Uniting a Remote Company Through Public Peer-to-Peer Recognition
Growing a company is hard work. The more you grow, the more you struggle to keep everyone on the same page. When your company has a distributed or hybrid model, keeping everyone on the same page and developing meaningful connections is exponentially more difficult. How can you praise employees you don’t see? How do you encourage remote team members to go beyond their day-to-day duties and ensure the company’s mission stays front and center?
Creating a Distributed Workforce
I joined Kruze Consulting as the Chief Operating Officer seven years ago, three years after my wife, Vanessa Kruze, founded the company. Today, we have more than 150 employees and 700 clients on our roster, nearly all of which are venture-backed startups. Our clients often have brilliant and sophisticated founders, but they need help with their financials and taxes, and that’s what we do best.
We’ve grown from a three-person company to a multi-country enterprise, and along the way, our company went from having a physical office to a fully distributed workforce. With such rapid scaling potential, we knew we could grant our employees a better working environment, greater freedom, and more flexibility by eliminating our offices. The move would enlarge our talent pool and allow us to reach potential previously unavailable hires.
The transition to a remote workforce can be difficult, especially when forming connections with colleagues and between teams. Part of this transition involves finding new ways for colleagues to encourage and recognize each other for great work. Finding the right platform to enhance and promote public recognition has been instrumental in a seamless remote operation.
Why We Formalize and Amplify Peer Recognition
When working remotely, people lose opportunities for informal praise from peers. There are no water coolers or elevators that allow people to engage with each other casually, no kitchen where people overhear snippets about outstanding accomplishments, and no more passing people in hallways. In a fully distributed workplace, all employee engagement, recognition, and publicity must happen entirely online.
Public recognition is always great, but it’s especially critical in our line of work. Our accounting and tax team often has to address high intensity or urgent requests from clients on any given day. These requests sometimes require them to pull other employees into a project, whether a subject-matter expert, a state-level tax professional, or a financial modeler.
We wanted a way to publicly call out people who jumped into the fray to put out fires, meet urgent deadlines, solve specific issues, and handle behind-the-scenes work. This work often goes unnoticed, and the last thing we wanted was to make people feel their contributions weren’t appreciated, therefore alienating them from their work and the company.
This thought process brought us to , a personalized peer recognition and rewards platform. We discovered Bonusly through the Slack marketplace about five years ago, even before our complete transition to a remote workplace. Initially, we viewed Bonusly as an avenue for us to make good work public and offer a reward for that work. People loved it right away and we saw high participation rates from the very beginning.
Automation Makes Recognition Easy for Our Managers of Customer Success
After we launched Bonusly, we experienced firsthand that public recognition could be really impactful. Frequent recognition makes people feel good. It also incentivizes further great execution and behavior. Our Bonusly Slack channel is active with at least 40 recognition posts daily, and reading the posts is consistently a highlight of my day.
Our managers of Customer Success often look for areas of positivity to improve retention and productivity, and Bonusly gives them a way to encourage and champion their teams rather than relying on negative feedback. We found a way to make this even easier for them when we adopted and discovered how well the two platforms worked together.
Frame AI analyzes customer interactions to generate actionable data about customer sentiment, customer effort, and team effort that power analytics, alerts, and automation. Frame AI captures data from Zendesk, and uses that data to identify wins (moments of customer appreciation and praise) and risks (moments that we want to correct). It picks up on specific language, turns of phrase, and other indicators of happy or frustrated customers, and the wins then trigger recognition in Bonusly.
This automation has come in particularly handy during the 2021 tax season. As the IRS and state tax agencies have suffered extreme delays, the situation has become increasingly frustrating to clients. Our combination of tools works together to identify customers that need extra reassurance, enabling us to boost our customer response with an empathetic ear. Knowing what’s going wrong with your pipeline is extremely valuable, but identifying wins has proven more beneficial. Not only can we work to replicate winning language and improve the client experience, but we can use Bonusly and Frame AI to ensure no one gets left out.
People are busy, and sometimes they forget that recognition piece. Rather than relying on people to go the extra mile and take that next step to recognize their peers, Frame AI scans everything, saving our CSMs enormous time and resources. It also offers a more systematic approach to ensure we aren’t missing anyone.
The Frame AI team makes our lives simpler, too. Kruze Consulting is tech forward, but we aren’t a software company, so we need solutions that work out of the box. Luckily for us, Bonusly was that from the beginning, and we’ve continued to leverage that functionality with Frame AI.
Seeing Company Values in Action
We work in a challenging business, and our work can be stressful. It’s hard to do what we do—separate from each other—and keep the service level high. Using Bonusly, we can uncover all of the great work that would otherwise go unseen, making people feel less alienated.
Kruze Consulting has been using Bonusly for so long that it’s become an integral part of our company culture. It unites our team and makes people feel good about their contributions. All recognition in Bonusly is tied to our company values—communication, collaboration, enabling customer greatness—so everyone sees how various actions embody and reinforce these values every day. And because people can also convert their points into charitable donations, we see them pay their good work forward to causes worldwide.
Bonusly built a product that people like and is easy to use. We have more than 100 users and we’re always exploring new ways to increase engagement.
Recognition isn’t just something we do at Kruze Consulting; it’s who we are. Bonusly has turned this period of the Great Resignation into the Great Recognition, giving our managers opportunities to boost peer-to-peer recognition in an easy, fun, and approachable way.