The Silicon Review
‘Rethinking Employee Engagement.’
YouEarnedIt is an Austin, Texas, based SaaS HR technology platform that redefines the way companies engage with their employees. By providing tools to connect, reward, reveal and report in real-time, YouEarnedIt can consolidate new and existing employee engagement initiatives into one, easy to use mobile platform for teams of all sizes.
Since launching in 2013, YouEarnedIt has held true to its “employee-first” philosophy to driving employee engagement by staying true to the focus on building a platform that gets at the heart of what today’s employees need to engage and perform. YouEarnedIt is able to scale the very core of your organization’s culture, and provides real-time recognition, customizable challenges, meaningful feedback, and actionable analytics to deliver a powerful return on investment.
In Conversation with Autumn Manning, CEO and Co-Founder
Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform?
We created YEI out of equal parts passion and need after identifying a real gap in the industry. Our founders bring a variety of backgrounds including behavioral psychology, experience with large scale organizational development initiatives, and building strong tech platforms. We also understood the critical nature of companies’ needing to focus on the employee experience to drive results. When we looked at market and realized that most companies were doing it either with very poor technology or from a very top down rewards centric focus, we thought there was a huge opportunity to fill a need in the marketplace. I can’t imagine not ever working in this space. I’m incredibly passionate and curious about how to drive behavior change and how to incorporate technology to do it at scale. YouEarnedIt wasn’t a company born out of a desire to find a vertical. It was founded out of what we were already doing and a desire to make it better.
What learnings helped you to set YouEarnedIt up?
My background in working with the HR market really helped launch YouEarnedIt. It’s something I’ve done my whole career, and I’m incredibly passionate about the industry. Additionally, working across entire functional set of my previous business—from building the assessment, coaching and technology, to business development and customer success to creating a product and organization—were vital experiences to running a start-up. I was able to take away both things I would do differently, and experiences I would build upon, including how to build the technology side, and implement Human Capital Management focused tools and practices, and continuously evolve them.
What do you feel are the reasons behind your product popularity?
Additionally, there is a lot of confusion around what employee engagement means. There are many solutions out there that solve a piece of the puzzle, but not the core issue of driving employee engagement in a way that impacts bottom-line performance metrics. YouEarnedIt is able to empower companies to solve this core issue with an approach that is not another top down HR initiative that people don’t want to use.
Take us through the process of expanding your company over the years.
We were never a company who believed in “we’ll build the product and they will come.” From the beginning we had a focus on increasing revenue and defining operational metrics. With metrics, it’s important to know not only if they change at different stages of your business, but also that they are moving in the right direction. Overall, you listen to lots of things including industry trends, shifts in the space, and competitive threats. It is important to know and be smart about competition, but not let it define your approach. I’m a fan of aggressively pursuing your vision, but doing it in a thoughtful way and not defensively reacting to what others are putting out in the market. Finally, looking at setting up the appropriate pricing structure in a way that fits your customers’ needs and drives profit. If a customer is not willing to pay for a product, then ultimately you’re building something where a need doesn’t exist.
How does YouEarnedIt contribute to the global IT platform and society at large?
It’s been really interesting to see the trends in the market. We built the business on robust API from beginning. We knew to be a true people operating system, we couldn’t predict the systems our customers needed to integrate with and why. So seeing the trend in increased security practices and standards has forced us to invest in areas faster than typical starts-ups would have done five years ago. We see that a lot of our customers have a blend of talent and tech because it reflects today’s workforce. So we’re enabling talent through better technology by weaving YEI across the landscape of our customers.
“When you make employee engagement simple, you make it powerful.”