The Joy and Magic of Appreciation in the Workplace
With Aaron Rubens
Kudoboard is a product designed to make people happy. It helps you recognize your employees, celebrate your coworkers and send your friend the most meaningful card they’ve ever received. It was created by Aaron Rubens – a former teacher who dreamed of better ways to communicate positivity in the workplace and beyond.
Aaron Rubens is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kudoboard. Aaron is a Tulane graduate with an MBA from Harvard Business School. His early career was focused on education, having taught high school math at Alta Vista Charter School in Kansas City, joining a highly selective national service corps, Teach for America.
Since Aaron first had the idea to create Kudoboard, the company has added Co-Founder Kyler Deutmeyer and a growing team of 20+ employees. Kudoboard is in use by many of the world’s top organizations including TMobile, LinkedIn, GoFundMe, Airbnb, Shopify and Webflow. Kudoboard has received positive reviews in the media from Harvard Business Review, Lifewire and Business Insider.
This brand story began with appreciation
It started with a simple idea: Aaron’s colleague at Teach for America suggested that they lead their math students in an appreciation exercise.
Each student wrote their name on a piece of paper and passed it around. The rest of the class took turns writing notes of praise and recognition. It made a deep and lasting impact. For years after their students graduated, Aaron would run into them – and they would all mention how special it was. Many of them still keep their piece of paper, referring to the kind words whenever they need a burst of positivity and encouragement.
It sparked an idea for Aaron Rubens – to create a tool that helps people efficiently share appreciation with their friends, families, students and employees.
Celebrate the moments that matter
Soon after he graduated, Aaron was brainstorming ideas for his friend’s thirtieth birthday. He built the first Kudoboard: A mashup of videos from friends around the country, to celebrate his friend’s birthday with everyone no matter where they were.
It was a magic moment. Everyone loved making the Kudoboard, and his friend loved receiving it.
Don’t wait to start until you have every piece of the puzzle
Before Kudoboard had software engineers and a CMO, it had Aaron Rubens. He wasn’t a software specialist, but he was going to do whatever it took to build it.
Aaron started small, by building out Google forms and having people fill them out. He then built them into Powerpoints. The first Kudoboards were made manually by Aaron himself.
When he pitched the idea to his Co-Founder, Aaron had something meaningful to show for all of his work – emotional and compelling testimonials from people who had made and received boards. Passionately, Aaron invited him to explore what Kudoboards could look like if they were more streamlined – making it possible for hundreds of people to spread appreciation to others.
People invest in what matters to them
When Aaron launched Kudoboard, he didn’t intend to charge for it. After discussing it with his Co-Founder, he decided that it added enough value to make it a paid product.
They expected the amount of users to drop, but the opposite occurred – users began seeing Kudoboard as a high-value gift and the amount of customers exploded. Large organizations began using Kudoboard for quarterly workplace celebrations. Now, companies are also using Kudoboard to celebrate Pride Month, welcome new hires and even share exciting job offers with new recruits.
There is so much to learn about using authentic encouragement and appreciation in the workplace. In today’s episode, you’ll be inspired to discover new ways of building a positive work culture!
“There really is this power in giving people permission to say something positive to someone else. But oftentimes, people need that opening. If you can give it to them, that can be something really special.”
“If not everyone is in the office every day, how do we keep them feeling like one team…but not in a heavy-handed way? This is meant to be one of those light-touch tools that keeps people feeling like part of the greater thing they’re working towards.”
“Kudoboard tends to be for quarterly shout-out boards. Or it’s pride month and there’s a board for that. Kudoboard creates moments in time that matter to an organization, and they pull their employees in to celebrate.”
“It’s not another endless feed of content. It creates moments that matter, that we pull people in around.”
“We’re building out the features to make Kudoboard highly useful for larger organizations. We want to make it highly secure and integrated with their other platforms. Longer term, we’re going to continue to build out the usefulness.”
“In recruiting – when someone gets an offer, they can receive a Kudoboard from the hiring team that interviewed them, telling them that they’re super excited to have them on board. It’s all about those little personal touches. If they get three great offers, it’s a gut call. It can be helpful to set a business apart.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
Visit the website for Kudoboard at www.kudoboard.com
Connect with Aaron Rubens on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaronrubens/
Connect with Kudoboard’s Co-Founder Kyler Deutmeyer on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyler-deutmeyer-4739a57?original_referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fin%2Fkyler-deutmeyer-4739a57
Follow Kudoboard on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kudoboard
Discover innovative and culture-building methods of using Kudoboard in your workplace on their Youtube channel. Subscribe at https://www.youtube.com/@kudoboard7945/videos
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