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SXSW - Entertainment Providers

"Matter helps us encourage behaviors that align with our company values and can allow us to recognize and reward those who exemplify our values."

Gabriela Ruiz - Head of People at Hunty
Autumn Amescua
Chief Culture & People Officer

About 👏

Company: South by Southwest (SXSW®) dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. An essential destination for global professionals, the annual March event features sessions, music and comedy showcases, film and television screenings, world-class exhibitions, professional development and networking opportunities, tech competitions, awards ceremonies, and much more. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.

Industry: Entertainment Providers

Employees: 185

Headquarters: Texas, USA 🇺🇸

Key Use Cases: Kudos, Rewards, Celebrations, Analytics

Interview: Autumn Amescua - Chief Culture & People Officer, Kelsey Adams - Director of Human Resources

Why SXSW chose Matter 🏆

Historically, SXSW didn’t have any recognition program embedded into the culture. Both Autumn and Kelsey understood from an HR perspective how important recognition is for the intrinsic value of employees. Especially as the workforce changes and newer folks are coming in, it helps people feel valued for their work.

When reviewing Matter, Autumn thought it would be a good fit because of its social element with kudos, which would match the fun and creative SXSW culture. Turns out she was right, as mentioned, “It has worked out really well! We have a lot of participation!”

Kelsey points out that they were focused on implementing something that fit into Slack, a system where people already felt comfortable communicating. She adds, “The staff picked up on Matter right away. They were engaged almost immediately.”

How SXSW uses Matter 🚀

Autumn, Kelsey, and the SXSW team are power users when it comes to using Matter. From recognition and rewards to celebrations, analytics, and more - they’ve heavily invested in their people and culture, and it’s shown by their high employee engagement and low turnover.

Autumn and Kelsey specifically noted how much people took initiative in creating their own fun custom kudos cards. For example, the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” premiered at South by Southwest, and team members took the film and made it into custom kudos. Kelsey notes that, “Our people have done a great job of weaving creativity into our company culture.” Autumn also adds, “We want to uphold and continue to nurture that creative culture at SXSW.”

One of the goals for the HR team at SXSW was to highlight people’s birthdays. Matter had just released their Celebrations feature, arriving at the perfect time. It fit their needs as people were already familiar with using the tool, plus they could automatically gift people coins, and the birthdays were celebrated in Slack.

The Value of Matter for SXSW 📈

While SXSW uses the majority of Matter’s features, a few things stood out to Autumn and Kelsey - specifically rewards, company values, and analytics.

A priority for the SXSW team was to find a rewards program that was easy to administer and communicate to the company. Kelsey shared, “It has not been a time suck for us at all. We’ve been able to set it and forget it, and people just know how to use it.”

Values are a big part of SXSW’s creative culture, helping them ensure they have the right people. Autumn states, “Matter helps us encourage behaviors that align with our company values and can allow us to recognize and reward those who exemplify our values.”

Something that the SXSW finds value in is the analytics. It allows them to track, pull reports, and understand engagement trends in accordance with the cycle of the business. Kelsey expressed, “I love that there's a graph where I can see changes in kudos engagement. For example, before or after a company-wide event.”

Lessons Learned / Advice for Others ✏️

Like many companies, SXSW found Matter simple and easy to use. Kelsey recalls that, “All we had to do was write up a little one-pager and share it with the company, and they just took it and ran with it. No one was confused. It didn’t cause any extra work. It was just very easy to use from our (Admin) end and for the employees.”