Jessica Podgajny knows you’re probably rethinking the way you’re working right now.
The longtime people ops pro and company culture consultant conceptualized Lluna, an employee engagement and retention platform, before the COVID-19 pandemic, but launched it during the height of remote work in December 2020. Now, a little more than a year later, with vaccines and waning case numbers, companies are taking another stab at their future of work plans.
The platform is designed to be a centralized place for employees and their managers to review and agree upon company benefits, work arrangements and schedules. And it rolled out a new feature this month — the third “piece of the puzzle,” CEO Podgajny told Technical.ly on a call from the HR Transform conference in Las Vegas, where she was giving an HR tech talk this week. It offers a central place to log plans like working 40 hours on a flexible schedule Monday through Friday, or four 10-hour days instead.
The existing platform had the Essentials Plan, with a library of questions and benefits managers could decide or negotiate with their employees, and a Premium Plan providing similar services for companies as a whole, with more advanced reporting and the ability to integrate with HR systems. It’s picked up around 10 customers to date, per the CEO.
That third piece dropped this month — My Lluna. The free set of features gives employees or candidates more power in setting wants and needs, communication styles, and schedule and work style wishes with their managers or potential new employers. It’s designed to help employees or candidates identify their work and life priorities and share them in an approachable, professional way.
A key part of Lluna's strategy is that what currently works for one employee might not always work for them.
Employees could use the platform to set new expectations or boundaries about in-office work, PTO or events, and job candidates could use it with recruiters while looking for a new job. Amid the Great Resignation, when culture-setting power has shifted more to employees, the goal is to retain talent, attract new talent and engage existing talent: “It’s an empowering tool for employees or job seekers, saying, ‘I want to be clear about what I want or need,'” Podgajny said.
A key part of Lluna’s strategy is that what currently works for one employee might not always work for them. The startup’s name derives from the phases of the moon that reflect the different phases of life, Podgajny told Technical.ly last year. Working parents, women, new graduates or people who have been in their role for a decade will all want different things out of their jobs. Existing experience with the platform shows that women users have been better about identifying boundaries, the CEO said. For example, some women identify that they have “hard to reach” hours in the evenings for childcare or other duties.
“What happens there, as we start to come back into 3D world, is that companies are going back to scheduling happy hours and dinners to get their culture back, but it could be impacting and putting added stress on women in your workforce,” Podgajny said, referring to a return to in-person work. “Having that information about time creates opportunity to say, ‘OK, we’ll do happy hours, but we’ll also do some team building in the morning and lunch activities.”
Lluna — a RealLIST Startups 2021 runner up — is currently run by Podgajny and cofounder Aaron Kamholtz, along with two other team members. They’re looking to hire about six more people this year in engineering and customer service. The company is remote first, but headquartered in Wayne and the hope is to hire more in the Philly region. Lluna wrapped a friends and family round last year, and is currently raising a pre-seed round, Podgajny said.
“Now that we have this piece in place for employees, we really want to elevate the idea it’s OK to want and need different things to work,” she said. “And having a tech-enabled solution, we can support employees, managers and C-suites, and that’s super energizing for me.”