Next to every elevator at the offices of Seer Interactive, in Philadelphia, sit stacks of unbranded thank-you cards with envelopes, pens, and stamps. It's not uncommon to see employees at the 19-year-old company scribble a note while they're waiting or grab a few on their way home to acknowledge a colleague or someone in their life. Free stationery may seem trivial, but it's an analog sign of the digital marketing agency's intention to cultivate a culture of gratitude. And it's very on-brand.
"When you're waiting for the elevator, you might as well pick up a card to make someone feel seen," says Wil Reynolds, 45, Seer's bootstrapping founder and CEO--a man who's led the company to seven appearances on the Inc. 5000 (2015 through 2021).
A few years into Seer's rapid growth spurt, Reynolds brought in a Philly-based branding agency, AgileCat, to interview the team and codify what it was doing right. The result? A set of company values arranged in a handy acronym: ethic, for enablement, transparency, humility, intelligence, and collaboration. It underpins all work at Seer, from hiring to selecting clients. For Reynolds, it amounts to being a "generous and honest human being."
He can be quite literal. The company is known to dole out cash (file under "enablement"), as it did in March 2020 when the pandemic hit: All 220 employees at the time received $1,500. "How can you be the best you can be for Seer if your parents can't pay their fucking mortgage, or your significant other got laid off and you're worried about feeding your kids?" asks Reynolds.
More recently, Seer raised its minimum salary to $65,000 and gave more than half of its profits back to the team. In addition to bonuses, all employees participate in profit sharing, as determined by revenue and their equity share. Seer has given roughly $2.9 million to employees since July 2021. It also offers generous benefits including unlimited PTO, health coverage for domestic partners, and extended parental leave.
Stephanie Powley, a community manager at Seer, keeps a binder of all the thank-you cards she's received in her seven years there. "Every company I've gone to has corporate jargon for values with all these buzzwords," she says. "Seer really does stand behind the core values of the company." Anyone who prefers to type their feelings of gratitude can chime in on Seer's #fyf ("Fuck Yeah Friday") Slack channel, where employees wrap up the week by giving one another shout-outs.
It's clear that Reynolds appreciates his people. "You need to understand," he says. "I'm completely content with where I am personally in my life, so I don't come to work anymore to make money. I work to make money for other people, for my team."