Encouraging positivity has been a central pillar to Yelp’s culture from the beginning. If a teammate rolls out a huge feature, helps you out in a bind, or just makes a funny joke, we believe you should be able to show them a small token of appreciation. That’s why we developed an internal tool called Yelp Love, a web application for sending notes of appreciation (aka love) to your coworkers within Yelp.

Yelp Love started as a Hackathon effort back in 2013. Over the course of two hackathons, we rolled out Yelp Love to the entire company. Since its deployment, we’ve sent over 280,000 loves to Yelp employees (and counting!), averaging 2,000 loves per week.

The Yelp Love App

The Yelp Love App

Within the engineering organization, we give out two of the most coveted honors each week at our engineering weekly meeting: the Care Bear and the Unicorn. The Care Bear goes to the person who sent the most loves the week prior, and the Unicorn to the person who received the most loves. The Care Bear and Unicorn stay with that person for the week and are passed on to the next two winners at the following all hands.

The Care Bear and The Unicorn

The Care Bear and The Unicorn

Today, we’re excited to open source this tool that’s been so pivotal to building an environment of acknowledgement and positive energy at Yelp. We hope it can add some good mojo to your organization as well.

Yelp Love Overview

Yelp Love is a Flask application that runs on Google App Engine. For instructions on getting up and running, checkout the readme on GitHub. Out of the box, it includes the following features:

  • Send love to one or more recipients (publicly or privately)
  • Email notifications when users receive love
  • Viewing the most recent 20 loves sent or received by any user
  • Leaderboard with the top 20 users who sent and received love
  • API that allows external applications to send and retrieve love data
  • Manual or automated synchronization between Yelp Love and your employee data
  • Admin section to manage aliases and API keys

Internally, development of the Yelp Love tool has been very collaborative. Since its release, developers have written scripts to incorporate it into their commandline, Alfred and Quicksilver workflows, and added support for sending love through our internal IRC bot. The application is easily extendable using the API.

Build something cool with it or use it for your organization? Let us know on GitHub!

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