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Employee recognition

How Bonusly Uses Bonusly

Helen Murphy
October 26, 2021
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This is hopefully not a surprise to you, but Bonusly (the company) uses Bonusly (the product), and we love it! 🤗💚🎉

If you’re finding it difficult to visualize what Bonusly looks like in action, you’re in the right spot. Who better to find inspiration and ideas from than the experts? 😉

But first, what is Bonusly?

Bonusly is the fun and easy employee engagement solution that combines peer-to-peer recognition, meaningful feedback, and rewards that employees love to keep them engaged and satisfied. Bonusly helps you celebrate everyday contributions and key milestones, automate time-consuming HR admin processes, run and incentivize participation in company initiatives and surveys, and offer digital rewards your employees will love.

See peer-to-peer recognition in action with a tour of Bonusly.

There are four main product areas where we have some fun, unique use cases and ways to use Bonusly at your company to help enrich company culture and promote your organization’s values.

Here’s what we’ll go through:

  • 💚 Recognition: Bonusly’s recognition software makes great work visible across the company, keeping people connected and building a greater sense of alignment and purpose.
  • 🎁 Rewards: Meaningful recognition leads to meaningful rewards! Bonusly’s reward catalog offers instantly available digital gift cards from popular brands as well as Custom Rewards.
  • 📈 Analytics: Bonusly’s powerful people analytics tools help you make meaningful improvements to your employee experience and connect the dots like never before.


Engaged employees are beneficial for workplaces in every way: they're higher performers, they’re connected and committed to their company, and they're willing to go above and beyond their role. In organizations that put a heavy emphasis on praising and recognizing employee achievements, engagement levels increase by nearly 60%. - Bonusly’s Guide to Modern Employee Recognition

Bonusly’s recognition feed makes great work visible across the company. It keeps our teams connected, and builds a greater sense of alignment and purpose across the work we do on a daily basis and the long-term goals we are working towards. Bonusly employees had 100% monthly giving AND receiving rates in 2021.


There are many ways we use our recognition feed outside of day-to-day peer recognition that help build a scalable culture of recognition. Two of our favorites are Manual Awards and using goal-specific company values with recognition.

Manual Awards

We live and breathe peer to peer recognition at Bonusly, but there are some instances where it just doesn’t make sense. Employee incentive programs, employee recognition awards, and spot recognition fall into this category. Our solution: Bonusly Manual Awards!

Manual Awards are earmarked funds for specific programs, incentives, and occasions. Bonusly users with giver permissions for a Manual Award can give out the award without drawing from their own monthly allowances. Once given, Manual Award bonuses appear in the recognition feed right alongside other peer recognition.

We have a number of Manual Awards here at Bonusly so we can recognize our teammates for acts that benefit a department, or the whole organization. Here are a few examples:

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🎉💚💥 New Customer Alert 💥

Our sales team is full of rockstars and when they close a deal, we want the whole company to celebrate with them. Our sales managers give bonuses from our “New Customer Alert” Manual Award to celebrate deals made. As a bonus, managers include extra context on the deal such as why the company went with Bonusly. This extra bit of information is great for cross-team transparency.

Barketing Hero 🐶

Our marketing team gives bonuses from the Barketing Hero award to thank our colleagues when they do something to support marketing’s goals. For example, when our coworkers share information about an upcoming virtual event on their social media channels or when they share a customer that might be a good fit for a customer story. (Also, we love dogs and we couldn’t pass up this punny name. 😆🐶)

Guidepost Ranger

Bonusly is a fast-growing start-up and with growth comes the need for better knowledge management. We have an internal team called Guidepost that implements and manages a great piece of software called Guru to help with knowledge management. When launching Guru, our Guidepost team created the Guidepost Ranger Manual Award.

Guidepost Ranger (1)

Core Values

Company core values are a powerful tool that can motivate your employees, connect them with a sense of purpose, and offer direction on how to make decisions and treat others in your workplace. We do our best to live and breathe our core values and we have them front and center on our recognition feed.

But we have other goals we are working towards that are core to the company, but not necessarily a core value. For these goals, we create a #hashtag in Bonusly and use it when recognition is given out related to this goal. Using a hashtag lets us track activity around that goal and see who is contributing to making it happen. A good example of this is our #grow-the-team hashtag, which is used when someone participates in interviews, makes a referral, or other activities related to helping fill the hiring pipeline.

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It’s important to know your team and reward behavior accordingly. In general, praise should be public and can be a great learning opportunity for the whole team. Tying that praise to a tangible reward can remind employees of their achievements long after praise is given. - Bonusly’s Guide to Modern Employee Recognition

Bonusly’s Reward Catalog is extensive. We have gift card, donation, and cash-out options in more than 120 countries with new rewards added monthly. Variety is the spice of life, after all. While gift cards are great, we make it super easy to customize the Reward Catalog with options that are meaningful to your company, culture, and values. Custom Rewards are an excellent way to add experiences, team outings, and in-jokes to your catalog! Unlike the Reward Catalog options, which Bonusly automatically fulfills, Custom Rewards are fulfilled by you.

Here’s what Bonusly’s Custom Rewards look like. 👀

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 5.49.39 AM

Goat 2 Meeting 🐐

If you’ve never heard about Goat 2 Meeting, you’re missing out. For less than $100, you can request a farm join your video chat to see a grab bag of cute farm animals. We added Goat 2 Meeting as a Custom Reward and it didn’t take long for Bonuslians to pool their dabs (our Bonusly point name) and get the Catskill Animal Sanctuary at our April 2020 all-hands meeting. We still think about Tracy, Edith, and Ferguson. 💚

Meaningful Donations

In mid-2021, Bonusly users surpassed $1 million to charity via Bonusly’s Reward Catalog. Even though employees have a variety of gift card options to choose from like Amazon, Starbucks, and Target, at least one out of every 20 reward redemptions is a charity donation. We’ve further customized the donation portion of our catalog by adding Custom Reward donation options that are meaningful to our company culture. We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: we love dogs (and cats) at Bonusly! The Humane Society of Boulder Valley (HSBV) is a charity near and dear to our hearts. Bonuslians have donated more than $900 to the HSBV Custom Reward in our Reward Catalog.



When it comes to analytics, look for tools that allow you to easily see team engagement in aggregate as well as which employees stand out as recognition and engagement. Use data to understand team dynamics, who’s recognized most frequently, and what they're being recognized for. - Bonusly’s Guide to Modern Employee Recognition

The average Bonusly user gives AND receives recognition at least once a week. 😲 Bonusly uses the rich social data produced by the giving of frequent recognition and transforms it into useful data, predictive metrics, and timelines. You get insights and information from Bonusly that you literally can’t get from anywhere else. You can read more about our analytics here. Read on to see examples of how we use our company’s Bonusly analytics to reduce silos, create opportunities for collaboration, and help employees grow and thrive.

Network Analysis

Like many companies in March 2020, Bonusly went from in-person to remote work in an instant. Luckily, we still had plenty of transparency into who was working with whom and on what thanks to our Bonusly analytics. Many of our managers and leaders within Bonusly use our Organization Graph to get a snapshot of who their reports are working with most and where there may be opportunities for more collaboration. With one click on the Activity feed, you can learn more about the projects folks are working on together. Our analysts have been a huge boon for enabling transparency and collaboration during this time of remote work.


Reviews and Reducing Recency Bias

Many of our managers use our user activity page to find information to support performance and career development. You can scroll through the recognition activity to review performance over time and get a reminder through past recognition of all the projects the employee has worked on in a review period—not just the most recent activity. This helps our managers reduce recency bias and give more complete, thoughtful reviews and feedback.

Looking for a better way to facilitate performance review conversations? Grab our handy performance management review template.

Wrapping up

Our goal at Bonusly is to help teams feel a greater sense of alignment and purpose, understand what it means to embody your company's core values, and see how contributions of all kinds support your mission. We’re constantly coming up with new and unique ways to use our software to better the employee experience.

Do you want to see how Bonusly could be put to work at your company? Request a Bonusly demo 👇

See Bonusly in action, Request a demo

Originally published on October 26, 2021 → Last updated January 3, 2023

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