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How this COVID-Native Startup is Finding Belonging Remotely Through a Culture of Appreciation

Handprint Co-Founder Mathias Boissonot (left). Source: Handprint

At a time where the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly rampant, more companies and individuals alike are stepping in to address the issue at hand and contribute to climate actions in their own way. Built on a mission to simplify sustainability and enable anyone to go green, Handprint is a Regeneration  as  a  Service platform that allows companies and customers to create a positive impact in every business transaction that they make.

From the man himself, we were able to catch up with Handprint Co-Founder Mathias Boissonot who gave a glimpse into his entrepreneurial journey, how Handprint works, and the highs and lows of running a COVID-native startup from the ground up.

Sustainability Made Simple, with Handprint

If you’re already familiar with the concept of a ‘carbon footprint’, a Handprint takes on a similar idea; just the other way around. Rather than summing up all the negative impact one leaves on the planet, a Handprint is ‘the sum of all the actions you take to create a positive impact on the planet’.

Handprint Banner
Source: Handprint

Their technology cuts 80% of the costs that are otherwise absorbed by intermediaries. Handprint is used by the largest multinationals like Lazada to the smallest brands (using Handprint’s free Shopify plugin) to regenerate the planet as they sell products online.

In a world where sustainability is often used as a marketing tactic to lure customers in, the Handprint team upholds transparency from all fronts and shows you exactly where your money goes, how the money is used on the ground, and what are the benefits for the planet of every contribution in terms of carbon absorption, biodiversity support, social impact, etc.

The Reality of Building a COVID-Native Team From the Ground Up

One of the silver linings amidst this global pandemic is the prevalence of remote work and COVID-native teams. From hiring to product development, these are startups were built entirely remote, just like the Handprint team - who has their Product team in France, their operations team in Singapore, their Impact team split between India and the US, and still be able to function and operate just like any other company; that’s what makes COVID-native startups unique.

While this seems like the dream work set up for our current situation, not all that glitters is gold.

I want to build a company where I would have LOVED to work as an employee. Building a sense of belonging and a culture when your first 12 months of operation are purely done over zoom calls is quite challenging.

— Mathias Boissonot, Co-Founder of Handprint

Remote teams often struggle with a lack of communication, feelings of isolation, and figuring out how to nurture team relationships while being apart. For the guys at Handprint, some of their biggest challenges were cross-collaboration and building a strong remote culture.

With over 20 team members spread all over the world including countries such as France, the USA, and the Philippines, it was a lot harder to celebrate big and small wins with tangible rewards or company dinners, organise team bonding activities, and other incentives to motivate employees and strengthen team culture.

That’s where PraisesPal stepped in.

Building Strength and Morale Through Recognition

When asked why they decided to use PraisePal, Mathias said that it was “a no brainer” for the Handprint team. They wanted a simple yet effective way to facilitate cross-collaboration between teams and reward employees efficiently.

Instant gratification, public recognition and just receiving a “thank you” note are actually such powerful drivers of motivation, and naturally promote a good atmosphere in the team.

Mathias Boissonot, Co-Founder of Handprint

Through PraisePal’s unique points-based system, COVID-native startups and remote teams are able to publicly recognise and reward employees for their hard work and efforts. These points can then be exchanged for over 1,000 rewards worldwide, which have been purposefully curated based on the demand of each country.

When credit is given instantly when it’s due, employees feel valued and recognised, which then boosts morale and satisfaction; two elements that are essential for remote teams to continue thriving especially in a global pandemic. When our team members aren’t physically present to give us a pat on the back or a high five, these small yet impactful actions are the fuel that keeps us going.

Just take it from Mathias, who shares his favourite PraisePal experience:

“I told my team: Do NOT spend (reward) points on me and I ended up ended up receiving the nicest thank you note and birthday message the same week.”

RewardNation Use Case - User Recognition Message received by Handprint
Messages Mathias received from his teammates on Handprint’s PraisePal feed. Source: Mathias Boissonot

This shows that no matter your job title or pay grade, what may seem like a minuscule gesture could just be the extra boost a colleague from the other side of the world needs.

Staying Connected Through Cross-Border Recognition

Whoever thought creating a vibrant company culture with a habit of team recognition (while being entirely remote, mind you) was impossible clearly hasn’t heard of Handprint’s story. Remote work may not entirely replace the connection that in-person teams have, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less impactful.

The Handprint team’s experience with PraisePal’s employee recognition tool just proves that remote employee engagement doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s all about finding the right platforms that can meet your needs and build a positive habit in your company culture; no matter where you are in the world.

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