On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to Amy from Snappy about employee appreciation in a hybrid workforce and a hybrid workplace.
Some Conversation Highlights:
I think more about the basics of employee appreciation lead to engagement, which to me are one-on-one interactions, daily ability to have a feedback conversation in person, less of the Zoom environment that we are now all in right now, which I know a lot of people are struggling with, and we all get the zoom fatigue. But I think what’s really important on a day to day basis is for managers to really carve out that one-on-one time, either even in the small group setting, just so you don’t get the one-on-one fatigue, but then also in really giving great feedback and offering the ability to have that special time.
I think engaging with teams remotely is incredibly hard. I always think of when you’re on a Zoom call in particular, or whatever, it’s really hard to see what’s going on in the background behind that camera, and being really empathetic about what’s going on in someone’s home on a day to day basis, whether it’s your family, or your pets, your life, the doorbell, the postman, all those things behind the scenes are really hard to understand, and I feel like when you have that one on one engagement, it’s just so much easier to connect with people especially in employee appreciation.
I know when I very first started our CEO, Hani, I asked her day two, I said, “In light of what’s going on right now, what is the biggest thing that keeps you up at night?” And she said, “I don’t know how our teams are doing. When we were in the office together every day I could walk by people’s desk and know just based on their body language that something was wrong, something was amiss, or the opposite, they were having an amazing day and something super spectacular in their life was happening, and we just don’t have that luxury as much anymore.”
Tune in for the full conversation.
Listening time: 27 minutes
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Amy Stoldt is based out of New York, New York, United States and works at Snappy Gifts as Vice President, People & Culture.Follow
Music: This is Recruiting Daily’s Recruiting Live Podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup
William Tincup: Ladies and gentlemen this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Today we have Amy on from Snappy, and our topic is how to appreciate employees in a hybrid workforce, and a hybrid workplace, so we actually probably have a couple things to discuss there. Amy, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and Snappy?
Amy Stoldt: Absolutely, thank you so much. My name is Amy Stoldt, I lead the People & Culture initiative here at Snappy Gifts. I’ve been with the team for about a year and a half, was the first HR person at the company, during a very fast, exciting time period. I also joined remotely, like many new people are right now, and have since I started.
So Snappy basically is an online engagement platform that reinvents gifting as a service, and the way the companies show appreciation. We help people take the guesswork out of gifting with an all in one platform that’s fun, it’s personal, and it has amazing technology behind it. So needless to say we have been incredibly popular in the last 18 months, which is exciting, and I’m truly passionate about employee engagement, and so that’s the reason I joined the organization to start with, back 18 months ago.
William Tincup: Wow, and you’ve got all kinds of fun stuff that we can unpack, just joining a company in the middle of a pandemic, remotely, as one of the first people leaders, so there’s all kinds of fun stuff there. I love the engagement, or what you used to call the total recognition space, engagement being, I guess, a sub piece of that, but it’s just nice to see gifting, and awards, and just recognition, praise, just rethought of in a way now, of rethinking the way that we think of work. So what are some of the things that you’re seeing, just with your customers alone, what are you seeing that’s table stakes versus the people that are doing really innovative things?
Amy Stoldt: Yeah, so if I think about table stakes I think more about the basics of engagement, which to me are one-on-one interactions, daily ability to have a feedback conversation in person, less of the Zoom environment that we are now all in right now, which I know a lot of people are struggling with, and we all get the zoom fatigue. But I think what’s really important on a day to day basis is for managers to really carve out that one-on-one time, either even in the small group setting, just so you don’t get the one-on-one fatigue, but then also in really giving great feedback and offering the ability to have that special time.
I think engaging with teams remotely is incredibly hard. I always think of when you’re on a Zoom call in particular, or whatever, it’s really hard to see what’s going on in the background behind that camera, and being really empathetic about what’s going on in someone’s home on a day to day basis, whether it’s your family, or your pets, your life, the doorbell, the postman, all those things behind the scenes are really hard to understand, and I feel like when you have that one on one engagement, it’s just so much easier to connect with people.
I know when I very first started our CEO, Hani, I asked her day two, I said, “In light of what’s going on right now, what is the biggest thing that keeps you up at night?” And she said, “I don’t know how our teams are doing. When we were in the office together every day I could walk by people’s desk and know just based on their body language that something was wrong, something was amiss, or the opposite, they were having an amazing day and something super spectacular in their life was happening, and we just don’t have that luxury as much anymore.” And so when I asked her about keeping up at night she’s like, “I honestly truly don’t know how people are doing,” when I joined, and she said, “I really want you to be able to get close with our team members, in a remote way, and take time to really feel how people are doing, whether it’s through surveys, or just interacting, or just taking that extra special time.” `I think that was one of the things that struck me the most as far as her really caring about how people are doing
William Tincup: Well. It’s also really smart, because the more you care about them and how they’re doing, the more, ultimately, even if you don’t get more production, the happier they’ll be, just because someone cares. I mean, someone cares that they’re going through something really cool and positive, or they’re going through some hardship, just the company caring and having empathy. It’s unfortunate that it took a global pandemic and a bunch of people to die-
Amy Stoldt: Right, exactly. Yeah, I know.
William Tincup: To get to this place of corporate empathy, but I sure hope we never lose it.
Amy Stoldt: I do too, I know. And I feel like, in the start of the pandemic, and I actually was out of work when the pandemic hit, but then I joined Snappy shortly thereafter, and the big thing was what can we do and engage people even on a social way, with groups and doing different types of online cocktail making, and cooking classes, and all these things. And we got to a point where we were almost out of ideas, I guess.
William Tincup: Yeah, yeah.
Amy Stoldt: You really have to get creative and think out of the box. My biggest thing on new hire orientation day is, I had one today, actually, about seven people to start, and I said, “Please come to us with all of your great ideas on how we can do different types of events and things that are unique and different,” bingo and trivia, we’ve done it all, we name it, we’ve done it. But having something that’s a little bit different and out of the blocks, I mean, we do our weekly, what we call Snappy hours, so at lunchtime on a Friday, everyone in our US team gets together and we have lunch, we give everybody a little bit of a stipend to be able to get a lunch, and then we do something fun together.
Those types of things have been certainly popular, but you do end up, I feel like when I get together with my HR networking groups they’re all like, “Oh, what are you doing now? What can we do that’s different and out of the box?” And sometimes it’s just simple things. We did a photograph contest, show us a picture of your favorite travel spot, since we haven’t been able to travel, that type of thing.
William Tincup: I think that what’s interesting to me is, it reminds me 100 years ago I worked for an ad agency, and the leader I worked with, she told me, she goes, “I hate seeing stuff on my calendar during the weekends, like something that’s been scheduled on my calendar.” She had kids, a husband, the whole bit, and it was a foreign concept, A, because I was just not at that place, and so it was a foreign concept. The weekend, you have stuff to do? Yeah, whatever. Now I get it. It took me 30 years, but yeah, now I get it. And it’s almost like when employees look at those things, there can be, it’s not a diminished return, but an exhaustion of us trying to do the right thing.
Amy Stoldt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
William Tincup: So it’s finding that delicate balance with each employee of, okay, what’s cookie cutter? Because that’s how we looked at engagement prior to the pandemic is, what would engage you, would engage me, and how we’d measure it would be very similar, if not the same. And I think that’s one of the things we’re learning with employees now, and candidates, quite frankly, is they want different things. So one group might want a painting class, or two people might want a painting class, and another group might not even want anything remotely close to that, or they might just like the offer, but never accept the offer. They might like knowing that it’s going on, and that’s enough.
Amy Stoldt: Yeah, definitely.
William Tincup: But they don’t need to go to the painting, they don’t want to go to the paint class, or they don’t want to go to the wine club, or they don’t want to go to the cigar rolling table, they just want to know, my company’s cool because all this stuff is going on, but I don’t really want to go to that, it sounds like work, I don’t want to go.
Amy Stoldt: It’s interesting, what’s become wildly popular for us lately is we just recently hired a diversity, equity, inclusion manager, and we’re really very passionate about the initiative in general, and brought in an amazing manager, and just very quickly have a ton of our employee resource groups that have joined, and I feel like that also has been a great way to engage because it gives people a sense of belonging, and they’re able to connect with people on a way that has nothing to do with their day to day work, per se, but it does have something to do with who they are and what they bring to the table as a team member of their company. And you learn so much from people through those interactions. And we’re celebrating Women’s History Month, and we did an amazing initiative that Gabby, our head of DE&I brought into place, around sending thank you notes, handwritten thank you notes, I will have you know.
William Tincup: Oh, that’s cool.
Amy Stoldt: And what she did is she created a Google doc, had everybody submit a handwritten note to a woman within the company who has reached out to them and helped them in their time, whatever, appreciate notes. Going back to thank you notes from Jimmy Fallon, let’s say.
William Tincup: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Amy Stoldt: Right. And she had them collected, and then she literally spent a full day, I didn’t know she was doing this, handwriting notes and mailing them, with a stamp, to each person’s home, because we’re all distributed, and people got in their mailboxes these lovely handwritten thank you notes that she wrote, with the messaging from the people who were sharing the greeting. And people were, that was amazing. Maybe even better than the Snappy Gift, but probably not.
William Tincup: The only thing, first of all, I love that, the only beef I have, it’s a personal beef, is I think women’s, and I’ll say this about Black History Month, same thing, I don’t think there should be a month.
Amy Stoldt: No, I agree.
William Tincup: The fact that there’s a month.
Amy Stoldt: It’s like a parent’s month.
William Tincup: Yeah, a parent’s month. Well, it turns out you’re parenting all the time. But we should be doing that all the time.
Amy Stoldt: Exactly, we should be recognizing one another all the time.
William Tincup: Yeah.
Amy Stoldt: Yeah, its interesting. We… sorry, go ahead.
William Tincup: It’s great that there is a month, because I’m old enough to remember when there wasn’t a month, so fair enough. However, it’s like we should continue into the next month, and the next month after that, because women leaders, like that, for instance, or African American leaders during Black History Month, they’re still doing great stuff in the other 11 months.
Amy Stoldt: Right, right.
William Tincup: That we should probably recognize on some level. But anyhow.
Amy Stoldt: Exactly.
William Tincup: My beefs aside, my personal beefs aside, I love, first of all, the handwritten, it’s personal, and I wanted to get your take on things that are hyper personalized, especially as leaders think about remote, they think about hybrid, and they rethink engagement.
Amy Stoldt: Yep, yeah.
William Tincup: It was one way January of ’20, and probably historically we’ve looked at engagement with the history of employee satisfaction surveys, impulse surveys, et cetera, and now all that stuff seems a bit outdated in the way that we work and the way that we think about work today. So what are you seeing?
Amy Stoldt: Yeah, I mean, when I think about what I’m seeing, and also as it relates to our platform in particular is, like you said, the engagement, the piece of being able to recognize people in a very personal and exciting way. I think about our Snappy gifting platform, our goal is to create this lovely surprise and delight where you’re getting what looks like a box that you can unpack, and you scratch off and you are given this ability to claim an amazing gift, or if you don’t necessarily want that particular gift, you can have a gift of a collection of 20 different gifts.
William Tincup: Oh, that’s nice.
Amy Stoldt: Whatever the collection might be. Our gifts are curated and themed, we have top brands, we have digital experiences. The other cool thing we do is we’ve got through, what we call our Snappy Gifts back initiative, we have a donation option. So you get a gift, as opposed to getting the gift you could give the gift, you could give it to an amazing organization, like make a wish, or something that we’ve recently engaged with UNICEF around, around Relief for Ukraine, and it’s been really, really popular alternative to our clients’ collections. And then we have themed collections as well in addition where we have small business owned, again, with Women’s History Month in particular, and maybe we should always have them, as you said, we have women owned businesses, and whatever the collection might be in various times throughout the year in celebrations.
We have gifts from hundreds of top brands, customers are ranging from ADP to Zoom, and I think the excitement with us right now is being able to accommodate our clients of all sizes. So initially our kind of sweet spot was 5,000 employees to 10,000 employees, that mid group, right now our ability is to gift to many different size clients, in addition to various countries as well. So our ultimate goal is to be able to give a gift anywhere in the world, which is super exciting.
The second, I guess, biggest need, like you mentioned, is something that’s personalized, so let’s say your company swag in particular, having a curated collection that has a really cool Yeti with your logo on it, or a nice sweatshirt with your logo on it, or cap, or a beanie, something like that. Those are really, really highly recommended and suggested things that we have in our collection. So we’ve got, into 2021 we had over 15,000 different products on our platform from 700 suppliers, and we’ve sent over 1.5 million gifts last year, so it’s definitely, I think the experience itself, the personalization of it, is really special, and it makes people feel like there was a lot of thought put into it, as opposed to handing you a gift certificate or gift card that you could potentially either use, or maybe even forget about them if you’re like me.
William Tincup: So a couple things is you’ve unlocked customer onboarding and appreciation, and candidate onboarding and appreciation, and there’s these moments that matter where you can actually, I love that you said that these things are curated, and it’s one of, I’ve actually, I’ve gotten a Snappy Gift before, and it was through an analyst, I was doing an analyst meeting. It was one of my favorite bits because they had 20th things to pick from, and I picked something that I liked, it was rocks glasses for scotch. That’s exactly what I would’ve picked for myself. Now would I have ever gone to a store and picked something? No, of course not. But the fact that it was there and available to me, of course I picked it, and it was wonderful. So how do y’all look at customer onboarding, without giving away your secret sauce, of course, but just when you have a new customer, how do you use your own platform to onboard them, and with candidates, employees, how do you do that as well?
Amy Stoldt: Yeah, so we have the capability of creating campaigns. So you can have a campaign that’s related to, let’s say onboarding, for example. So today we had seven new Snappy people start on our team, everybody this morning came, once they got logged into their IT, into their Gmail for Snappy, they got an email that said, “Welcome to Snappy, here’s your special own gift. If you like this gift claim it, or choose from our remaining collection.” So our customer success team basically sits down, we have customer success teams that get the handover from our sales team, and they sit down with each client and have an onboarding call and get them set up with whatever campaigns they want to launch with.
Some clients will start with one campaign or two, maybe it’s an onboarding, maybe it’s a birthday or an anniversary, let’s say. And the beauty of it is that you can load up all of your employees through a spreadsheet CSD, everything goes into the system, and important dates like birthday and anniversary are loaded in there as well. And so when your birthday hits, the system is programmed so that at 9:00 AM that morning you’re going to get a little email that’s going to say, “Happy two year anniversary, here’s your collection.” You can do that based on budget as well. So let’s say for the first year you want to give $100 budget, and the second year it’s a $200 budget, and you basically can set them up for every single occasion.
Each company’s entire employee database is uploaded into the system, we have some integrations with some good HR systems that are nice and seamless to allow you really the set and forget it kind of ability. The reason, I mean, I love Snappy for many reason, but I have to say, from an HR perspective, the admin in it is little to nothing. I mean, you really, other than adding new team members, and if someone were to the depart you have to remove them so they don’t automatically get a gift, whatever.
William Tincup: Yeah, I could see that being interesting.
Amy Stoldt: Right, your parting gift.
William Tincup: Especially a year later.
Amy Stoldt: Right, yeah. But it is just, the ease of the administration of it even, I know that’s not the most important thing from the behind the scenes.
William Tincup: Oh no, it’s-
Amy Stoldt: But if you’re like me, we have a very small people team, and so having that amazing functionality come out of so little lift is an HR professional’s dream, or engagement person’s special dream.
William Tincup: Well the thing is about, especially when it comes to software, if it isn’t easy to use, we tend to fall in love with a demo, and then we fall, you’ve bought software before, you know how this works, we fall later on down the road because it’s too hard, the lift, the operations of it, or the admin of it is so difficult, and then getting users to use it is so difficult. So ease of use, I think all HR and recruiting software has to be built around that. So I love that y’all have that as a core.
Amy Stoldt: Yep.
William Tincup: The last thing I want to ask you, and it’s an interesting, it’s how do you ritualize appreciation? So you work in a company that, this is what you do for a living.
Amy Stoldt: Yes, exactly.
William Tincup: However, you had a career before that, and you’ve been in situations where people, maybe business leaders, or the board, doesn’t quite get appreciation, maybe you’ve pushed the boulder uphill at different places, and I know that you’ve probably interacted with clients before that this is new for them.
Amy Stoldt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
William Tincup: So what’s your tips on how they ritualize and how they build ceremony, and how they build this muscle memory around appreciating people?
Amy Stoldt: Yeah, I mean, I think it starts on various levels, so it’s more, I think when you think of the lowest piece of it, not lowest or least important, certainly not, but showing appreciation just on a human level, whether it is what we call at Snappy our kudos shout out, about somebody who did something really amazing during the day, helped me with a client, helped me close a deal, helped me, from HR perspective, helped me land this amazing candidate that I’ve been fighting for for weeks to try to win them over to join our company, especially now, as we talk about hiring, I’m sure you’ve talked about this in your show before, hiring is so, so hard. So I do find that having that be the thing that you just, like you said, it’s muscle memory. You never forget to appreciate somebody who does something well, and some people it’s ingrained in and in some people it’s not, and it’s not good or bad, it’s just what you feel as a person getting appreciation from people far outweighs a raise, your 3% merit raise.
William Tincup: Yep.
Amy Stoldt: I mean, at the end of the day, what does that give you? It’s more about how the people around you make you feel. And obviously that stretches into potentially lovely gifting and surprise and delight, but I do find that recognition is huge, not even in a monetary or a physical way, more in a acknowledging into a big group of people that you work with that you did this wonderful thing that you did underneath the radar, and nobody knew about, but somebody knew how important it was to them. And if you can see the way that people feel about your shout out to them, it’s pretty special. And we live and breathe it, we’re engagement, it’s ingrained, I know in some companies it’s not. I mean, there’s so many different ways now, technology, to be able to give these people these ways of appreciating one another. But I do think at the very core it is just about making sure we don’t forget, and even if it’s a small thing that made a huge difference in your day to day, letting that person know how you feel about it and how they made you feel.
William Tincup: It’s interesting, as you were talking I was thinking about how people, the expectation around appreciation is changing.
Amy Stoldt: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes, yeah.
William Tincup: What maybe I would’ve grown up thinking about appreciation, and what was great in appreciation, or maybe what my employees would’ve thought would’ve been great in appreciation, that’s changed. But it was probably never static, so the fact that I thought of it as static was probably dumb, but it’s also probably, as we think about things that are hyper-personalized, we also think about appreciation at your company with employees during, even a single employee, what’s important to them appreciation wise is going to change.
Amy Stoldt: Yes, yes. Yeah, and in our business and our platform I think we’ve a lot of it morph a bit, but I do feel like, somebody said to me the other day, and I love when people say, “Oh, when this is all over.” What’s all over? “When this is all over and we go back to normal.” Normal? I mean, our workplace is forever changed, and I think the way we think about-
William Tincup: In a good way.
Amy Stoldt: Yeah, in an amazing way. I mean, honestly, people are like, this has been the hardest time for human resources professionals, but it has been, talk about a spotlight. I mean, a spotlight on what teams can do for one another, and how important those things that, like you said, somebody might have thought, well, those things aren’t that important. They’re so important now, they’re important to attract, they’re important to retain, they’re important to just have a good company culture. You’re bringing in the right kind of people when people understand the value of that appreciation, and it’s easy. It doesn’t make it easy to bring people in, but it definitely highlights the North Star of how your company feels, your mission, your values. It’s all those things that are really important for people coming in as well. If they don’t see that, they’ve got 700 other jobs right behind you. That and not everybody in the company does it, but people, they’re really looking for these special things that are outside of the box and make them feel really good and want to stick around for a while.
William Tincup: Yeah, appreciate or don’t at your peril.
Amy Stoldt: Yes, exactly, 100%.
William Tincup: I could talk to you forever, thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Amy.
Amy Stoldt: Oh, thank you, it was so great to see you William.
William Tincup: Absolutely, and thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast, until next time.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.