Inside SambaSafety’s Rewarding Take on Employee Recognition

Learn how the company is showcasing the strength of its people through new awards and a welcoming, supportive culture.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on May. 12, 2023
Inside SambaSafety’s Rewarding Take on Employee Recognition
SambaSafety
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When Product Manager Lottie Lotz was tasked with helping SambaSafety’s recently established recognition team gather recommendations for the company’s new “Samban of the Year” award, they were unaware that they would be on the receiving end of the accolade.  

While Lotz strived to put their best foot forward over the past year, they weren’t expecting to be chosen as the winner among 13 worthy nominees. 

“It’s so humbling, because I love working here, and I think everyone gives it their all,” they said. “To be considered the embodiment of what we’re all trying to achieve is a true honor.”

This award, which acknowledges an individual who embodies the company’s core values — “teamwork,” “impact” and “accountability” — is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its employee recognition strategies. Last year, the company rolled out several new initiatives, including the Samban of the Year award and “Samba Social Shoutouts,” giving employees the chance to highlight individuals who have helped shape the organization and its culture.
 

WHAT SAMBASAFETY DOES

SambaSafety’s mobility and driver risk intelligence platform enables organizations to protect their employees and prevent crashes. The company’s software can be leveraged for continuous driver monitoring, insurance underwriting and prospective employee screening.

 

According to Rachel Furno, manager of customer success for channel partners, last year was marked by significant change — both culturally and operationally. The company verticalized its entire customer base and restructured its customer success teams, both of which were intended to address gaps in customer service. 

“Verticalizing our customers allowed our employees to offer more specialized support based on our customers’ specific industry and desired business outcomes,” Furno said. “This has empowered our people to become more knowledgeable and efficient when servicing our customers, which has led to noticeable impact in just a short amount of time.”

Without its people, SambaSafety wouldn’t be able to bring this “noticeable impact,” which is why the company aims to ensure that its existing employees and future new hires receive the recognition they deserve for their hard work. As CEO Matt Scheuing says, “Great people make great companies great.”
 

A HOME-RUN OF AN AWARD

Those who are named Samban of the Year don’t just earn bragging rights. Lotz said recipients also receive a prize and extended time off. They and their partner used this extra PTO to attend the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in Phoenix, Arizona, where they enjoyed exquisite food and fancy cocktails.

 

Candid photo of Rachel talking during a panel discussion onstage
SambaSafety

 

Recognizing ‘The Greatest Impact on ROI’

For Furno, the greatest impact on SambaSafety’s ROI isn’t just hitting sales quotas or product deployments — it’s the company’s belief that its greatest assets are “happy, supported and knowledgeable” employees. 

Furno believes that investing in employees and showcasing their strengths is critical to ensuring future progress. So when she had the chance to promote one of her direct reports earlier this year, she went all out. 

Rather than simply announce the individual’s title change, Furno gathered tangible examples of their influence from multiple departments. She then sent out an announcement to the entire company regarding their promotion, which included a list of reasons why they’ve impacted both their coworkers and the organization’s customers. 

“The responses I received regarding how this employee made an impact was impressive and heartwarming to say the least,” Furno said. “This person gleamed with the utmost pride that week and has continued to go above and beyond since then, and I couldn’t be more proud.” 

According to Lawrence Loera, senior manager of software operations, the company’s leadership team takes the initiative in fostering recognition and support, which was made especially visible during the pandemic. 

“They allowed us to process what was happening around us in our own way while checking in on us and asking how they could help,” Loera said. “Most importantly, they listened to our feedback throughout the process.”

 

ANOTHER WAY TO CELEBRATE EACH OTHER

In addition to the Samban of the Year award, employees are also eligible to receive a “Samba Social Shoutout.” Each month, team members can nominate their peers who they believe embody the company’s core values. Recipients are celebrated both internally and through the company’s social media accounts.

 

The Definition of a Warm Welcome

Lotz hasn’t always held their Samban of the Year title. In November 2020, they were a newly hired product owner who was just getting their feet wet. 

Yet even then, they could sense how much the company valued its people. 

“Everyone I set up meetings with was happy to meet with me and tell me how their corner of SambaSafety works, which was super helpful in understanding what we do as a company,” Lotz said. 

In truth, Lotz was taking the lead long before earning any award. They were the first new hire to pilot the SambaSafety Certification program, which is a series of online videos and lessons that help new hires understand the company’s products, capabilities and industrywide impact. 

For Lotz, the program served as a precursor to the support they would receive over the next three years. Since joining the team, they’ve seen leaders help team members remove roadblocks while giving them the tools and coaching they need to thrive. 

“Speaking out about where I need support has always borne fruit in the end,” Lotz said. 
 

“Speaking out about where I need support has always borne fruit in the end.”

 

While things have certainly changed over the past three years for Lotz, one thing has remained the same since they first joined the team: their lunch break. 

If you’re wondering how a midday meal can be so impactful, Lotz can explain: “Lunch is the number-one time I’ve gotten to know my coworkers as coworkers — gathering their opinions, experiences and philosophies — and as people.” 

Lotz strives to offer this unparalleled bonding experience to everyone who joins the team. Because at SambaSafety, recognition doesn’t just take the form of exciting awards — it involves having the chance to feel seen and connect with others. 

“I want new hires to have the opportunity to learn and know they belong,” Lotz said. 

 

Large group photo of entire SambaSafety team
SambaSafety

 

Since joining the company 20 years ago, Loera has also felt amply supported. He believes this is reflected in the significant growth he’s experienced over the years. 

“I’ve been fortunate to work for some sharp, smart and amazing leaders who have seen value in me, sometimes before I see it myself,” he said. 

Loera acknowledges that his tenure at the company may be longer than average. Yet he considers his continued decision to stay to be an easy one. 

“I have the support of SambaSafety to grow, I truly enjoy the people I work with and the company takes care of me,” Loera said. “Why would I want to be anywhere else?” 
 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by SambaSafety.

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