What the Empire State Building Means to Us at WorkStride

The symbolism, the engineering marvel, and the everlasting appeal of the Empire State Building are not lost on those of us here at WorkStride. The building is home to our headquarters and the majority of our employees. Every day we strive to represent the qualities embodied by this grand, historic building.

In 1928, Al Smith, former governor of New York and head of the Empire State, Inc., insisted that construction on the building begin on St Patrick’s Day as a nod to his own Irish heritage (in fact, it could have been even more of an emotional request, as Smith had lost his bid for the White House just a few years prior due largely in part to his Irish-Catholic background!). The Empire State Building was constructed with the help of immigrant workers from Ireland, Scandinavia and Eastern Europeans, as well as a large contingent of members of the Mohawk tribe from upstate New York and Canada.

Today, the building’s tenants include companies with a highly international presence, including LinkedIn, Human Rights Foundation, Shutterstock, Air China and JCDecaux. Employees of all tenants, as well as direct employees of the building itself, are a hugely diverse group of people from many nationalities and backgrounds.

Diversity at WorkStride: Our employees come from diverse backgrounds: Scandinavians and Irish, Dominicans and Koreans, Chinese and Indians, just to name a few. We range in age from early 20s to mid 50s, and are pretty evenly split between women and men. And everyone treats everyone else with an incredible amount of respect—fostering an environment of inclusion is of the utmost importance to us here.

The rival Chrysler Building was completed in 621 days. Conversely, the Empire State Building was completed in just 410 days. The speed at which construction crews were able to put up the building was no doubt affected by important factors, including the amount of workers (numbering in the 3000s), the fact that the construction site was running every day, including weekends and holidays, less “red tape” with regard to permits, and a relatively simple design for the building itself.

Speed at WorkStride: We have dedicated engagement managers who strive to implement even the largest programs in a matter of a few weeks. Meeting the needs of our customers is our primary objective, and a swift but flawless rollout of any of our products is not only desired, but also expected. And we hate red tape!

The Empire State Building was completed under budget and ahead of schedule. How did they achieve what so many construction jobs fail to do even today? Through a pragmatic approach. William F. Lamb, head architect, avoided re-inventing the wheel. Instead, Lamb and his team based their drawings off of their own Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, which had been completed just the year before. With this proven foundation, the architects were able to scale the design to the specifications necessary to become the world’s tallest building at the time. The building drawings were produced in just 2 weeks!

Efficiency at WorkStride: Our early success was based on our strength in building complex custom websites that met our customers’ specific needs. In the past few years, we’ve transformed our existing products to a SaaS model, creating products that allow for the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of customer needs without compromising quality. And they are faster and easier to implement!

The Empire State Building was born out of a competition to build the world’s tallest building in New York City. The two other contestants were the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street. And although construction crews at the Chrysler Building were building at a rate of four floors per day, the Empire State Building emerged victorious upon its completion in April 1931.

Competition at WorkStride: We are part of an ever-growing industry in which there are many players. What makes us unique is the fact that the company was not built on the “traditional” recognition and incentives model, wherein high achievers or employees with so many years’ tenure were given a watch or a certificate. Founded in 2000, we are young enough to be nimble and responsive, yet established enough to be able to support Fortune 500 companies.

The Empire State Building displayed signs of being innovative during its construction with the inclusion of a dirigible mooring mast in the design. A New York Times article from December 1929 quoted Smith as saying

The Zeppelin airships will establish transatlantic, transcontinental and transpacific lines…Building with an eye to the future, it has been determined to erect this mooring tower with elevator facilities through the tower to land people directly on Thirty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue after their ocean trip, seven minutes after the airship connects with the mast.

Though the reign of the airship never came to fruition, the mast proved a forward-thinking idea, emphasizing the Empire State Building’s “state of the art” mentality.

Despite being over 80 years old, the Empire State Building continues to reinvent itself to fit the modern times. In 2011, the building was awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, making it the tallest building in North America to have one. To achieve this, the building went through a complete overhaul of its existing systems in an effort to become more energy efficient, a project that took over two years to complete, but which reduced the building’s energy consumption by 38 percent.

Innovation at WorkStride: We constantly strive to be innovative and cutting-edge with regard to employee recognition and sales incentive programs. We have always been a progressive and forward-thinking company, and our most recent pivot was the switch from an agency-like model of building a product specific to each customer for each customer, which was very labor-intensive and time-consuming, to a product-focused SaaS model. We also have an ever-growing list of upcoming product features that incorporate the best ideas in the recognition and incentives space.

The Empire State Building was designed in Art Deco style, which reached the height of its popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. The Empire State Building wasn’t the only piece of architecture to follow this trend; others, like the Chrysler Building and the RCA Victor Building, also contributed to making the New York City skyline as recognizable as it is today, but the Empire State Building easily remains the most noble of all. In short, though Art Deco goes in and out of style quite frequently, the Empire State Building as an architectural piece will continue to stand as a testament to man’s dedication to beauty, style and class.

Timelessness at WorkStride: Our development team is committed to meeting all of the requirements that our customers, present and future, request. Employee recognition and incentives programs will always be an important part of successful companies, and, as such, we build our products to last and to grow with you.

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