Earlier this year, TINYpulse — a lightweight employee engagement tool we use at UpBuild — announced that UpBuild earned the award for “Happiest Company of 2017” in the Marketing & Advertising category! This was based on our team’s average happiness ratings from our weekly mini-surveys throughout the year. We came back with an average score of 9 out of 10, beating the Marketing & Advertising industry standard by 22%!
This is an incredible honor and I think I can speak for the team in saying, “We’re super pumped to be acknowledged as the happiest company in Marketing & Advertising”! As icing on the cake, TINYpulse even sent us a physical award. This gorgeous thing (which is nearly impossible to photograph well) now sits in UpBuild HQ and may have to make an appearance at UpBuild’s next Team Day.
Ready for me to sound incredibly pretentious?
Being awarded this title for 2017 is equal parts “mind-blowing” and “expected”. Before you take to Twitter or the post comments to tell me to dial back my ego, let me explain. My goal with UpBuild is for this company to be an ideal framework within which the best technically-minded marketers in the world can come and work. If we’re doing that (and we still have a ways to go, IMO), it’s because we’ve created the conditions that would produce the happiest team in the world. If we didn’t have the happiest team, it would mean that we’d fallen short of creating that ideal framework, which would be a major wake up call. It would mean we were just another “good” digital agency, something we’re not going to settle for.
So I’m stoked that folks at UpBuild are happy (the happiest, apparently). But, is working at UpBuild completely easy and carefree? Nope! At times, it can be downright stressful.
Agency work has its peaks and valleys — ebbs and flows — where intense or stressful conditions arise, but then give way to seasons of contented deep breaths and smooth sailing. The key for us has been to acknowledge the nature of the work we do and support everyone in getting through those tougher times. The key is helping folks to build up their mental and emotional reserves while we have clear skies. They key is not to avoid all hardship but to prepare for it and learn what you can from each experience to make the times that follow (the good and the bad) better — or at least manageable.
Couple that mindset with:
- challenging yet rewarding things to work on (technical marketing),
- the autonomy to decide how (and where) you want to work (remote team), and
- client and team members you can be proud to work (careful hiring & client discovery),
and you have a pretty solid recipe for team happiness.
So this award was expected in that we’ve taken very intentional steps over the last three years to become the happiest company. That said, I’m incredibly honored, grateful, and inspired to see our hard effort acknowledged by a wonderful company like TINYpulse.
The irony is that, at our last company retreat (read about our October 2017 Team Day), we’d unanimously decided to wind down our use of TINYpulse. The collective feeling was that UpBuild was so positive and that UpBuild’s leadership was so easy to communicate with openly (providing managers with anonymous feedback is another value prop of TINYpulse), that the team didn’t feel like the tool was needed.
However, we’ve yet to leave the platform. At this point, we’re likely going to stay on. Just like how the easiest time to get credit or insurance is when you don’t need it, perhaps the best time to weave the use of a tool like this into the fabric of a company is when everything feels amazing; when we’re the Happiest Company of 2017. Things will get lean, times will get tough, we’ll feel real anxiety about not getting results that are good enough, we’ll make a misstep with hiring, we will lose every client. That’s when we’ll really need a barometer of the team’s overall happiness, to make sure we’re supporting the team when they need us.
At the end of the day, team happiness is our most important metric. It might be shocking to see that it’s not “client satisfaction”, but our ability to serve and satisfy our clients is determined by the well-being of our best-in-class marketing team. Over the last three years, we’ve always put that first and I think the results speak for themselves.