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Developing Culture Through Gratitude

Company Culture
Internal Communication

28 October, 2019

Greg Weinger
Greg Weinger

VP of Product Management at SheerID

Greg Weinger, head of product management at SheerID, describes how his company fell so in love with an idea based on thanking people on the spot that they implemented it on the technical side for themselves.

Problem

We were questioning what kind of place we wanted to work in and how to create a highly collaborative environment.

Actions taken

We modified a chat bot so that it has a command where you can thank a specific person instantaneously. Not only does it automatically thank them, but it also keeps track of 'karma' points which amount to a certain status level for each person based on how much others thanked them. People gain karma from helping others, telling good jokes, sharing helpful or funny articles, etc. Occasional banter centers around the number of points people have.
People also have the ability to reduce karma points. This is reserved for more humorous use, e.g. to "punish" the use of bad puns.

Lessons learned

  • The culture supported this humorous interaction, which has a side benefit of showing appreciation for other people. It encourages and fosters a culture where collaboration is encouraged and there is a high level of appreciation for people's work.
  • It seemed like a natural thing for developers and was more popular on the tech side than on the business side. Engineers like being recognized for their technical skill and knowledge.
  • This shouldn't replace an in-person connection or public praise. However, some engineers are more introverted and uncomfortable giving or receiving praise in person. So not only is there more appreciation overall, you involve those who might otherwise shy away from it.

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