Today’s episode is all about gratitude. Today’s guest is Andrew Horn, a serial social, entrepreneur, speaker, and writer and he’s in Brooklyn, New York. He’s a global shaper at the World Economic Forum. He was selected for startup Boosts 33 under-33 list for 2017. He received the mayor’s community service award in Washington D.C. at the age of 23.

In 2014, Andrew launched which the New Yorker recently called Hallmark 2.0. Tribute is what we’re really going to talk about today. Andrew is on a deep mission to spread gratitude and meaningful connection in the world and is responsible for over 50 thousand tributes since he launched.

I’m extremely grateful because Andrew offered all of you, all of my podcast listeners, 50 percent off their first tribute and the code is rwpodcast-all lowercase, no spaces and it’s valid through December. Go ahead listen to the podcast. He gives the code on it, but I wanted to also note that there is a great code. 50 percent off and the cost is only $99 anyway, so it’s relatively inexpensive.

So in today’s interview, Andrew and I discuss how Tribute was formed, how it can be used in the workplace, the science behind gratitude, and some simple systems companies can put in place to foster gratitude. After our conversation, I just felt so good. I felt uplifted and I hope you are, too.

Full Transcript

Jen Arnold: [00:04:57] Andrew, welcome to the Redesigning Wellness podcast! I’m so glad to have you on.

Andrew Horn: [00:05:01] Thank you for having me, Jen. We’re excited to be here.

Jen Arnold: [00:05:04] And I just want to give a shout out to Sara Rauch from WELCOA who connected us. And you spoke there and didn’t get to hear you, but I heard great things about you.

Andrew Horn: [00:05:11] Amazing conference. Our first in that kind of the wellness industry, but incredibly surrounded by a group of people that are integrated into the corporate world and focus on making people happier, healthier, more connected. So happy to see that that’s introducing us into more amazing experiences like this. And connecting us with folks like you.

Jen Arnold: [00:05:31] Well great. Tell us about Tribute, your company, and how it all got started. What inspired it?

Andrew Horn: [00:05:36] Yeah. So the easiest way to explain what Tribute is is to tell a very quick story about how it all started. And essentially on my 27 birthday my girlfriend, now fiance, Micki decided to create me a really incredible gift. So she gathered 25 of my closest friends and family members, got each of them to submit a one minute video telling you why they love me, and then compiled those into one video montage.

So when I got back to our apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the night of my 27th birthday, I walk into the apartment she had planned this massive surprise party so everyone jumps out surprises me. Halfway through the party she jumps up on her table and she says all right everyone in the living room, and she gathers everyone in there. and she sits me right in the back of the room and I have no idea what’s going on.

So she puts this image up on the wall and it’s like a projection screen she had rented. And she hits play. And so what I didn’t know is that all these people had taken the time to share why they love me. What they appreciated most about me. And so I sat in the back of the room watching all these things stream onto the wall. And within a couple of minutes, I was bawling my eyes out because it was really one of the most powerful emotional experiences of my life. Kind of overwhelming, you know?

I think that as someone who’s struggled with some social anxiety, self-doubt like many of us do. Literally more than 60 percent of us identify with struggles with social discomfort, anxiety, things of that nature to have this collective outpouring of love you know allowed me to really love myself in a way that I never had before that moment. And so I was just so impacted by this experience and it came out of it, I looked at my girlfriend Micky and said how did you do this. And she said well, it sucked.

Jen Arnold: [00:07:16] It probably took her forever!

Andrew Horn: [00:07:17] Exactly. A friend forever translates to about 15 hours of e-mailing people hundreds of times, literally, to collecting large video files through Dropbox drive, text message, e-mail. And then last but not least, editing everything together in iMovie.

So within five minutes of that Tribute finishing, I walked into my bedroom and I was sitting there and I had a light bulb moment. It was just that it should not be this difficult to create what I knew to be the most meaningful gift on earth. And so we started a Tribute then and there, which was basically a simple movement to share the experience of creating tributes with anyone in the world and to make it easy.

And so ended up connecting with an incredible co-founder, Rory, who sitting here right next to me. Who is I’d say the brains of the bunch. And within a year we had built Tribute, which makes the possibility of building one of these tributes 15 minutes instead of 15 hours. Drop in a list of e-mails, and whether that is for a birthday, a wedding, or a retirement party to automate the process of collecting videos, compiling those together for you, giving you a beautiful video gift you to give on just about any occasion.

Jen Arnold: [00:08:19] And how long have you guys been in business? When do you start?

Andrew Horn: [00:08:21] Yeah so that was 2014 when I received the first tribute. And then by January of 2015, we had launched in beta and were creating videos and you know, charging people from the beginning. Just basically we decided this was a product we wanted people to pay for and value was a gift and people were open to that. And so yeah.

So now we are really you know three years into running the business, and you know now we are no longer just a start up working out of our house. We’re working with Fortune 500 brands like Bed Bath and Beyond and major nonprofits like Susan G. Komen Foundation. And we integrate into hospital systems like the Cleveland Clinic. So it’s been really fun to start to see this kind of bridge into the public mind and see how people are embracing just that meaningful communication in the digital age.

Jen Arnold: [00:09:10] Yeah, I wish I would’ve known about you guys. I think I was telling you when we had the pre-podcast chat that last summer when a friend’s, now two summers ago, when I was her last—whatever, it doesn’t matter, but her 40th birthday. And instead of doing video, because that was way beyond me, I did it old school. Like send me your e-mails and I’ll put them into this nice box. And if I would have known that this was available, I would have done it in a heartbeat because all of that stuff is just so time intensive and the video just takes it to another level. So, sounds great.

Andrew Horn: [00:09:40] Yeah. We hear that from people all the time which lets us know that we are doing something right. You know, which is building something that people honestly need.

Jen Arnold: [00:09:47] Right. So let’s translate this to organizations and employee recognition. How did you start transitioning from the personal into organizations?

Andrew Horn: [00:09:56] Yeah. You know since we started offering tribute to the public, we had companies and organizations that were reaching out and using it for various use cases. We think of it as an employee of the year or a retirement celebration. But there was really one pivotal moment where we realized that this was an opportunity and something that we should invest more time into.

So, we did a retirement tribute for a woman named Libby and she was retiring from an organization called Steelcase. And so Steelcase is a massive company. They do a lot of corporate enterprise furniture sales. And so any time you step into for like an office park, they oftentimes they’re doing a lot of furniture.

So we did this Tribute for Libby and the day after it was delivered, we got sent photos of her sitting in this room with all of her peers and tears coming down her face. And it was a really positive experience. But I’ll never forget that when she reached out, she sent us an e-mail and she said you know, thank you so much. This has been literally one of the most meaningful gifts of my life.

And the last line of her e-mail sticks with me to this day. And she said, “I didn’t know they cared this much. I didn’t know they cared this much.” And I just sat there looking at that, and this woman had been there for 35 years of her life. And you know here she is retiring. And for someone who’s given so much of their time, their energy, their spirit to an organization, to people, to not know exactly how valued and appreciated they are is a failure of the leaders and the people of that company.

And I’m not saying that it was Steelcase, I think that it’s kind of endemic to our corporate culture and how we have viewed work in the past. But you know, the reality and some of the stuff that we’ve learned about since we started to investigate and invest in this space is that you know we’re going to spend 35 percent of our lives at work. And so when you really think about that, you’re going to spend more time with your coworkers than you are with your best friends.

And as leaders if we really think about that time and that opportunity, you know we have one of the biggest opportunities to impact transformation, happiness, well-being in the lives of our employees. And so when we kind of took that anecdote from Libby and then started to investigate the area of employee recognition, which is a new concept for me because again I had built three companies before this but all of them were small, some 50 people.

And so it’s really kind of at that 40 person mark where people start to think about employee recognition kind of at scale and start looking at employee recognition programs. I started to like uncover all the statistics about employee recognition and things like Gallup did a poll in 2014 and they said that 90 percent of all employee recognition is based on tenure, which means that it’s based on people sticking around. That’s your five, 10, 15 year and I understand that. And that’s something that should exist.

But Gallup also showed that those 10 year-based rewards had zero impact on performance and engagement improvements. So again it’s just this kind of like this thing that has been piggybacked and people expect, but it has no impact on what they’re doing there. And that, what we learned is that, the real driver of this powerful thing called discretionary effort, and this is why engagement matters.

Discretionary effort is when people feel connected to their work and to their people when they’re engaged and they go the extra mile. And the way that we get to discretionary effort is really through peer-to-peer recognition. So it’s not just your senior level leaders recognizing down. It is the people that you work with sharing their appreciation in the moment. And it’s based off of performance, not based off of tenure.

And that’s another big distinction there. It’s based on performance and not tenure. And so here we are, you know, we’re uncovering this industry. We’ve already built this tool that allows people to share their appreciation and gratitude more easily, and we can absolutely tell you more about how we do that and how we make it easier for people to share their appreciation more effectively.

But it was really when we started to understand that this was not just a business opportunity, but that it was something that we cared deeply about in a way that we could significantly do what as a company we’re here to do, which is to spread gratitude and human connection in the world. And if we can do that in the workplace, I think that we can have a massive impact.

Jen Arnold: [00:14:15] So, why gratitude? You mentioned a little bit about kind of how you got into it and obviously made an impact on you. But what’s the research behind gratitude’s effect on the workplace?

Andrew Horn: [00:14:24] Oh, yeah absolutely. Well you know I’m one of my favorite quotes is from

Tony Robbins and he says,”if you don’t have time for gratitude, you don’t have time for your best life.”

And it’s this idea, you know, first of all to start by explaining what is gratitude exactly. And gratitude is just the state of being thankful. And you can be grateful for the past, you can be grateful for the present, you can be grateful for the future.

You know I oftentimes think people neglect future gratitude and anticipatory gratitude, but that’s a thing as well. And we oftentimes relegated it as this nice thing and don’t actually think the impact that it has on our brains and our bodies. But you know there’s recent research coming out and talks about how gratitude lifts our emotional well-being. It literally boosts our self-esteem. It improves our resilience, ability to deal with trauma, lowers our risk of depression.

All the stats are coming out of this incredible institute called the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. And so the Templeton Foundation, incredible non-profits profits, funded a lot of really cool research. So that’s how it’s impacting our brains.

But even our bodies. You know when we actually practice gratitude consistently, it can heighten our immune system and our ability to fight disease with you know increased counts of white blood cells. We have decreased stress hormones like cortisol by up to 25 percent. Decreased blood pressure and heart rate variability.

And so literally just practicing gratitude consistently can transform not only your happiness, but literally your emotional and physical well-being. And so if we can get people to express gratitude, which is one of the simplest things to do, we can have a significant impact on happiness, emotional well-being and physical well-being.

And one of my favorites stats about the how we actually tap into expressing gratitude and the effect on happiness is the Greater Good Science Center. They had this exercise where they had people doing a gratitude journal. So literally just writing down what they’re grateful for every single day for 30 days. And most of the participants, the net increase in subjective happiness was 25 percent.

Imagine if you could take a 60 second act every day for 30 days and you would be 25 percent happier. There there’s nothing else on the planet that can do that for you. You know what I mean. It’s just 60 seconds a day. So yeah. So that’s how gratitude really does impact us in a way that matters for people that care about their employees.

Jen Arnold: [00:16:44] I’ve used that gratitude journal that you referred to the U.C.-Berkeley. They’ve got a great online tool that anyone can use, organizations can use and I stumbled upon it and it was nice app.

Andrew Horn: [00:16:54] That’s cool. I love it. Yeah, it’s called 4THANX. So for the number And a great tool, but again you know it’s just that one thing a day. And you know if you’re like me, you’ve been struggling to find your meditation practice for some time, and it can be difficult to find 10 20 minutes at the beginning and end of a day. But one of the things that allowed me to ease into that path of building a sustainable habit was integrating gratitude meditation.

So on those days where maybe I don’t have time for a full meditation, what I will do is I will wake up in the morning and I’ll close my eyes and I’ll just say, “what are three things that you’re grateful for? And what are three things that you’re looking forward to?”

And so regardless of the state of mind that you woke up with, if you were conscious of three things that are going good in your life or that have happened that you’re grateful for and three things that you’re looking forward to, which every human being on the planet has three things are grateful for and three things are looking forward to.

And so you know when you start though it’s kind of like this like gratitude Oreo, you know? You’re just in the middle of–you’re the cream filling in that. And that’s 60 seconds. And so it’s like if you understand how that can impact your happiness and you tell yourself you don’t have 60 seconds to do that, then it’s time to evaluate your priorities and what you’re really put your time to.

Jen Arnold: [00:18:14] You may have just named this podcast episode Building a Gratitude Oreo. I’ll take it, Andrew! That’s good.

Andrew Horn: [00:18:21] I’ll take it!

Jen Arnold: [00:18:21] You talked about future gratitude. Is that what you meant when you said just looking forward to something in the future?

Andrew Horn: [00:18:27] Yeah, absolutely. So think about this. So it’s again, it’s you know, I have an opportunity. We’re doing an art project with Tribute in Mexico in San Miguel. And I when I think about that trip and what we’re going to build there, my body gets goosebumps and I’m excited. You know what I mean?

And so that appreciation of what’s going to happen there is I get to experience this anticipatory joy of the things that haven’t even happened yet. And so like that’s what I mean is it oftentimes when people think of the things that they’re grateful for, they appreciate and they express that as the things that have happened in the past or the things that are out there in the moment. And that’s really important.

And I would say that the most important type of gratitude to express is that for your peers. We can definitely talk about that later in the podcast. But that talking about the things that you’re looking forward to gives you an entire new breadth of things to be grateful for and to appreciate. And to actually feel that joy in the moment is still being present while also thinking about things that are in the future.

Jen Arnold: [00:19:25] Right. And if you don’t have anything to look forward to maybe you need to go find something. But I mean that’s really I think a sign of where you are and in a current state like if you’re going , “oh I’ve got nothing to look forward to.” Then maybe you need to adjust and get a few things on your calendar to be excited.

Andrew Horn: [00:19:41] Absolutely. I think that again it’s that by, you know, a lot of times I think that when we have anxiety, it’s because we’re stuck in the present moment and we’re not sure where we’re going and what to do. And even that practice of appreciating some of the things that you’re looking forward to, it it gives you somewhat of a north star of like here’s something that’s going right, that’s ahead, that’s not grounded in like the anxiety the nerves of the present moment. So it’s a cool, powerful thing that again is very simple, but a nice thing for people to be conscious of.

Jen Arnold: [00:20:09] I need to get something on my calendar. Thank you for the gentle reminder. Maybe when the baby turns one. There is definitely going to be a trip planned.

Andrew Horn: [00:20:17] There you go. I am almost there as well.

Jen Arnold: [00:20:21] OK. So I’ve been in the workplace. Not anymore. But being in corporate America, not a lot of people express gratitude. Like it ends up being at the end of a big project, or maybe occasionally a performance review, or as you said at the end of their tenure. So what are some simple systems that companies can put in place to really foster that feeling of gratitude and encourage people to do it?

Andrew Horn: [00:20:43] Well you know what I’ll do is, and I want to emphasize this again, is that because I don’t just want to speak about the tactics before helping people understand why it’s so important to think practically and strategically about this, is because in the workplace you just said it’s that people don’t express their appreciation that often.

It’s because culturally this type of expression, this type of emotional conversation, is not normalized or celebrated by leaders within an organization. And it’s not done because it wasn’t celebrated or normalized by the leaders before them.

And so what we think about because this as really being a gratitude catalyst in your organization of saying that this is such an incredible tool that we can leverage to make our people happier and more connected to one another. And there’s a lot of statistics, and we call this the cycle of ingratitude, and it’s literally you know recent research coming out of Warden talks about how 60 percent of all employees that they surveyed said that they expressed gratitude zero times a year at work.

Jen Arnold: [00:21:39] Zero?!

Andrew Horn: [00:21:40] Zero times at work. Sixty percent of people. They never expressed gratitude or do so perhaps once a year. Which is crazy.

There are even some leaders who are actually expressing that 35 percent of leaders who are surveyed certainly thought that expressing gratitude would lead people to take advantage of them. They thought that it showed a place of weakness. But you know supervisors often tend to feel that sometimes you can think that gratitude being expressed by them can be inauthentic.

And so they don’t express it. And sometimes it’s a thing that’s coming again from the top because if our leaders aren’t expressing gratitude, then you know again no one else is going to do it. But there’s a lot of research that shows that again, people believe that grateful bosses, people who actually show their appreciation openly and often, 90 percent of respondents said that those bosses are going to be more effective.

So again the nerves that we may have about doing this type of stuff is contrary to what the research says that people want this type of expression at work. So that’s kind of what we’re up against and why we need to embrace this and really think about it structurally. And you know, the thing that I always want to think about is we have individual communication techniques that people can use.

But what are the systems that you can put in place that really transform your organization? And so one of the first things I think about is really just transforming your organization with peer to peer systems. And one of the simplest things that I would recommend is, you know especially for some people who may be listening to this you know hopefully we got people that are at companies with thousand employees and where people who got 10.

Most companies these days have an internal messaging network. So whether that’s a startup like ours and your using something like Slack or that’s a large organization with a thousand people using something like Yammer. Whatever your network is where you are communicating with each other back and forth. One of the simplest things that people can do, and this will take you no more than an hour to set this up and get it out to your entire organization, is set up a channel called gratitude or call it props.

And literally, you’re going to create a specific channel that provides a context for this type of communication. And then you’re going to send an e-mail out to your employees and you’re going to talk about some of the stuff we mentioned here today. “We’re going to spend 35 percent of our life together. We do so much to help one another. And we want to celebrate that type of recognition and appreciation.

So any time someone does something great, someone helps you, someone leans in on a project where you needed them. Here’s the place where you shout them out.” So now what you’ve done is you’ve provided the context. You’ve told your employees. You told your coworkers, your peers, that this type of recognition and appreciation is celebrated is supported and it’s something that’s a part of your culture. And just by putting that context around it, you’ve removed some of the anxiety that we talked about before about why people don’t share.

But so when you can just show people that it is OK, that it is going to be celebrated, immediately set up a system that can exist on its own, and now you’re going to get that peer to peer recognition happening much more often. Because anytime something good happens, when Sally stayed late and absolutely nailed the designs at our next presentation, rather than just thinking that to yourself, you know exactly where you’re going to go to share that.

Not just with Sally, with the whole company. So that’s a system of gratitude that you can set up on your internal messaging network. And one of the easiest ones that I would put in here after is that for most companies they have a weekly standup. So they’re coming together on a Monday or on a Friday.

And so again, if you’re a leader, if you’re organizing one of these meetings or even if you’re just a part of it, just recommend and say, “hey I think that to be a great idea if we closed out this weekly meeting with props.” Just actually open that conversation up and say, “hey is there anyone here who really stood out stepped up this week?” If so, call him out.

And again by leaders actually showcasing that this type of communication is celebrated and supported, you’re going to normalize it in your organization and you’re going to get more of this peer-to-peer recognition, which is what we’re really after. So those are two simple systems that companies can use to get people expressing more gratitude for people.

Jen Arnold: [00:25:36] I think those are all great ideas. It’s got my mind turning a little bit. And when I was in my last organization, we actually had a system called Props where you can send your peers notes of gratitude and I really enjoyed it. It was something that you always liked receiving and also like giving.

And I think what you said is, I think some leaders can take the people who are high performers or really contributing and they could maybe forget to say thank you because they just kind of assume that Sally is going to stay late and do that presentation. And you just kind of forget. Are there anything, is there anything, that a manager in particular could do? You just mentioned one, open and close a team meeting with gratitude. But just to remind themselves how important it is?

Andrew Horn: [00:26:19] Yeah. I mean absolutely. Well again, it’s you know look at the research here that 90 percent of all employees kind of said, in the largest pool of people when it comes to employee recognition, said that grateful bosses, people that actively show appreciation are going to be more successful.

So, in terms of being an effective leader, if you’re conscious of that, then actively sharing your appreciation is something that you want to start to do. And then I think that something that you can think about as a leader is really how you are sharing that appreciation. And so there’s a few things.

We’ll start with three. And the first is that again it’s that appreciation needs to be shared in the moment for it to be most effective. And so what that means is that when someone does something and when you feel something inside of you, which is just like wow that was really impressive. Thank you for doing this, you want to remove all the blocks between you expressing that. So it’s our motto here of If you have anything nice to say say it all. And so basically just right there, is when those things come up, remove all the barriers and just become a conduit for gratitude. Share that stuff in the moment.

Second is this great concept that we think of called I Love You Because. And this is something that was inspired by a great book by Robert Shields Cialdini called Influence. And what he said is that it is not your statement of affection that impacts the recipient. It is your explanation of it. And so it’s not I love you, it’s I love you because. And so you think about that is that when we say, “i love you,” it’s a very meaningful, powerful statement.

But when we’ve said it so many times it potentially loses some of it’s value, it might not become as authentic or long lasting as saying I love you because you are the funniest person I know. I love you because you’re always there for me. I love you because you’re always the last person to leave any of my parties. Whatever it may be. Whatever that reason is.

And so that same concept applies for bosses that are sharing their thanks in the office. Thank you for doing this. So rather than just saying thank you or good work, and the explanation there show them that you really mean it. So say, “thank you for doing this. This is the best work that I’ve ever seen you do.” “Thank you for doing this. This is a really huge client for us and we really need to step up here. Thanks for doing this.” “Thank you for staying late this weekend. I really need to spend some time for my wife. And you know that was a huge time for us.” It is that by adding descriptors on to our good works, on to our thank yous, the recipient can feel that we are being more authentic, that we really mean it.

And the affection that we’re sharing is going to be more deeply felt. And that matters. And so that idea of love because is really, really important there. And so that’s the idea of I love you because, and then the second is this idea of unifying the conversation. And one of the things that we talked about is a system can be after a meeting to actually set the stage for people to recognize one another. But also this idea of unifying the conversation is oftentimes, you know, we find ourselves at long lunch tables with coworkers and it’s fragmented and people are talking about all this other stuff.

But one of the biggest opportunities that we have as leaders is to unify the conversation around meaningful things, and gratitude can be one of those things. And so what I’d also implore other organizational leaders to do is to be those conversation catalysts.

And so if you’re at a birthday lunch with a coworker, rather than everyone just having individual conversations around a table, stop for a second and say, “hey it’s Sally’s birthday! Everyone got on the table and say one thing you appreciate about Sally.” So now you’ve opened it up so that every single person who’s there has an opportunity to share something nice about Sally. So even if it’s just Sally’s the funniest person. Whatever it might be.

You’re going to all these people a chance to express gratitude. Or if you’re going to make it personal, it’s not about someone else, it’s what’s one thing you’re really looking forward to? What was your favorite thing you did this past weekend?Have people talking about their favorites because favorites is always an expression of gratitude when you really think about it. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had? What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on? What’s your favorite sports memory? What’s your favorite movie of all time? Favorites are gratitude. And it’s a really easy, accessible way. And so when we unify the conversation on favorites, again we can get people expressing gratitude in a really simple way.

So those are three ways that leaders can start to think about gratitude/recognition is that: if you have anything nice to say, say it all. Remember I love you because and those descriptors, and again unify the conversation.

You have to be the person who’s brave enough to say that everyone here doesn’t want to have fragmented conversations. They want to unite with people. That’s what makes us feel good. That’s what we’re engineered to do as homosapiens. And so just by asking simple prop questions and providing this to a group, you can really connect people in meaningful expressions of gratitude.

Jen Arnold: [00:31:00] Great ideas, Andrew! And I am really thinking about that I love you because, just thinking about how often we say I love you to our significant other or our kid and not really describing what we love about them. I think I am going to start implementing that this evening.

Andrew Horn: [00:31:14] Just do it. It’s powerful. It’s like it’s one of the simplest things that you do. Again it’s all you have to do is become aware of that word. And when you say I love you, you are saying it because you mean it. There is a reason behind it. And so when you say I love you, there are other words and explanations behind it that you’ve just conditioned yourself not to say in that moment. And so if you just take the time to be a little bit more thoughtful, those words will impact the recipient in a much deeper, long lasting way. And so it’s a really beautiful challenge for the self to actually look at those.

Jen Arnold: [00:31:48] So how can Tribute be used I guess a little bit more frequently? Cause we talked about the, you know, someone’s 30 year anniversary or an annual thing, but tell me some other ways tribute can be used in an organization.

Andrew Horn: [00:31:59] Yeah, absolutely. So one of the favorite things that we’re doing for organizations is we are building these tribute landing pages. And so one of the things that we learned about employee recognition is that for a lot of the big companies to do this, there’s a lot of upfront expenses that are associated with setting up one of their employee recognition programs for your organization.

And so what we said is why don’t we just set up landing pages, make tributes available to employees, tell them that it’s a service, and then employers will only pay for the tributes that employees are actually creating for one another.

So an example of this would be is a company like Zappos. So they’re one of our clients. And what we do for them is we create a page, and you can even check it out. It’s And what they do is they send a memo out to all their employees and they say again gratitude and employee recognition is a big part of our culture. We want people to know how supported and appreciated they are by one another.

So on any major occasion, whether that is a birthday or that as a work anniversary. Whether that is retirement, a baby shower. If you want to create one of these video gifts for another employer, go ahead and start your Tribute here. And we’ll pick up the tab.

So now what you do is you’ve removed all the financial barriers for anyone to create one of these videos for a coworker. So again you allow peers to create these videos for one another. And those pages are free to set up. So any company that wants to create one of those pages and just e-mail us at and we’ll be able to set one of those pages up.

And your employees can start doing that for one another. And then we have other companies who actually basically integrated Tribute fully as an employee recognition tool. So you think about the big work anniversaries, like the one year, a five year a 10 year anniversary. You know, again tenure based rewards are not the most impactful form of recognition, but it is an important part and one that we should keep.

But you know, oftentimes people are getting things like trophies and backpacks. And it’s a nice token. Sure, it feels good. But how much more deeply connected would an employee be if on their five year anniversary, they got a video from all their media coworkers telling them here’s why I love working with you. Here’s why I appreciate you. And so what we’ve also done is work with HR teams and systemize tributes as one of these Ten-Year based rewards.

You know, when someone’s at that one year mark and they’re basically now they’re really kind of linked into your organization, they have a full field, they’re connected to employees. What’s the best way to deepen that relationship with your organization? To make them feel appreciated while they’re there. And so it’s a really great way to make those tenure based rewards much more powerful with something like a Tribute.

Jen Arnold: [00:34:35] And one of the things that we talked about, which I think you know I would love to use you guys for, is how can you get some employee testimonials who love your wellness program. Like love your company for what they’re, you know, helping them do around their health and wellness and all that. You guys can do that as well, correct?

Andrew Horn: [00:34:51] Yes. If you want to check out a sample video, you can go to And so Cheddar is really cool media start-up, about a hundred person company. And one of the things that we help them do is to do basically a recruiting video. So they have an incredible culture. It’s incredibly young. Everyone’s very open, supportive, friendly. And so they created a video that’s three minutes long and it’s got all their employees just talking about why they love working at Cheddar. And again these people love working there.

They love one another. They’re all friends. And so now they have this video that they get to send to potential recruits that is actual employees, so it’s the face of the company, talking about why they love it. It’s not H.R. It’s not, you know, senior level C-suites that people might not be interacting with on a day to day basis. It’s the real people. And so those types are recruiting videos that again speak to the authentic appreciation people have for that culture, for that business can be a really powerful tool. And so we’re building this for all sorts of companies now. Anyone that wants to capture their culture in one of these powerful videos, we can do one of those very, very easily.

Jen Arnold: [00:35:52] OK. Just to make sure I got it..Cheddar like the cheese, right?

Andrew Horn: [00:35:55] Cheddar like the cheese, yes! You can almost you can almost think of them as like a millennial MSNBC. They’re basically kind of doing like financial reporting for millennials.

Jen Arnold: [00:36:05] OK. That’s really cool. I’ll link it all up in the show notes. How do you show appreciation within your own team at Tribute?

Andrew Horn: [00:36:12] So one of my favorite things that we do is we do birthday tributes, which is one of the best. And then we are still a smaller team, so were about 10 people, and one of the things that we do is we have our weekly gratitude recap.

And so again, we have our gratitude channel and every Friday we close out the week with three questions. And so those three questions are often times, what was your big win at the office this week? What are you looking forward to this weekend? And then kind of a wildcard question, which is another thing that will allow people to express gratitude. And so we close out that week by having everyone expressing gratitude just in their own lives.

Acknowledging something that went right at work that week. And then when we do that anyone who stood out that week, it’s again we have everyone already articulating that appreciation so they’re in that mindset. So it’s a time when we can really do call outs. But so that’s something that we do systematically as every single week we know that that’s happening and we don’t miss it. But then again it’s we’ve kind of got to a place in the company where we have that gratitude thread, so every time a testimonial comes to our site whether it’s through a support agent or someone that I talk to on the street that always goes into the gratitude thread so that basically everyone can see not just what we’re grateful for, but what our customers are grateful for how they’ve been impacted.

And you know again when Rory’s, you know, head high in code all day. He might not see that testimonial if it wasn’t for our support agent in Columbia actually sending it over to him and saying, “Hey I just got this to my father two weeks before he passed away. And it was the best gift I’ve ever seen. Thank you guys so much.” So that’s what we do. And then again, what happens is when you create these systems again people really do start to do this on their own.

So now that we have that gratitude thread, when someone does something for someone in our office like they’ve ingrained this into their mindset and they say hey here’s the latest video the John just did. It absolutely rocks. Like shout him out. And then everyone in that thread can just you know give them a thumbs up. And so that stuff starts to happen in real time. So that’s why I think those systems are so powerful is because once as leaders we’ve displayed here are the types of actions that one should be taking, here’s why it’s important for our culture and for you guys, then people start to do that on their own. And that’s I think the epitome of a really powerful culture that starts to dictate the type of actions your employees take when leaders and managers are not around telling them to do it.

Jen Arnold: [00:38:26] Right. And also one of the things you mentioned is that your coder, Rory, who is seeing the end customer and their effect of your company on them. So you are connecting people who maybe don’t have that interaction with the customer, connecting them in a very special way. I think that’s fantastic because often times in a company, you get very disconnected from the customer. You’re just you know processing, you know, claims or whatever it may be.

Andrew Horn: [00:38:49] And that’s another thing here is, you know, I think that another thing that you can do kind of for companies, and this can be the kind of thing that you know whether it’s a corporate offsite, whether it is at a monthly meeting, whether it’s on all hands.

I used to run a children’s nonprofit. It was my first company out a college and we would do these massive events with several hundred volunteers and some of our volunteers would come and they would work the parking lot for six hours because that was the job. And it was not the most glamorous, you know, they weren’t hanging out in the stadium playing sports with kids. But it was just as important. It is that we needed someone to do that.

And so what we would do is we always take our volunteers out to dinner afterwards and we would allow everyone to share their highlight from the day. And what it would do is that it would allow everyone to connect to the impact in the event that they were a part of, rather than just their own experience. And I think that that’s a really powerful thing that leaders will do for their companies is at these moments, you know, they will give their employees the chance to say what has been the best customer response that you’ve seen this year, and allowing people to share that.

Again because that stuff happens and some people see it and some people won’t. We’re making sure that your entire company can connect to the impact that you’ve had on your customers is really powerful thing that leaders can do is to allow people to share that gratitude, that appreciation, that has been coming in from other angles.

Jen Arnold: [00:40:05] Definitely. Andrew, is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you wish I would have asked you? Anything you want to leave us–you’ve left us so many tangible tips. If you have another one, feel free to give it.

Andrew Horn: [00:40:17] I’ll try to. Well, you know what you haven’t asked me yet and that is so how do we start our first tribute? And I’m going to close on this note and say number one, thank you for having me on. It’s been a pleasure. We’re really excited to work with more companies that care about their employees, they care about wellness and connecting people deeply to each other and their organization.

And so we’d like to offer a special discount. So for anyone that wants to create their first tribute, if you just basically go to a and you start your tribute. All you have to enter is rwpodcast, so the Redesigning Wellness podcast. So it’s just going to be rwpodcast. You’re going to get 50 percent off your first Tribute purchase. And so we’re going to make that available for you guys who might want to come on. And that’s going to be available through the end of the year.

And for any of you that are interested in potentially working with Tribute, whether it’s at a live event, whether it’s employee recognition, I’d be more than happy to link you guys up and you can reach me at and we’ll do our best to respond to you guys as soon as possible.

Jen Arnold: [00:41:19] Wow, Andrew. Thank you so much. That was unexpected. So grateful for that discount. So I’ll make sure I get this out into the world soon so we can get people to take advantage of that. I just love what you guys are doing and I think it’s-you’ve made it so affordable. So I appreciate the additional discount.

Andrew Horn: [00:41:36] Absolutely. I mean you know we’re going into the holidays and so for anyone who might be baffled, shopping for that person who’s hard to shop for, I promise you that a video of all their friends and family telling them why they’re awesome is a sure thing. So.

Jen Arnold: [00:41:48] Thank you. Everything will be linked up in the show notes. And again, thanks for your time, Andrew. Appreciate it.

Andrew Horn: [00:41:54] And everyone go home tonight and tell your best friend or tell your wife or your husband or your mom or your dad why you love them. Because there is no reason to keep any of the kind things that you think in your head in your head. They deserve to be said and they deserve to be said and they deserve to be said today.

Jen Arnold: [00:42:11] Nothing else to say. We’ll end on that!

Links Mentioned:

Thnx4 Gratitude Journal

Andrew’s email:

Discount: Go to a and you start your tribute. All you have to enter is rwpodcast, so the Redesigning Wellness podcast. So it’s just going to be rwpodcast. You’re going to get 50 percent off your first Tribute purchase

Andrew’s Full Bio:

Andrew Horn is a serial social entrepreneur, speaker and writer based in Brooklyn, NY.  He is a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum, was selected for StartupBoost’s 33 Under 33 list for 2017, received the Mayor’s Community Service award in Washington, D.C at the age of 23.

in 2014, Andrew launched, which The New Yorker recently called “Hallmark 2.0.” Tribute makes it easy to create a collaborative video montage that you can give as a gift on any important occasion. He is on a deep mission to spread gratitude and meaningful connection in the world and is responsible for 50,000+ Tributes since launching. Tribute also closed a $1.2M seed round in 2016 and is planning large-scale expansion in 2017.

Before launching Tribute, Andrew started an award-winning children’s non-profit called Dreams for Kids DC. In three years, he established the organization as one of the premiere adaptive athletic providers in Washington, D.C. (where kids with disabilities played sports with professional teams like the Washington Capitals and Redskins).  He was able to build a succession plan and stepped down in 2011 to start another non-profit venture called AbilityList, which FastCompany called a “Craigslist for people with disabilities.”

Once Dreams for Kids DC and Ability List were operationally sound, Andrew went to work with best-selling author Sam Horn to launch The Intrigue Agency in Washington D.C and NYC. The IA is a full-service branding firm with Fortune500 clients like Cisco, Boeing and HP.

Andrew began professional speaking at a young age, giving his first TEDx talk at 21. Andrew is now a frequent speaker at conferences (United Nations), colleges (NYU) and for Fortune 500 brands like MasterCard. He is a frequent contributor to media outlets like MindBodyGreen, HuffPo and TheMuse. He focuses his writing on “The Art of Meaningful Conversation” – How to find your voice, meet new people and feel great in any situation.