Company Uses Currency of Compliments to Help Keep Employees

Hylite got its start just before workers started leaving their jobs during the pandemic.

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At the DFW restaurant chain Burger House, employees aren't the only ones who serve. Customers can serve up compliments through a program called Hylite.

"To be honest with you, I was just getting fed up with negative stuff," Burger House co-owner Christopher Cannellos said. "You can go to Yelp, you can go anywhere, and it's basically negative."

"It just feels good to put something positive into the world," Hylite Founder and CEO Marissa Fetter Hochster said. "I had worked in corporate America for over 10-years, first at Merrill Lynch and then at Goldman Sachs, and every day I saw the power of positive feedback in terms of motivating employees."

Just before the pandemic, Hochster started Hylite as a way for customers to recognize front-line employees. She said it gives business owners real-time feedback and helps retain workers during this time that's being called 'The Great Resignation.'

"Retention is about so much more than compensation," Hochster said. "I think employees want to know that they're valued and appreciated and making an impact in their day-to-day work."

On Friday, Jose Castaneda was working the Burger House drive-thru, chatting up customers, offering glasses of water while they waited.

"I make them feel that whatever bad vibe they had throughout the day, it goes away," Castaneda said smiling. The 20-year Burger House employee is frequently highlighted on Hylite.

"It's just one more tool I have to retain help," Cannellos said.

To 'Hylite' a job well done, customers scan a QR code at the participating business or send a text.

"It's a little gratification in this sometimes thankless job," Ely Kabangu said. "It's an instant smile on my face. I'm like, 'Oh, I didn't know I did that!"

Hylite is being used at 10 businesses across DFW and 40 businesses nationwide.

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