2022 GeekWire Awards – Workplace of the Year

It’s not just ping pong tables and kegs of kombucha. This year’s winner will display the attributes of an exceptional workplace environment, represented by an unmatched company culture, a dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion and employees whose happiness levels radiate no matter where they are located.”

Uplevel has been nominated for Workplace of the Year in the 2022 GeekWire Awards and the judges picked us as a finalist! We think Uplevel is the best place to work, but see for yourself from the nomination below. We need YOU to help us win with your votes. Read our nomination below and cast your vote today!

How we kept our team functioning during the challenging times of the past year

As a startup that came out of stealth three months before the pandemic hit, Uplevel took the challenge as an opportunity to bring its small team even closer. In an immediate response to remote work, Uplevel implemented a committee called ‘The Uplevel Yacht Club’ to come up with creative ideas to maintain the camaraderie already existent and make sure new bonds were developed. These included big initiatives to drive conversations outside of work (like Habitica to form new habits and compete with others), company-wide mental health days – and weeks, Friday game time, a company-wide calendar block during lunch, a stipend for office equipment, and remote events like visiting a zoo (virtually) or a company “Chopped” competition. The results were very successful and led to 100% retention over the first year and 25% growth. 

Having now transitioned to a 100% remote workforce, Uplevel – after months of contemplation, research, and preparation – implemented a four-day workweek experiment from January through March 2022. In an effort to continually innovate to find better ways, the Uplevel team identified measurable metrics to track the success and value of the 4-day workweek for both employees and the business and will determine next steps in March. 

Uplevel’s efforts to build a diverse and equitable workplace

We view this as core to who we are. Our leadership team is 75% female and 30% POC. We’ve brought in guest speakers to share on topics like bias and inclusive meetings as well as employee-led conversations on identity and the value of DEI to our culture and community. Additionally, we’ve invested in external resources and process improvements to help us reduce bias in the interview and onboarding experience for all candidates. We’re committed to furthering our efforts in the next year with a DEI committee, partnership with DEI firms, and more training for leaders and employees on accountability and inclusive leadership.

Cultural values that set us apart, and why it’s important to us

We are guided by two core values: People first and progress over perfection. And we do live by these values. Uplevel was founded on the premise that engineering teams could use data to drive healthier productivity, happier people, and identify burnout before it happens. Because of this laser focus on engineering team effectiveness, Uplevel’s own team is hyper-aware of their own work-life balance, which has significant benefits for mental health and business growth. 

As a start-up looking to compete with more established companies both in business and hiring, actually living by strong cultural values is extremely important for Uplevel. By focusing on people first, Uplevel’s executive team takes care of personal well-being and career development through money and time. This includes annual stipends for both personal development ($500) and professional development ($1500), three full weeks of annual office closures (which started in the early era of COVID when people weren’t taking enough vacations), a monthly company-wide mental health day, unlimited PTO, and flexible working hours. In addition, Uplevel focuses on creating a culture where employees have autonomy over the way in which they achieve their goals. Uplevel leads with trust versus micromanagement. 

Uplevel is solving a problem that’s never been solved and this calls for creative innovation, not perfection. Progress over perfection translates into tri-annual hackathons where everyone takes a pause from the product roadmap to deep-dive into ideas and passion projects for an entire week. This time opens up new ways of working and sparks collaboration between teams. A few Hackathon ideas have become strong parts of the core product, like some of the WFH-focused features. Uplevel also has a roadmap that the team is not afraid to pivot and monthly feature releases that support an experimental and progressive work environment and gives space for changing user needs. Uplevel also uses its own product daily and holds ourselves accountable to improving our processes every two weeks.

By living by these two cultural values, our team of 26+ engineers, designers, and problem-solvers thrives because of the ability to re-imagine and iterate. That kind of flexibility stands out against some of our past experiences at larger corporations that operated on a basis of set structure.

What do you think?

Do you think Uplevel has what it takes to win Workplace of the Year? Vote today and tune in May 12 to hear the winner.

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