signed by Palace Inc., the organization that operates Spot. This process adds a special mark to the PDF detailing when Spot created the file, and prevents it from being modified.
Anyone who accesses the report with Adobe Reader can verify that it was not altered after the date stated in the PDF.
Can I be sure that the timestamps on the document are accurate?
Yes. Timestamps are automatically generated each time a user enters or edits information in their report. The timestamp you see on each part of the report indicates the last time that piece of information was edited by the person who submitted it.
Why are some of the timestamps on the report not in order?
Timestamps are automatically updated every time a piece of information in a report is changed.
After the bot interview, but before sending the report, individuals may want to to correct mistakes or add pieces of information they forgot to mention initially. Those who want to stay anonymous may remove details that could reveal their identity. Spot records a new timestamp for any edited piece of information; the timestamp appears above each reponse.
Can Spot tell from the way a report is written whether someone is lying?
No. And neither can you.
Detecting deception is incredibly difficult. Research consistently shows that although people often believe themselves to be good lie detectors, on average they’re no better than chance. There’s also currently no computerized system that can reliably identify lies in written accounts.
Your employees need to know that if they tell you about inappropriate behavior, you won’t assume they’re lying. Treating a report as suspicious is likely to harm your organization’s relationship with the person who submitted the report. It’s also likely to harm your wider organizational culture.
Can Spot identify false memories?
No. Spot was created to minimize the chance that false memories will contaminate reports. False memories are memories of things that did not actually happen.
Dr. Julia Shaw, an expert on false memories, is one of the three cofounders of Spot. With her research team, she painstakingly designed the questions that Spot asks to ensure that they adhere to the Cognitive Interview. Decades of research have shown that the Cognitive Interview maximizes people’s ability to recall details and to make fewer mistakes.
By making it easy to record events shortly after they happened and always asking the right questions, Spot protects your employees against misremembering what happened.