The results are in, and Discogs is the winner of two TINYpulse awards: the Happiest Company Award and Employee Recognition Award in the Arts & Entertainment industry.
To give you some background, the Recognition Award highlights companies whose employees who love giving their peers a shout-out for a job well done. The Happiest Company Award is for those who have maintained the highest happiness scores over a period of six months.
And now you're probably wondering how we measure workplace happiness ...
Once a month, we ask employees at over 500 companies around the world how happy they are at work. We separated the companies into 14 different industries then track the average happiness score for each organization.
What started as a hobby project in 2000 by Kevin Lewandowski is now a full-fledged resource for vinyl and CD recordings. Over 271,000 people have conributed some piece of knowledge to create this user-built database of music. Building upon the collaborative nature of their business, Discogs's organizational culture does the same. Employees are connected with one another, and employee engagement is always top of mind for the leadership team.
We got a chance to speak with the team to go behind the scenes of the organization and find out what makes Discogs one of the best places to work. Let's see what they had to say.
Q: What was the funniest recognition you’ve ever received?
A: This is a tough one for us. Not to say we do not enjoy having a good time or sharing a laugh — rather, funny recognition tactics are not something our team naturally engages in. Shared recognition, along with TINYpulse Cheers of course, is more our style. It’s only fun if the WHOLE squad is winning!
Q: What was the happiest moment at work?
Q: What kind of fun activities does your company participate in?
A: There is something fun going on every day at Discogs. Just walking through our doors, and you get good vibes.
To get into some specifics, we have catered lunches every Friday, which also gives us the opportunity to try a new beer by our resident home brewer, Ron. One of the favorites thus far has been the "Wintah Wahmah [he's from Boston — think 'Winter Warmer']."
Additionally, we have Quarterly Kickoffs where we review the past quarter's achievements and speak about goals for the next quarter, followed by lunch, happy hour, and an outing like glow-in-the-dark miniature golf.
Every Monday in our Weekly Update (company-wide communication email), we list any gigs our team members are performing in with their band or if they are deejaying at a venue. The fun continues well beyond the four walls of our office.
Q: What is the one thing that every company can do to make their employees happier?
A: Simply stated: do the right thing. The right thing means creating an overall cooperative, rather than competitive, environment. Love your team and put it into action. Surprise them with just how far you will go to ensure they feel valued and respected. Do not be shy about it. If you are unsure whether or not your team is happy, ask. If the answer is yes, ask what specifically makes them happy and build on it. If the answer is no, listen to your team and try something different. If that doesn't work, try something else. There is not a secret formula to making people happy.
This year our team asked for radical transparency. So we're giving it to them. R.A.T.T. (Radically Autonomous Transparent Teams) is one of our 2016 Annual Goals. As an example, our Team Member Guide (handbook) is "open source," meaning it is shared with everyone as a Google Doc, and anyone can suggest an edit or ask a question. All questions about policies, and their responses, are public. The idea is to make this guide a living, breathing document that is collaboratively created by our team. During our Annual Kickoff, our COO shared financials with everyone and explained what our financial goals are as an organization. The response has been great.
Q: If you could describe your work culture in three words, what would they be?
A: C. C. TOP. Shameless plug for our Core Values. Apparently we have been loving acronyms lately — and of course they have to be tied back to music.
Community, Continuous Improvement, Teamwork, Open Source, and Passion for Music.
Our Core Values are at the forefront of our daily interactions and, in many ways, spill over into our personal lives. We use them to evaluate prospective team members, guide our business decisions, and as a litmus test for whether or not we are successful collectively and individually. The end result is an aligned team focused on the right things.
If you're not going to let me get away with C, C, and TOP as "words," I have to go with "fun as $#*+." We have a blast and genuinely enjoy each other. It does not get much better anywhere else.