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Wellbe launches Tecala for workplace communications
Mon, 24th Jul 2023

Wellbe Counselling & Psychology is rolling out a scalable AI application branded Soapbox, developed by managed services IT consulting provider Tecala.

The application will provide a safe space for employees to test how others will perceive their communications and refine them before circulating or responding. 

Wellbe provides bulk-billed psychology and mental health services, such as counselling sessions with clinical psychologists and social workers, across six Sydney practices and the Melbourne central business district.  

The company plans to use Soapbox internally to help its counsellors and psychologists address clients' underlying issues more promptly and efficiently. 

Once the application is fully operational, Wellbe plans to offer it to other companies, which could use the platform to improve corporate communications and customer interactions.

Avishen Saurty, Managing Director at Wellbe, says: "Unlike existing generative AI tools, our Soapbox communications playground project doesn't simply give you the answers, it gives you insights into how your responses will be perceived." 

"This means that for the first time, you can actually test responses and present your authentic self instead of just copying someone's answer." 

Tecala built the platform on Microsoft Azure in three months, basing Soapbox on an off-the-shelf AI model. 

However, Tecala Data Analytics & Automation Manager Rajith Haththotuwegama says the company had to use a lot of interpretation to guide the model and ensure the results were displayed in a way that was meaningful to the context of the communication based on a wide variety of actual workplace and life scenarios.

"We've created a safe space for people to practice different scenarios and then self-reflect," says Haththotuwegama. 

"The AI gives you feedback on how what you are saying will be received before you have the conversation." 

"You may think you are being open and agreeable, but actually you aren't, so, with the tool, you are getting a chance to trial different responses," says Haththotuwegama.

Tecala built an online app for Wellbe but included an aggregated view for different questions of how people were responding and their personalities, which gives Wellbe's counsellors further insight into what areas they should focus on.

"It's really using natural language processing and extracting that information so they can feed it into better coaching programs," says Haththotuwegama. 

"It shows them how they can tailor training to specific organisational groups or specific individuals in organisations."

The Soapbox platform guides people on how they will be perceived, even during difficult conversations.

"The feedback from our counsellors has been very positive as they have seen how it can be used in so many scenarios," says Saurty.  

"For example, if you are neuro-divergent, you can actually coach yourself to talk to people in society." 

"The supply issues with mental health practitioners across the industry is something we encounter daily, with some clients having to wait up to six months to see practitioners in some areas."

"This tool means we can train and retain our counsellors more quickly, which has huge roll-on benefits for clients." 

"It's not about replacing humans but giving them a broader reach. The tool gives that first level of aid and support, and then the rest can be taken care of by humans. The iterative way that we built this was really helpful, we'd never done anything like this, so Tecala were hugely supportive, and our teams can see the value of the tool," says Saurty.