This article originally appeared on BuiltInSeattle by Gorden Gottsegen
There’s a difference between working hard and working smart. And while it seems like software engineers are always working hard, that doesn’t mean that they’re always doing the latter.
This was a problem the co-founders of Seattle startup Uplevel experienced firsthand. It’s why they went about creating a way for engineering teams to more accurately assess their job performance, an effort resulting in an official launch and $7.5 million in seed funding the company announced Wednesday.
The company has been operating in stealth mode since it first formed in 2018. In that time, Uplevel has partnered with 10 companies representing almost 4,000 engineers total.
Although conversations about productivity tends to happen at the management level, CEO and co-founder Joe Levy said working smarter ultimately benefits employee morale, too.
“If you’re an engineer, you just want to see your stuff go live. No one wants to do a bunch of work and have it not be appreciated,” Levy told Built In. “So if we can help you do that a little bit faster, a little bit easier, with a little bit less friction, that’s just going to improve your overall engagement significantly.”
Uplevel gets a holistic view of how engineers are spending their time working by using machine learning and organizational science to aggregate and analyze data from tools like Slack, Jira, Office 365 and Github. The product can spot if an engineer is spread too thin between multiple projects, or if an engineer doesn’t have enough heads-down work time scheduled in their calendar.
The company aims to help make engineers feel appreciated and adequately utilized, something Levy stresses is key to any tech company’s success. Good software engineers are especially valuable and often hard to come by. That’s why companies with large engineering teams should make the effort to keep employee retention and engagement high.
For this reason, Uplevel is also building an industry benchmark tool that compares the effectiveness of an engineering team to those at other similar companies. Levy says this is something that Uplevel customers are asking for, noting that competition between companies isn’t only about who can build the better product, but also who can retain their employees.
Now that the company is out of stealth mode, it’s looking to build out its team. Uplevel is currently hiring for product management, engineering and data science roles. This will help the company build out more features and attract more customers in the future.