Hello from The Next Street's HQ in (currently) snowy Watertown, CT. I write today with an exciting announcement: The Next Street has been named the Happiest Education Company in America by TinyPulse, an employee engagement platform focused on creating better work environments.
When my Dad and I started The Next Street in 2009, we didn't know anything about the driver's education business. But, we knew that doing right by our customers and doing right by our employees was a good place to start. Since those early days, we have been focused on creating a happy environment for our customers to learn and our employees to build their careers. At the time, we were met with criticism. "It's just a driving school, culture doesn't matter." And we found that most of our competitors agreed with this sentiment. But we trudged forward, and now can proudly boast that the time, energy and financial investment were worth it. The company is thriving financially, continuing to grow, but most importantly, has built an outstanding work environment that keeps our customers and employees smiling. That makes US happy.
This award is a testament to the hard work of my entire team at The Next Street. We have a set of clearly defined core values that align us all. These aren't complicated, but we have found that putting them down on paper and then celebrating them has made them live and breathe in the fabric of our company. When current employees become misaligned, we offer correction or help finding work elsewhere. When searching for new employees, we have an in depth interview process to assure that these company values are also the prospect's personal values.
- Be Nice
- Be Positive
- Seek New Knowledge
My personal philosophy on work is rather simple: work is a requirement to afford the lifestyles we seek to live. Since we have to do it, we may as well enjoy it. It is my hope that each member of this team wakes up excited to come to work. We seek to create an environment that is fun, welcoming and a safe place where people can be themselves.
After setting the standard and communicating it clearly, the last step is listening. We began using TinyPulse 3 years ago, shortly after their launch, to allow our staff a place to anonymously submit feedback. We send weekly questions, asking for candid feedback on our strategy and direction, benefits and compensation, leadership and opportunity, and sometimes just simply "How's it going?". The responses are sometimes hard to stomach, but provide a real looking glass into our organization. It allows me and my leadership team to keep a pulse on the organization and make the changes we need to make to keep The Next Street thriving and moving forward.
I want to thank everyone on The Next Street's team, and all of our faithful customers, for being a part of something unique and special. There's a lot more good coming in our pipeline, and I am especially excited to see what unfolds next.