How an Internal Product Changed Our Culture
By: Monique Marchwiany / July 28, 2021
Our team loves to build and create, which is one of the main reasons that we created SPACE, our internal innovation program. Sometimes these projects are just for fun or learning, but quite often, they evolve into a product we use every day.
A couple of years ago, our team of builders set out to create a fun and easy way to recognize all of the amazing contributions from our team members. We called it “Kudos” and our goal was to make something similar to an “Employee of the Week” program that people could vote on.
We originally started off with a recurring Google Survey that got sent out to everyone on the team on Monday mornings and we’d each get to vote for someone we thought deserved a little extra recognition for their hard work. The winner would be announced during our weekly company meeting on Monday afternoons.
In addition to the shoutout, the winner would also get to keep a mini Stanley Cup on their desk for the week. At the end of the year, LaunchPad Lab also donates $25 for each week that they won Kudos to a charity of their choosing.
Making It a Product
Our Director of Product had the idea of turning our Google Survey into more of a custom internal product. Diana Camacho (one of our Developers), Scott (or COO), and I really liked the idea, so, we created a team to help bring that idea into a reality. Our goals were rooted in building an MVP with these guiding principles:
- Build fewer features, but with more detail
- Increase user delight and create “Wow!” moments
- Share attribution and increase the transparency of who you’re receiving Kudos from and what comments they left
With these goals in mind, we worked together as a team to re-imagine the user experience for voting. The core features were centered around (1) the voting email, (2) casting a vote, and (3) the results email. The design we landed on was playful (in colors and typography), had fun animations & transitions, custom illustrations, and a friendly voice.
The Verdict Is In: Kudos 2.0 Was a Hit!
We collected feedback from the team on their experience with our “new and improved” version of Kudos to see if it resonated with the team. The feedback speaks for itself:
- “It’s nice knowing why and by whom you were recognized, it makes it more personal.”
- “Since you can read comments and see people mention specific things or projects you’ve worked on, it’s motivating. Good to know other people appreciate the work you’re doing.”
- “Having the results in an email is cool, especially if you happen to miss a stand.”
Getting user feedback from our peers was extremely valuable. It allowed us to validate some assumptions we had going in and also allowed us to roadmap what features we might want to tackle next.
Time to Productize
The team started thinking, “If this product works so well for us, other companies might find value in it too!”. So, we built out a marketing site to collect interest from potential customers to take part in our Beta. Diana worked her coding magic on expanding the architecture to accommodate multi-tenancy, and then we were ready to start onboarding customers. Getting our first Kudos customer was super exciting, we’d go back to them every couple of weeks and collect feedback. This would allow us to understand what things were working well and what things could be improved.
Over the years, we’ve evolved the product a bit to adapt to the changes in our company. For instance, once our company size grew to over 15 people, we introduced an autocomplete feature to help make the selection process more streamlined (thanks, Conor, for your work on that!). And then when our company unveiled our Constants, we added a dropdown to allow folks to pick which company constant someone exhibited.
I’m also happy to report that, internally at LaunchPad, we’ve been using the app every week since 2018! It has truly become an integral part of our culture and I know folks on the team look forward to those emails and announcements during our company stand. And to date, LaunchPad Lab has donated over $4000 to 25+ charities on behalf of Kudos winners!
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