Tom Grochowicz is a smart guy. He’s the Engineering Manager for a social software company, Spredfast.

Recently, Spredfast conducted one of their annual hackathons whereby employees team up to turn ideas into innovative deliverables. Tom led a team of software developers who chose to focus their Hackathon project on creating something that would “have an impact around the office.”

Like many organizations, Spredfast has become more socially-enabled than ever and uses connectivity platforms to meet employees where they already are.

Where are employees? They’re on Slack. In fact, as of March, 2.3 million people actively use Slack every day to instantly share ideas, files, and otherwise communicate without email.


A hackathon is an event in which software developers, graphic designers, and project managers collaborate in a fun and open project of their choosing.

So, Grochowicz and team decided to tap into YouEarnedIt’s open API and create a simple way for employees to recognize and reward one another through Slack.

We were so inspired by the work done by Grochowicz and team that we went ahead and created a Slack integration for all of our customers. Please thank Tom and team for serving as a catalyst for this high-demand integration.

We had a chance to conduct a Q & A with Grochowicz to better understand why he decided to pursue a YouEarnedIt – Slack integration and what impact it’s had on the company.

Can you talk about who was behind your effort to develop a Slack integration?

We do a weeklong, internal hackathon once or twice per year, and myself and a few other devs wanted to take the time to build some things that would have an impact around the office.

What was the reasoning for wanting to integrate YouEarnedIt and Slack?

We’re huge fans of YouEarnedIt and wanted to make it even easier to give recognition to our coworkers. We also wanted to see how lowering the barrier would impact the number and frequency of YEI points given out – would allowing for effortless microrecognition (such as giving a user one point via a Slack reaction) change how we used the service?

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How was this effort aligned with the Spredfast culture or core values?

At Spredfast, one of our key values is Freesponsibility – we feel empowered to do what we feel is valuable and right, even if it’s not explicitly within our job description. One of the best ways we can recognize when our coworkers go above and beyond is with YouEarnedIt – making it even easier to do so reinforces our values.

What type of process was involved in using the YouEarnedIt API to integrate with Slack?

It was fairly painless to get started with the YouEarnedIt API – after one email with support, I had the documentation, API keys, and was ready to go. We were able to plug that info into our bot framework of choice and deployed the first version of the bot after a couple of hours.

How do you feel employees benefit from the integration? How’s it being embraced?

We’ve had widespread adoption of our integration – about 400 users have authorized our bot, and nearly all of them have sent recognition using it. Some people use it as their default way to grant recognition, and we’ve seen a ton of smaller point value grants as a result of our plugin that likely wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

What does our open API and the ability to integrate with other platforms signify to you?

The open API signifies that YEI is receptive to us using its platform in ways that are more tailored to our environment and culture. We like that we’re able to integrate YEI into our other tools, so it’s even easier to use.

What do you love about the YouEarnedIt platform?

I love that I’m able to reward my colleagues for going above and beyond without having to arrange something through their manager or HR.

Regarding trends, can we expect to see more of this type of integration happen in companies, and if so, why is that a good thing?

Absolutely. We know first-hand that this is important, based on how our users use our platform. Companies use so many distinct tools that do so many different things, and it’s important to have an ecosystem of connected tools instead of a list of standalone utilities.

Three Key Takeaways for Companies:

  1. One of the major HR Technology trends for 2016 is to offer tools focused on employee needs, user experience, and anytime/anywhere accessibility. According to Josh Bersin’s 2016 HR Tech Trends report: “Cloudbased HR systems must leverage modern user experiences, rich employee profiles, and support employees, not just HR.”
  2. Today’s reality is that companies offer employees many tools to improve connectivity and productivity. Offering an easy way to connect these tools is vital. Otherwise, many of them will sit unused collecting eDust.
  3. Employees can and will own employee engagement if you let them. Engagement initiatives must offer flexibility and opportunities for employees to customize the experience. This flexibility results in more organic and sustainable initiatives.

 

Check out how Cratejoy has created an employee-driven culture of recognition [video or blog]. Or, see how Bazaarvoice integrates YouEarnedIt with their corporate wellness initiative to reduce costs and boost employee engagement [video or blog].

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Tim Ryan