Gabi is the Talent Management Lead at Nexthink, an international employee software company.
A simple “thank you” can mean the world to someone, regardless of who says it. And in the workplace, recognition of good work can lead to a deeper sense of connection across the organization.
Unfortunately, that can be a big challenge at an international company—or anywhere with remote workers. A person in Boston might work with someone in Madrid or Dubai on a project, but once the project is completed and those daily collaborations cease, it’s easy for people to fall out of mind.
Over the past few years, Nexthink has formalized a space for giving and receiving recognition, so employees feel valued wherever they are.
A Positive Environment That Was Siloed
Nexthink is a leading digital employee experience management software, giving IT leaders unprecedented insight into employees’ daily experiences of technology. We are a global company with 1,000 employees serving companies in 40 countries worldwide, but we still foster a friendly, non-hierarchical environment where anyone can approach a colleague as a peer, no matter their role or title.
I joined Nexthink in 2021 as an HR business partner, supporting our go-to-market organizations. It was right in the midst of the pandemic and at the time, we had about 700 employees. Everyone was working remote, and there was this new sense of everyone feeling like there was these silos that existed that hadn't existed before.
Even though Nexthink was a positive space, we didn’t have any formal employee recognition or rewards mechanism. People would offer recognition and appreciation informally, but it was primarily within their own team or department, and so it went unnoticed by the wider community. With Nexthink employees working in different countries across various time zones, a lot of good work flew under the radar. An employee engagement survey reinforced this idea: People didn't think others saw or celebrated their success.
The talent management team works to strengthen the bridges between departments and geographic regions. We knew gaps existed in our impromptu and siloed approach to recognition, and Meg, our chief people officer, saw an opportunity to enhance recognition throughout the organization.
Aligning Appreciation-Worthy Actions with Company Values
I had used Bonusly at a previous company to great success. Recognition is way better when it comes from people that you work with every day and see your work. I love the peer-to-peer element of Bonusly, which prevents recognition from being only top-down. It's also spontaneous. It's a beautiful thing to democratize recognition and the rewards behind it.
It's a beautiful thing to democratize recognition and the rewards behind it.
So I suggested it to our leadership team as a way to combine direct, cross-departmental recognition with a focus on company values. At Nexthink, our values are We Are One Team, We Get Things Done, We Are Positive, and We Keep Growing. Everyone gets points they can award to their colleagues for good work, a positive attitude, and everything in between. Every recognition post in Bonusly must include a company value hashtag, reinforcing how kudos-worthy actions align with what the company stands for.
Once we launched Bonusly, we maximized this hashtag feature for our core value awards. We have one award for each of our four values, and our nomination process for these awards now happens exclusively through Bonusly. At the end of the year, everyone at Nexthink gets an opportunity to put forward five nominations. Each nomination must include an explanation of how their colleague has embodied that core value. We then tabulate who received the most recognition for each value. Management reviews the submissions and determines award winners based on the nominations.
Everybody likes seeing such widespread recognition and we have since expanded to using Bonusly for events throughout the year. On International Women’s Day, for example, we rewarded those people who took the time to discuss the challenges women face in the workplace. And for Employee Appreciation Day, we doubled everyone’s point allowance for the month to encourage them to be extra thankful to their colleagues. We can tailor Bonusly to fit the company’s priorities and focus at any given time and this flexibility also empowers managers to encourage specific actions within their teams.
Bonusly Breaks Barriers and Instills Resilience
I manage the platform together with my colleague, Nicole Pesantes, management is a breeze. We used to spend time and effort on ad hoc rewards like gift cards. But we have employees in a few different countries, so securing gift cards in various denominations and currencies required a huge amount of effort. The accounting department really likes Bonusly because we can distribute rewards quickly without the headache of ensuring we have the right amount in the correct currency. We have integrations set up so it's pretty seamless and self-sustaining.
One of the most valuable benefits of Bonusly is helping us overcome geographic barriers between employees in different time zones and countries. Now, everyone can see what their colleagues are working on and what they’re doing well, even though they may work thousands of miles away from each other. That visibility brings everyone together as one unified company. And as important as recognition is, Bonusly keeps it light and fun. It’s an intuitive platform, and GIFs and hashtags help users communicate like we’re all used to in other digital media.
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
We launched Bonusly during the pandemic, where getting a kind word from anybody was much appreciated. Bonusly helped employees feel seen even when we couldn’t be physically present. The resiliency we have built with Bonusly continues to bolster our workforce during times of economic uncertainty. Throughout the Great Resignation, our attrition stayed flat year over year, and although I can't attribute that directly to Bonusly, I do know our employees feel like they have opportunities to be seen in a lot of different ways and I'm sure we have kept more people engaged and invested in their work. We value each other more, and leadership can see the value that we all bring to the table.
Giving credit where credit is due also helps boost positivity. In our feed, everyone can see individuals thanking interns right next to VPs or directors, which aligns with the non-hierarchical culture we want to maintain across the organization.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Our most used reward is the Allowance Boost, which allows people to cash in their points to boost their giving allowance to others. It’s great to see people sacrifice something of their own to spread more goodwill to their colleagues.
In addition to our Allowance Boost, Bonusly’s analytics have become especially important for us. It helps the talent and management team determine how workloads are distributed, and identify the unsung heroes of the organization who might go unnoticed otherwise. We can also track the most used core value hashtags and which hashtags may need attention. For example, if we see a fluctuation in our #we-are-positive hashtag, that tells us something about morale. If we see a decrease in the use of #we-get-things-done, that might indicate some friction slowing down workflows, which we can address proactively. Our most popular hashtag is #we-are-one-team, which tells us that we have a strong collective sense of collaboration and cooperation.
Bonusly is now part of our onboarding process, so everyone at Nexthink—960 people at last count—has immediate access. Nicole and I are constantly looking for ways to boost engagement and keep usage above average. Sometimes, increasing engagement means launching specific initiatives or working with teams to identify how they can best use Bonusly. From March 2022 to February 2023, our average rate of recognition received was around 90%. We see about 54 acts of recognition received each month, and we’ve seen a 15% increase in recognition sentiment in our employee engagement survey.
Everyone Can Get the Recognition They Deserve
Recognition isn’t something you can force onto others, and it doesn’t work as a mandatory policy. It needs to be born from the genuine feelings and sentiments of employees. However, there are things a company can do to encourage that activity, and one of them is to adopt a centralized platform for recognition and rewards.
Recognition isn’t something you can force onto others. It needs to be born from the genuine feelings and sentiments of employees.
Bonusly has allowed cross-functional teams to recognize each other in a way that wasn't happening before. And by creating visibility to some of the successful wins, people see other people's success and get more opportunities to share knowledge. It's also empowered individual employees and managers to reward team members without having to go through the hurdles of getting budget approvals. Bonusly fits really nicely into our values, and our values drive all the results and our bottom line.
Our team uses Bonusly to create ongoing opportunities for colleagues to thank and recognize each other—not just for their work but for who they are as people. Because it’s not just about the company, it’s about the humans behind the Nexthink name. Bonusly makes sure everyone gets the recognition they deserve. Doing so fosters a stronger connection with each other, with the company, and with our work.
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