A team is a measure of time.
During our marketing department’s first meeting in 2022, we talked about the Marshall Fire in Colorado, media we consumed over the holidays (Insecure and NBA games, how about you?), friends and family we visited with, and who among us had recently contracted COVID-19.
In the weeks that followed, we welcomed two amazing new teammates, interviewed and hired one person to join us, and offboarded a dear colleague who led our department for over four years. With each of these changes, our team had a lot to celebrate and a lot to make sense of all at once!
The thing is, teams are always changing because the individuals on teams are always changing. Regardless of how long we belong to a team or a company, our individual needs, experiences, motivations, anxieties, and goals are subject to change at any given moment due to, well, life and the world around us. **gestures broadly at everything**
No matter what, supporting and celebrating our teammates is always an option. In 2021, Bonusly employees recognized each other 25,568 times and Bonusly users recognized each other 7,014,461 times.
Each Bonusly recognition post generates trustworthy data about collaboration, company values, and team dynamics. We consider the data trustworthy because only 0.03% of the recognition posts given by users in 2021 were flagged by users or the Bonusly Quality Bot.
For our customers, this data can offer insights into employee connectedness and interdepartmental collaboration. For Bonusly-the-company, the aggregate of this data helps us make sense of how our customers were impacted by seasonal trends and make decisions on where we want to land in the future.
What follows is an attempt to put these data points into context with insights from Bonusly teammates and customers and the benefit of hindsight. We're not bold enough to predict the future of employee engagement, but we are excited to share a few forward-looking reflections on teamwork, people management, and scaling from the year that just was.
Celebrations support growth
Bonusly, the company that makes Bonusly the product, doubled in size in 2021; we onboarded more than 60 employees and celebrated 62 work anniversaries. Luckily for our people ops team, scaling our company's core cultural celebrations is taken care of by a simple HRIS integration and Bonusly's Automated Awards, a core feature that invites all employees to welcome new hires and celebrate employee birthdays and work anniversaries.
Across our entire customer base, nearly 300,000 New Hire, Birthday, and Work Anniversary Awards were given out in 2021! 🎈🎈🎈
Our customers also counted on Bonusly to help their teams stay connected in 2021 as they transitioned to more in-office days, adopted hybrid work models, or doubled down on remote work. 66% of Bonusly customers used the platform to connect teams in multiple locations and 32% used it to connect teams in multiple countries.
We expect those percentages to increase in 2022 since global hiring is one of the top HR trends we are tracking this year. For companies like Headspace Health, a longtime Bonusly customer, hiring more people around the world doesn't create entirely new employee engagement challenges. Instead, it reinforces the need for strategic inclusivity.
To this point, Cornell Woodson, director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Headspace Health, notes that his team is focused on creating solutions that work for everyone. “How are we going to make sure that innovation and information sharing is still done well with people all over the world? We need to make sure there’s as much access for people working from home and people working in the office," says Cornell.
For the scoop on global hiring trends and more from Cornell and HR folks at Donut, 1Password, and Bonusly, download 10 Lessons HR Professionals and their Teams Learned in 2021
Visibility promotes understanding
For Raphael Crawford-Marks, Bonusly's founder and CEO, the kind of information sharing that Cornell mentioned is a crucial element of the Bonusly platform.
"With our growth and distributed teams, Bonusly-the-product has really helped me get visibility into who’s joining, what they’re working on, and what different parts of the org are doing," Raphael explains.
"Having that visibility and getting a sense of what everyone’s accomplishing is so valuable," he says. And by "everyone," he does mean everyone: in an average month in 2021, 100% of Bonusly employees gave recognition and 99.9% received recognition. 💯
Platform-wide, on average, 84% of Bonusly users gave and/or received recognition each month in 2021. Ninety-two percent of all Bonusly recognition in the year was peer-to-peer recognition and 28% of all recognition given by managers went to their direct reports.
As CEO and a people manager, Raphael is focusing on team integration in 2022: "We grew a ton last year, both our revenues and our people, so now it's time to learn who all these people are, what the team dynamics are, what’s working, and what strengths our new organization has," he says. "We’re also all still dealing with these sorts of additional stressors that, until 18-20 months ago, just didn’t exist."
A team is a measure of time.
Michael Powers, director of employee experience and engagement at Toast, is coming at 2022 with the goal of making every employee's experience the best that it possibly can be. By leveraging the data generated by Toast's high Bonusly participation rates—in 2021, an average of 87% of Toasters received recognition every month—Michael and his team have already started identifying areas of opportunity at the team and manager level.
Raphael and Michael spoke with Vicki Yang, Bonusly's VP of People Ops, about how they'll be using people analytics in 2022—watch the recording!
For people managers and people ops folks using Bonusly, the lightweight feedback gathering tool that we released in mid-2021, Bonusly Signals, has considerably expanded the breadth of information sharing potential on the platform. Our product team baked best practices and incentives into the tool to help survey senders and respondents get value from every information exchange. So far, our approach appears to be working! 58% of Signals surveys sent in 2021 used pre-built templates to request employee input on things like nominations and employee wellness.
Internally, we used Bonusly Signals to undertake a feedback and revision process in late 2021 for our Employee Un-Handbook, a living document that Raphael calls "the founding constitution of Bonusly." Because we've built our hiring practices in alignment with our company values, updating our staff handbook to reflect the needs of our present organization didn't mean we had to start from scratch.
Instead, using the employee feedback they collected as a guide, Raphael and our leadership team revisited the existing descriptions of our values and added specifications to make them actionable for our larger organization.
By the way, all the changes to Bonusly's Un-Handbook are public! Take a look at this pull request to see line-by-line updates to our #default-to-transparency value definition.
Shared values push us forward
How can Bonusly enable high-performing teams by facilitating better connections—both internally, for our own teams, and externally, for our customers? Two areas of Bonusly data that we can examine further are the company values that get recognized most often and the reward options that people consistently choose.
For the second year in a row, #teamwork and #collaboration were the first and second most popular Company Value Hashtags added to recognition posts in 2021. Of course, those rankings don't account for companies with creative names for their company values. BlockFi's most popular Company Value Hashtag in 2021, for instance, was #individual-effort-collective-success.
"Bonusly has been a great way to promote our company's mission because everything is tied back to our values," raved Joey Konkel, a people experience manager at BlockFi, in a recent conversation with AXOMO. Joey and his team launched Bonusly with BlockFi's integrated AXOMO swag store in September 2021. "On day one, we had more shout outs on Bonusly than we'd had in the entire previous year on our old recognition and rewards platform."
With the release of our AXOMO integration in 2021, swag and custom reward options accounted for a larger percentage of Bonusly reward redemptions than they had in prior years. And although overall donations to charity slowed down after a record-breaking year in 2020, the Bonusly community did mark a major collective milestone in June 2021 when we surpassed $1 million in total donations given via the platform! 🙌
And there you have it, folks! This snapshot of data is a reflection of the work, values, and growth of Bonusly users during an intense year. Here's to a 2022 full of more celebrations, stronger connections, and our best teams yet. 💚
Go at your own pace
You don't have to solve all of your employee experience problems today, and you certainly don't have to do it alone! If you'd like to keep reading, check out our latest resources and interviews: