As an employee rewards company that specializes in experiences—most of which are designed to get you out and about in the physical world—the past few years have brought more challenges and opportunities than we could've ever imagined.
From adapting our offerings through the ongoing pandemic, to adapting our culture to meet the evolving needs of our people, the path hasn't always been smooth (or even clear).
That's why we're beyond proud to share that Blueboard has been included in this year's Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America.
The companies recognized by the Inc. 5000 represent something more than just impressive revenue growth. The list is a celebration of the contributions of thousands of employees, teams, leaders, advisors... Simply put, none of us would be here without our most important asset: our people.
So how do we support our people? A lot of listening, a lot of stumbling, and a lot of striving (alongside our people) to build a company we’d want to work at.
Building a company we’d want to work at.
Kevin and I started Blueboard because we were both tired of the status quo at work.
After college, a year into scoring office jobs, work had taken over our personal lives. Balance wasn’t possible with the hours we were putting in. And our relationships with friends and family—not to mention our own health and self-care—were suffering as a result.
The cherry on top of all that burnout? The sorry way we were recognized at work for all of those 10+ hour days.
For example: After doing the job of multiple people for weeks on end, working late into the night and on weekends, Kevin’s manager stopped into his office. “Thank you for all of your hard work,” they said, placing an American Express gift card on his desk.
The trade-off was not worth it. Hobbies, health, and personal relationships had all but disappeared—we were literally working our lives away. For a gift card?
Reaching this turning point together, we decided then and there that we would hit the reset button in our lives and prioritize the practice of learning something new. From Krav Maga to voice lessons, as we reinvested in our wellbeing, spent more time with our loved ones, and discovered new passions, we felt more fulfilled.
This was the seed that started Blueboard.
How experiences inform Blueboard culture.
Then and now our goal is to empower people to challenge their comfort zones, indulge in their passions, and try new things. With Blueboard, companies are able to reward their employees with quality time through experiences—deepening their connection to themselves and the world.
Want to learn more about what we do at Blueboard? See what’s possible.
Of course, this mission applies to our own people and culture. And a big part of our success has been continuing to invest in our employees’ fulfillment by encouraging them to spend more time outside the office, on their own terms. Sharing memories, photos, and videos extends the afterglow (what we call the feeling after you go on a Blueboard experience) of those moments.
(Yes, we use Blueboard internally. And yes, many of the experiences shared internally happen because someone redeemed their Blueboard reward. But people also share the experiences—big and small—they’re having in their day-to-day lives.)
Many of our people share the experiences they have on PTO, they share the experiences they have during mental health days, and they share the experiences they have during work hours with teammates. And we celebrate the fact that they’re having those experiences.
Because experiences help people feel more fulfilled and connected. And more fulfilled, connected humans are good for business. They’ve got more energy, more enthusiasm, they build up their teammates, they create safer spaces, they’re more resilient—all of which is good for our bottom line (being in the top 1,000 companies on this list is a good proof point).
Not only does this culture help our employees find rest and fulfillment, it also means every Blueboard employee is a product ambassador.
Building employee connection by living our core values.
Another big part of our success these past years has been returning again and again to our core values.
To set our people up for success, we empower managers with training, coaching, and dedicated in-person offsites. (After all, the manager-employee relationship is an essential part of any company’s success).
We also prioritize ongoing professional development with a learning and development stipend for every employee available as soon as they start. To encourage our employees to stay and grow with Blueboard, we’re working with our people to clarify career paths, build competencies, and promote from within.
Employee ERGs and an internal Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion group are helping to make sure every Blueboard employee feels safe to Dance A Little Different.
We also demonstrate our values externally, working to set People leaders up for success with resources that help them understand the impact of current events on their people and workplaces. Over the past 12 months, we did two original research studies to hear directly from HR leaders and employees and learn more about global mental health awareness and the state of employee connection.
What does the data tell us? There are still gaps between what employers offer and what employees actually want. The findings also confirm that organizations that invest in employee recognition report better results across all measures of connection.
The ways we build meaningful relationships have evolved since the pandemic hit, but we make as much space as possible for employees to connect and get to know one another. One of my favorite spaces for BMR is our annual, all-company offsite: Bluetreat. The event is always an intentional mix of work and free time for our team to spend time together as people beyond their work roles, and get inspired for the opportunities ahead for our company.
And because we’re setting ourselves up for success, our teams are getting a lot of sh*t done (see the numbers in the following section).