Pray.com, leading the way in recognition, feedback, and employee happiness.
With hundreds of thousands of users on the TINYpulse platform, we see the best side of companies every day. We're always thrilled to have insights into which organizations put their best foot forward, and connect with their employees with genuine positivity and a problem-solving attitude.
Every year, we sort through our data, and listen to the stories of our users, to find the best of the best: companies that have high happiness scores, exceed with employee recognition, and turn feedback from their employees into action. The winners in each of these categories vary in size and industry, and we highlight companies all over the world. But very rarely does an organization meet all three of these criteria.
pray.com is a social impact company that is committed to creating a world where everyone leaves a legacy of helping others. Focused on building technology that serves faith organizations and nonprofits, each pray.com product is designed to empower people to live with purpose and support communities through prayer and action. By combining the power of faith with the power of technology, pray.com believes it can make an unprecedented impact on the world.
pray.com took home the TINYawards for Happiest Organization 2017, Most Recognition 2017, and Most Wins 2017 in the industry category of Arts & Entertainment. I connected with them to ask what sets pray.com apart, and to find out more about the corporate practices that make them such a great place to work. In turn, they passed around my questions to the whole team-- the first TINYawards winner to do so! You can read their inspiring responses below.
You can see the rest of our TINYawards winners here.
Congratulations on your TINYawards! It's amazing to see a company which excels in all of these categories. What makes pray.com such a happy workplace? What do you do to maintain that culture of happiness throughout the year?
"Our culture of recognition and empathy make us one happy team: People are constantly recognizing each other for the good work they do using tools like TINYpulse, and with quick shout-outs during company wide stand-ups-- which is an awesome way to keep the team motivated and happy. It also gives a sense of recognition for the work that we do. Also, the management is constantly encouraging people to share thoughts and feedback and always follow up by actually going over the feedback and working on resolving them."
Why is it important to your leadership to have happy employees?
"Everything about innovation can't be measured, but happiness is a by-product that can be measured. pray.com leadership is building the machine that builds the machine. The machine we are building is a social impact app that allows everyone to leave a legacy of helping others. To do this successfully, everyone needs to be engaged, energized and willing to take risks. Happy people have the intellectual space to investigate more effective ways to build our app. That is why it's important to leadership to have insight into how happy employees are."
Is the Happiness Score in TINYpulse something that you pay attention to? What other ways do you measure employee happiness?
"I am most likely to pay attention to how well employees feel they are able to live out and embody their purpose at pray.com. If employees can say with a high degree of confidence that they feel they are fulfilling their purpose through the work they do at pray.com, then happiness will come naturally. Part of what makes our company and culture so great is that we are all very purpose driven, and you can see that in the work we all do as well as the passion with which we do it. Each one of us, even if our reasons differ, are committed to 'Leaving a Legacy of Helping Others'."
Was there a particular moment of happiness that stands out from 2017?
"Our mission statement of: 'Creating a world where everyone leaves a legacy of helping others' isn't just a cute bumper sticker-- it drives all the decisions we make, from our revenue model, to physically being an advocate for the downtrodden.
For instance, we just raised our Series A, and how do we celebrate? By spending the day at a prison, visiting the people there, encouraging them, lifting them up, valuing them, cheering as they graduate, many their first graduation ever."
Who are the biggest champions of employee happiness within pray.com? What are some of the ideas they’ve put forward that have increased happiness?
"TINYpulse gives us the opportunity to crowdsource that impact--there are so many champions here. One of our team members, Justin Verduyn, stands out. Not only is he a frequent recipient of Cheers on our team, I am pretty sure he is our #1 Cheers giver as well. Justin is easily the most optimistic person that I have worked with at any company. He says 'Yes And' to every situation, looking for ways to improve himself and to improve others. Most recently, Justin improved our recruiting process to save time, then came back to propose new ways to use that saved time to improve our marketing efforts."
"Shaun Merritt, pray.com's 1st employee, is a constant supporter of happiness within the company. He not only exudes positive energy and is very welcoming, enthusiastic, and empathetic to those around him, he is also not scared to speak up to promote healthy perspective within the company. One of the key values of our company is "Devotion" and we submit Cheers to people based on exhibiting this characteristic. Shaun made a key point that Devotion is not just proven through late nights and weekends in the office: it can be displayed through other work habits as well - by sticking with a complicated or arduous task over many weeks, and by having conviction and follow through to get your biggest ideas executed. By voicing this observation, he has helped us build a common trust that everyone can be wholly dedicated to the pray.com mission, even while maintaining a life outside of our walls."
Why is it important to recognize employees for their contributions and accomplishments?
"Humans thrive in environments where they have a strong impact and are acknowledged for it. Simply put, it feels good to be loved by your family and appreciated by your colleagues."
"People are devoting their lives to their work and need to feel that it is rewarding."
"Recognizing people makes them feel valued and want to put in the effort knowing they are appreciated. TINYpulse is one way of doing it, but I also think generally calling out individuals or the team for their accomplishments in person is a valuable way to do it, though less measurable. "
Less than 1% of TINYpulse customers receive the award for most recognition. What do you think led to your win? What is it about pray.com that encourages employee recognition?
"We work to foster a culture of continuous recognition through our Cheers feed, and that recognition, in turn, is always tied to a Core Value. I read somewhere that you should treat your culture like a pet. Feed it, care for it, take it out for a walk in your community. That’s what the Cheers feed allows us to do with our Core Values. We live them, share them, and celebrate them every day. While we also hire and promote based on the Core Values like Research, we believe that recognition should be practiced daily, and not just in quarterly or annual evaluations."
What do you do to maintain that culture of recognition throughout the year?
"We live our values. I honestly think it is that simple. When you combine Devotion, Research, Empathy, Application, and Mindset, you create a culture where people do everything in their power to make others feel empowered. Recognition is a key part of empowerment."
How does recognition (and the “Cheers for Peers” feature) relate to your work values and culture at pray.com?
"Your peers have the truest insight into what you're contributing, your willingness to help, and the value of your work. That is why peer recognition has so much meaning. Everyone builds the culture in their day-to-day interactions with each other. "Cheers for Peers" is a big part of that."
How did pray.com employees become so prolific at sending Cheers? Did it happen immediately? Did you have a slow ramp up of appreciation?
"pray.com employees are prolific at sending Cheers because it is literally part of our culture of open, honest, and consistent feedback. I can recall from my first meeting with the founders, Steve and Mike: They showed me the pray.com TINYpulse app as a way that the company proactively collects, reads, and responds to anonymous and non anonymous feedback from colleagues. It was easy to adopt and incorporate TINYpulse into my work day and continue to do so throughout my career here."
The Wall of Wins is a new feature, and it’s optional - what contributed to pray.com‘s adoption and subsequent success using it?
"Suggestions and the Wall of Wins are like a customer support line for our employees. We tell the engineers - what would the product be like if you never QA’d? We say to our customer advocacy team - what if our members never provided you feedback? That’s what suggestions are for operations. Even with anonymity, it's a way to ensure volunteers always have a place they can speak their mind, and be heard. The answer may not always be that we can implement the solution they suggest, but there will always be a response. It’s a 24/7, direct line of communication to the leadership team."
Is it important to use the Wins Board at pray.com?
"It just gives me a sense that the management is listening and trying to act on things that are possible."
In one sentence, can you give us your best advice for other companies looking to improve their employee happiness?
"Focus on creating an environment that employees want to be in, rather than one that gets the work done at any cost."
"Define a culture, make that culture easily understood, stick to the culture and consistently listen to colleagues and consumers."
"Be transparent, have a higher purpose, and value each individual!"
Employee Recognition Awards recognize organizations with the highest Cheers for Peers per capita for the year.Cheers for Peers is one of TINYpulse’s most popular features. It allows employees to send “Cheers” – messages that recognize and celebrate coworkers and their accomplishments – from anywhere.
The new “Company Wins Award” distinguishes organizations that used a new TINYpulse feature – the Wins Board– to celebrate the highest number of Wins per capita in 2017.
The Happiest Company Award honors organizations with the highest average Happiness Score throughout the year. Happiness Scores are tabulated from anonymous employee responses to the frequently asked survey question “On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you at work?”. A full list of winners can be seen at TINYpulse’s site.
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