🏆 Bonusly is #1 Again in the Fall G2 Report for Employee Recognition!

Build a Culture of Appreciation Using Recognition

Here’s to camaraderie, productivity, and engagement! Make it easy for your employees to participate in a positive work culture and appreciate each other. Bonusly’s peer-to-peer recognition platform offers meaningful rewards and delivers them instantly.

Improving positive work culture at 3,300+ organizations

Here’s why you need a recognition platform

It drives

Employees who receive recognition feel a greater sense of accomplishment.

70% of respondents say Bonusly
improves engagement

It boosts

Recognition makes people feel valued and engaged, which increases productivity.

18% Higher productivity happens in engaged business units*
Source: Gallup

It saves
you time

Automating rewards saves time while ensuring important dates never fall through the cracks.

1.5 Average hours needed to
manage Bonusly each month

Recognition happens in 3 simple steps



An employee easily tags a peer to recognize them for accomplishments.

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Bonusly posts it publicly, which breaks down silos and lets everyone celebrate wins.

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Recipients earn points they can redeem for meaningful rewards.

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Use Bonusly Analytics to guide your teams

Bonusly’s dashboard of people analytics makes it easy to instantly understand the recognition trends happening on your team. You get an unprecedented level of visibility into the connections, participation trends, and recognition frequency across your company. Now you’re well-positioned to keep all your teams on track!

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Based on 3,500+ customer reviews

Explore our customers’ success stories

Becky Cantieri
Chief People Officer
California, USA
Internet services

"Bonusly is core to our recognition program and a thoughtful way to connect the work of our employees to the value they deliver for our customers."

Lindsey Kampmeier
VP of People & Culture
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Restaurant technology

"Bonusly has been a GAME CHANGER. It's quickly become an essential part of our success in working as a distributed team and creating more visibility around small wins!"

Luis Jimenez
People Engagement
Headspace Health
Distributed, United States

"Bonusly Kept Us Together When We Couldn’t Be Together"

Gabi Tofani
Talent Management Lead
40 countries worldwide
Technology recruiting

"We’ve seen a 15% increase in recognition sentiment in our employee engagement survey."

Nicole Pigeon
Customer Support Services
IT Services

"Bonusly worked wonders for team morale during the fast growth and uncertainty of acquisition and the quick move to remote work during the pandemic."

Kate Ciechomski
PM Recognition & New Hire Success
Boston, MA

"Bonusly helped us increase cross-departmental recognition, which has had a major impact on collaboration throughout the company.”

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To inspire your team is to motivate them to do their job well, enjoy what they’re doing, and feel excited about the direction of your company and their role within it. As a leader, keeping your team inspired is an important responsibility, especially during turbulent or challenging times.

Why is inspiration your responsibility?

When employees aren’t just engaged, but inspired, that’s when organizations see real breakthroughs. Inspired employees are themselves far more productive and, in turn, inspire those around them to strive for greater heights.
Eric Garton

Unfortunately, 42% of employees don’t feel their leadership is contributing to a positive company culture. And get this: there is a 70% difference in culture quality between companies with poor and fantastic team leaders. When employees are uninspired, disengaged, and unfulfilled, chances are high they’ll start looking elsewhere.

The good news is that inspiring employees doesn’t need to be daunting. Here are some fresh ideas to start with.

How leaders can inspire your teams

1. Challenge them more often

Believe it or not, your employees want to be challenged. Performing the same mundane tasks day in and day out can grow old quickly. That’s why 83% of employees who are given opportunities to take on new challenges say they’re more likely to stay with their employer.

Communicate with your employees to find out how challenged they feel. Are they struggling to meet organizational requirements? Are they reaching their own personal objectives? Do they need more demanding goals? Do they have too much on their plate?

Inspire every week: Start an intrapreneur initiative, and allow each team member time each week to work on a “passion” project related to the business. This may be work that inspires them more than their day-to-day job and could also lead to new learnings, product ideas, or even revenue streams.

Lightbulb emerging from red box

2. Rethink technical training

Many teams, especially technical ones, require recurring training—but if conducted poorly, such trainings can be anything but inspirational.

Too often I find that managers impose training on people, and people like the training, but it’s not necessarily what they need. Ask, what would you like? What would make a difference to you? If we use a retrospective from your most recent project, what do you want to improve?
–Kellye Whitney, Anatomy of a Modern Day Technical Training Course.

Re-think training opportunities by identifying topics: what does your team want to learn about, and what do they need to learn about?

Consider splitting the training into two sections: 70% hands-on and 30% theory. This format often helps teams better grasp new concepts and apply the subject matter beyond the lesson or training’s application, all while feeling more inspired to keep learning and applying their new skills.

Inspire every week: Identify training opportunities, and discuss opportunities your team can learn more each week. Keep these ideas in mind as you demo a new product feature at all-hands meetings or dive into a fresh marketing initiative.

Man looking out over books

3. Publicly recognize their work

Public employee recognition is one of the best ways to inspire your team because it has a far-reaching inspirational impact:

  • 70% percent of employees say that motivation and morale would improve 'massively' if managers said thank you more.
  • Happiness raises business productivity by 31%.
  • Recognition increases employee engagement up to 60%.
  • Companies with a “recognition-rich” culture have 31% lower voluntary turnover rates than companies that don’t.

Inspiring your team with recognition also provides an important link to specific actions and their positive effects on an organization.

Inspire every week: Recognize members of your team at least once each week, whether it’s in your regular team meeting or another type of public forum.

Shining trophy

Inspire your team every week

Don’t let your team get into a rut. Use these ideas to keep employees inspired, engaged, and connected, making sure they’re challenged and feel appreciated. When your employees feel inspired, everyone wins.

What does it mean to feel welcome? While everyone has a different answer to this question, feeling welcome boils down to feeling understood—that others recognize you, empower you, and accept your place in the group.

When your organization helps employees feel welcome during onboarding, you’re creating conditions that can lead to deep emotional connections. These connections help form a foundation of trust that can improve employee engagement levels, remove barriers to collaboration, and lead employees to a long and productive tenure with your company.

--> Start here: Download the ultimate employee onboarding checklist that we use here at Bonusly!

The importance of first impressions

One of the biggest barriers to a mutual understanding is how our brains are wired to form first impressions. Research from Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov found that we form first impressions about trustworthiness, likeability, and even competence mere milliseconds after seeing someone’s face for the first time. He explained this phenomenon by noting that the brain treats first impressions like a fear response, processing it in the amygdala (threat center) instead of the frontal lobe (rational thought).

welcoming employee

In other words, the same impression mechanisms that helped our ancestors avoid leopards now lead us to avoid job candidates in leopard print.

Of course, the same mechanics determine the impressions employees form during the recruitment process. They decide whether your workplace environment is welcoming, indifferent, or hostile. These first impressions are one of the reasons that hiring is the first step to effective onboarding.

Completing the new employee welcome

Thankfully, first impressions aren’t the only impression. The first few days and weeks send a powerful message about what new employees will experience with your company—not only through the messaging of the official welcome meeting, but what they see, hear, and do during working hours. These experiences either confirm or undermine the impressions new hires form during the hiring process, and can determine the strength of your employee welcome.

This pattern becomes evident in a list of the reasons new employees quit their jobs within the first six months as found in an onboarding report from Zippia:

  • They didn't get enough training
  • The work wasn't clear
  • They felt underappreciated
  • They felt neglected
  • They felt overwhelmed

These employees accepted a job that gave them the right impression—a workplace that offered fulfilling work they were qualified to do with competent management, complete training processes, and the chance for recognition and advancement. When the onboarding process didn’t confirm these impressions, they left.

How do you avoid this outcome in your onboarding process? The first step is to understand the two types of impressions your new hires want to confirm during their first days and weeks with your company.

--> Start here: Download the ultimate employee onboarding checklist that we use here at Bonusly!

Two important impressions for your new employee welcome

Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy studied first impressions for more than 15 years. She found that people judge you on spectrums that she labeled warmth and competence:

  • Warmth: This impression determines how much new employees feel they can trust the people in your company, including their manager, co-workers, and company leadership.
  • Competence: This impression determines how much new employees respect the capabilities of their new company and the people in it.
employee coffee

Cuddy’s findings show that while both of these impressions are important, they also need to happen in order. An impression of warmth leads to an impression of confidence. As she put it in an interview with Business Insider:

"If someone you're trying to influence doesn't trust you, you're not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative. A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you've established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat."

Put simply, the welcome comes first. Any company can say that they’re competent. But for employees to believe that your company is competent, their experience needs match expectations. A powerful impression of warmth opens the door for your organization to continue demonstrating your competence and meet these expectations.

Employees may never have all the information on the company’s strategy, and even the best-connected company can’t fully understand all the nuances of each employee’s daily experience. However, when the company recognizes new employees’ potential and provides them with the support they need to become completely competent in their new role, it paves the way for mutual trust, improved engagement, and better results.

Here are a few strategies for creating these two key impressions in your new employee welcome:

1. Provide a warm employee welcome

Remember what it’s like

When you’ve been with a company for years, it can be hard to remember what new employees go through on their first day. There are several pieces of information your current employees take for granted that are essential to transmit to new employees to keep them from feeling like outsiders.

These include:

  • Team vocabulary terms—names of regular meetings, software programs, employee groups, conference rooms, etc.
  • Your company’s neighborhood—as you put together your welcome packet, be sure to include a guide to the local area with suggestions on nearby restaurants, cafés, banks, and gas stations.
  • An outline of the first day—guide new hires through what they’ll learn, who they’ll meet, and what they should expect to accomplish.
employee meeting

Connect with culture

Leaving a new employee with empty hours after an impressive welcome presentation is a little like creating a Potemkin Village: a good show with nothing behind it. While work can’t stop every time a new employee comes onboard, it’s important to provide time and resources for their new team to introduce your culture in full—demonstrating how you work, interact, succeed, and celebrate.

Consider the following ideas for connecting new employees with your culture:

  • Introduce your company values—reemphasize how your company lives its values during day to day operations.
  • Auto-enroll in recognition software—including a bonus from a peer-to-peer recognition program (like Bonusly) on the first day can provide a first-hand demonstration of how important recognition is to your organization.
  • Go to lunch—facilitating a team lunch with a new employee gives them time to break the ice without worrying about interrupting important work.
  • Celebrate on the company level—recognizing all new employees during a company-wide meeting, happy hour, or initiation helps broaden new employees’ connections.
employees hanging out

2. Provide a competent employee welcome

Do the prep work

A new employee won’t be enjoying the new culture or diving into new responsibilities if they’re standing at an empty desk waiting for IT to come with their computer and chair. Creating and following through on a new employee checklist removes distractions from the important trust-building activities of a new employee’s first day.

Here are some important entries on this checklist:

  • Compliance pre-boarding
  • e-Signatures collected before first day
  • Provide new hires with start time and directions
  • Workstation prep
  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Internet connection
  • Computer/computer accessories
  • Software and permissions
  • Auto-enroll in recognition software
  • HRIS information
  • Confirm correct personal information
  • Provide self-service benefits information
  • Guide to financial/health benefits—invite your providers to monthly (or quarterly) meetings to give new employees expert advice on these often-complicated benefits.
  • Guide to social media—in a connected world, teaching your new employees how to represent your company on social media sets clear expectations and provides further development for your employer brand.
  • Company culture follow-up—after your new employees have experienced your culture, give them a chance to ask for any clarifications on your values or their processes

Take your time

Completing the onboarding process will take more than an employee welcome meeting on first day. New employees will need additional context to fully understand how things work in your organization, and that context comes after their first few days on the job. One software company recently expanded their onboarding process from a single meeting to four weekly meetings held throughout the first month, based on employee feedback.

employee working at desk

Consider including these in-depth topics in your long-term onboarding process:

  • Guide to financial/health benefits—invite your providers to monthly (or quarterly) meetings to give new employees expert advice on these often-complicated benefits.
  • Guide to social media—in a connected world, teaching your new employees how to represent your company on social media sets clear expectations and provides further development for your employer brand.
  • Company culture follow-up—after your new employees have experienced your culture, give them a chance to ask for any clarifications on your values or their processes

Managerial support

Throughout the onboarding process, managers need to have the time and support to provide new employees with regular one-on-one meetings. Developing open communication during this process gives employees a psychologically safe space to ask questions without feeling incompetent or that their job is at risk. Managers can also establish a pattern of performance management and verbal recognition as they continue these conversations.

 --> Start here: Download the ultimate employee onboarding checklist that we use here at Bonusly!

Make your company a welcoming place

Welcoming new employees with effective, extended onboarding processes shows them that your organization trusts and respects them. When you give new employees the knowledge, training, and recognition they need to do their best work, you confirm their positive impression of your organization, paving the way for employee engagement and success.

--> An effective, powerful way to welcome new employees is to recognize them from day one. To learn how recognition-rich cultures build connected, motivated, high-performing teams, schedule a demo with a Bonusly expert.

On a farm, silos serve a vital purpose. They keep the valuable, freshly harvested crops safe from bad weather and hungry pests so the farmers can make the most use of the food they worked so hard to grow. 🌽

But businesses can have silos too—and those kinds of organizational silos are a big problem. They typically block the flow of information and cooperation between different teams and departments, which can end up damaging your organization instead of protecting it. Instead of keeping out hungry mice, they end up blocking colleagues and coworkers from accessing the knowledge they need to do their jobs effectively. 

So how can you break down these organizational silos? First, you need to understand what they are and how they arise. 

employee confusion

What is an organizational silo?

An organizational silo is when a part of your business, like a team or a department, is separated from other parts. Of course, teams need to have boundaries and clear lines of responsibility and accountability to get work done effectively. 

But unlike silos on a farm, which are keeping crops safe, organizational silos typically impede collaboration between groups. There’s no wheat or corn to safeguard, just skills and vital info that groups tend to hoard as a means of self-preservation or competitive advantage, even though that hurts the organization as a whole.  

Silos are harmful, but most of them are created inadvertently as a result of barriers between people and systems. Understanding the different types of silos, and why they’re so harmful, can help you create a plan to remove them. 

Types of organizational silos

Departmental silos 

Silos in between different departments and teams are the most common types of silos. These silos might look like a barrier between the sales and marketing teams, for example, where each team uses a different system to enter info on leads or different metrics to qualify those leads. While each team might have a good reason for using their own system, the result is a silo of information that prevents the teams from working together to bring in new business effectively.   

Geographical silos 

Silos can also arise between teams that don’t work in the same physical space. This can mean groups that work in a different region of a country or in different countries altogether, as they might share information or work together more readily with the people they see and interact with most. 

These silos can also crop up in remote or hybrid teams—groups might prioritize people who work with them in person, or their fellow remote workers, and unintentionally leave out others. Time differences can be a factor here, or just not being accustomed to working with people remotely. 

Rank silos 

Managers and leaders can also create their own silos, where information doesn’t flow readily to workers below a certain level. Managers can’t share everything with their employees, of course, but sometimes it’s easy to close ranks and these barriers form. 

Channel silos 

Silos are not just between people and teams—they can pop up in between systems and tools as well. If teams are using the systems that work for them without considering how they work for other teams, or how information is shared across those systems, silos can happen because of those barriers. 

employee barrier

The dangers of organizational silos

Organizational silos are common and typically not created on purpose, but that doesn’t mean they’re harmless. 

Silos can cause roadblocks that hurt your organization’s progress toward your business goals, like providing better customer service. An all-too-common example is customer service teams that don’t have access to important customer information, so your customers have to give the same info to your company again and again to get a simple problem solved. It creates an unnecessary pain point for customers, and it’s frustrating for your reps too. 

Another widespread problem caused by silos is a mismatch in what your company markets to customers and what it actually provides. If your marketing team promises one experience and your sales team isn’t aligned with that messaging, potential customers might get confused or frustrated with the buying experience. Or if your sales team promises something the product team can’t deliver, your new customers may feel misled—even if both teams were operating in good faith.  

Duplicate work is also a harmful effect of too many silos, as two or more teams or departments end up doing the same tasks. Your employees are losing valuable time, and your business is operating less efficiently, as a result of the silos. 

Are there any benefits to silos? 

Talk of breaking down or smashing silos is exciting, because as we’ve seen, they can cause real harm. But—stay patient with us here—silos also arise because they have some benefits too. 😅

Teams and departments do need to have some sort of structure and specialized knowledge, as well as accountability. Plus, silos and structures can help teams form bonds and create a cohesive identity as they work together, refining their knowledge and owning specific tasks. 

And if everyone gets to offer input and expertise on product design, marketing messaging, or anything else, you have the classic “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem where everything gets watered down and nothing gets done on time. 

The problem typically arises not just when a silo appears, but when it’s too tall and rigid to allow for that natural flow of collaboration and information. 

flow of information

7 strategies to break down organizational silos 

1. Build more bridges 

Since silos are not universally bad—in small doses—it’s not always helpful to think of dramatically smashing them down or blowing them up. Instead, counter the most harmful effects of silos by thinking of your efforts as building bridges: across teams, departments, and systems. 

Identifying the biggest blockages and pain points and how to most effectively remove them, with more integrated systems or deeper cross-functional employee connections, can help you get rid of the harmful effects of silos without disrupting their benefits. 

2. Create purposeful cross-team connections 

Employee connection plays a key role in breaking down silos as well; it’s much harder to feel competitive with, or hoard information from, other employees when you know them more deeply as people. This is particularly important for remote and hybrid companies where your employees in different teams and departments might not get much, or any, casual facetime to build those bonds. 

Plus, employees who know each other better are more likely to feel comfortable reaching out with small questions about something outside their own area of expertise, or asking for help on a project or with a system. And those small moments can be critical in destroying larger barriers. 

3. Prioritize psychological safety 

Speaking of asking questions, employees need to feel safe admitting when they don’t know things, need help, or have made a mistake. Psychological safety helps people feel safe to take risks, speak up, and disagree without fearing they’ll face negative consequences. 

A feeling of safety at work leads to stronger performance, more innovation, and a more open culture where teams feel comfortable sharing ideas, working together on new projects, and doing old tasks in a new way. If you don’t provide psychological safety in the workplace, employees may try to find safety by hiding behind silos instead. 

4. Re-imagine internal mobility

Internal mobility is a great silo-buster, as it helps employees move across the organization with lateral moves and rotations. Not only do employees get cross-trained on much-needed skills this way, but they also gain exposure to how other teams and departments think and work. This deeper understanding and knowledge (plus the human connections they build as well) work directly against the spread of silos. 

5. Spread skills across your organization

Spreading your people across teams is great—but it’s critical to do the same with skills. If the only Excel wizards in your org are on the finance team, for example, that creates a silo that employees in your communications department need to deal with when they need help with a distribution list in a spreadsheet.

By cross-training employees on a variety of skills across the company, you not only build bridges over those silos but also create more organizational stability. You can also focus on hiring people who have a broad range of skills where you can, instead of focusing more on narrow specialists for every role. 

6. Facilitate communication

Communication is the best way to break down or bridge over silos, but you can’t simply expect it to happen naturally. Formally agree upon and open up communication channels and set standards for how to use them—like relying on Slack for quick, non-urgent questions and casual employee chats, email for larger questions, and Loom to explain more complicated issues. 

One typical symptom of silos is sitting in too many meetings where the same information is shared over and over. Meetings are not the only way to communicate across teams—in fact, excessive meetings can contribute to those roadblocks and negative feelings between teams if they’re not effective. Work in additional methods of communication that help employees get work done and connect efficiently instead. 

7. Share the love between peers 

Building those employee connections is made much easier when you have a peer-to-peer recognition system in place. Colleagues across teams and departments can recognize and appreciate each other for a job well done, on both cross-functional projects and 1:1 collaborations. This recognition also offers employees visibility into how well other teams are working together and the results they’re achieving, encouraging them to join in. 

Plus, that kind of positive recognition helps you create a culture where collaboration and cooperation—instead of competition— are rewarded. And that kind of culture is one where silos can’t stay up for long. 

Building organizational connections and bridges 

Creating stronger employee bonds and opening up channels of communication are the most important elements of a silo-busting strategy. If you’re looking for a platform to help you connect employees with peer-to-peer recognition, Bonusly’s employee recognition and rewards platform makes it easy for you to build a cooperative and collaborative culture that silos simply can’t stand up to. 

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