Blueboard thinks it has discovered the secret to keeping employees happy. And it doesn’t involve a higher salary, lighter workload, or more vacation days.
Blueboard offers a program with which organizations can reward their employees with experiences. Cofounder Kevin Yip said company culture is extremely important for retaining employees and ensuring they are productive, but many corporate incentive programs fall short.
“While working at PriceWaterhouseCooper, I observed the millions of dollars thrown into ‘work-life balance’ programs,” he told VentureBeat. “After a year in the corporate world, I was getting grossly out of shape, and work became life. Hobbies that I previously thought were a huge part of who I was were nonexistent.”
Blueboard features a wide range of local activities such as skydiving, cooking classes, or massages. Instead of a meaningless gift card, Yip said Blueboard experiences are meant to be memorable and push employees to try new things.
Blueboard cited a study by job information site Career Bliss, which found that the most content workers in America credit their contentment to quality employee incentives, ample benefits, and a great work-life balance. Furthermore a number of studies have shown that happy workers and productive workers. Businesses can make more money by keeping their employees happy, which is why the market for employee incentives is estimated at $38 billion in the U.S.
The tech industry is an extremely competitive job market and attracting (and keeping) the workers is crucial for success. This is partly why Silicon Valley is known for having such great (and even over the top) company perks — for high-demand positions, it is not enough to offer a six-figure salary, free food, or permission to wear sweats to work.
“Companies who have reward/recognition programs and are looking for new ways to incentivize employees,” Yip said. “Some of our early prospective customers are companies who are having retention issues and want to use Blueboard as part of a larger shift in company culture.”
I learned about Blueboard through an act of San Francisco serendipity. Yip was my Lyft driver (he’s doing it to make money while getting his startup off the ground), and as a journalist, I couldn’t help but ask questions.
Blueboard is not without its competitors, namely AnyPerk. It also competes with internal rewards programs and tangentially with startups making software to simplify the administration of rewards. It is based in San Francisco.