You can’t force happiness: how 3 LA companies keep employees engaged

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How three LA companies keep employees engaged


Keeping your employees engaged — or keeping them at all— can be a difficult hurdle for many startups and tech companies.


In an industry with an unprecedented turnover rate, three LA companies (that are hiring right now) shared their retention strategies as they look to expand their teams.

One of the companies featured on Built in LA is awesome Retention Science, using our Celpax device to improve workplaces:

Founded in 2012, Retention Science has 39 employees in their Santa Monica office. They specialize in targeting, engaging, and retaining existing customers.

Using machine learning algorithms, they predict customer behavior and automate retention campaigns.

We sat down with Matt Glickman, Retention Science’s People Architect, and Happiness Engineer Keely Avery to uncover their keys to keeping employees invested and happy:

Don’t plug holes, find long-term solutions

“The biggest trend I’ve noticed is a lot of these tech companies and startups don’t care about the actual person doing the job as much as getting the job done. They just find someone with a skill set to fix the problem.

That employee might be initially excited if there is a high salary or some equity.

But at the end of the day, 3-6 months down the line, when they’ve worked on the project and finished it, unless that company is actively doing things to keep that developer excited and keep them happy, they’re going to get bored.

And soon they will start looking for a new challenge and a new project somewhere else.”

“Our CEO feels personally responsible for the happiness of his employees”

“We have a happiness engineer. That is literally Keely’s title.

And the main guts of her job is to get the overall zeitgeist of the office and make sure, on a daily basis, people are generally happy.

Something cool we have over here is a physical set of buttons right by the front door of office. A red one and a green one.

And the purpose is that, at the end of the day, you hit the green button if you’ve had a good day or the red button if you’ve had a bad day.

And we’re tracking all the data on Celpax to create reports at the end of the week and the end of the month on the overall happiness or moods of people in the company.”

Personal investment is organic:

“A lot of companies make assumptions about that or map happiness with perks or get-togethers and consider that a good culture.

But really you have to get more strategic than that.

We like to cultivate the feeling of family here and, when we hire, we make sure it is people we want to spend time with. For me, the challenge is finding potential family members.”

Understanding the LA mindset:

“Being in LA, we’re always going to be a little more (and I hate to use this word) ‘laid back’ in comparison to the east coast.

It’s so important to know the feel of your employees here in LA.

The whole idea of finding the right ‘fit’ is something Los Angeles really take to heart.

They have this expectation of all the bells and whistles that go along with a startup like a flexible vacation and a dog-friendly office and a cool looking office.

We have those but those aren’t the things we are selling to candidates.”

Read about the other two companies’ employee retention strategies (that seem pretty cool too) over at BuiltInLA.

Would you push the button

Smiley feedback terminal Celpax

How is your turnover rate?

Looking for a way to measure as you continuously improve your workplace? Copy Retention Science and try our Celpax device.

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