Welcome to Hired! where we interview HR leaders to learn the latest in the world of hiring and HR. On this episode of Hired! by ModoHR, we spoke with Noah, Head of People at Guusto, an employee and customer rewards and recognition organization.
On this episode we discuss:
- The Importance of employee recognition.
- The increase in adoption of Guusto’s programs.
- How things are done at Guusto.
- How to build a culture of recognition.
How did you end up at Guusto and what is your role?
I joined them because of what they built and who the founders are, and what the company personifies, so pretty excited to be part of the team.
My title is Head of People. A lot of what I'm doing is coming in and helping build out those people practices and best practices and lay that foundation as we grow as a company, it's still a smaller startup, where we're seeing a lot of growth.
The founder brought me on board to make sure that the level of people is really done well, if you're an HR company, you have to be breathing your values. You have to walk your talk more so than any other organization, so they decided early on to bring in somebody to really help with that.
Tell us about employee recognition. What is the importance of that to you and to other organizations?
I think this is really important, especially in this day and age, with everyone virtual, it's a lot harder to give off the cuff employee recognition that you could in an office space. Before you could walk up to somebody's desk and say, hey, great job on that, that was awesome. Or you see your team working really hard in the conference room, and you run out and buy everybody coffee, and treats and bring that into the boardroom. You can't do that anymore; the logistics of it is more challenging, but you still want to be showing your appreciation. You still want to be connected with your team, you still want your team to be connecting with each other because that’s even more important than manager feedback - that peer feedback, that peer connection.
We really believe that employee recognition is one of the best things you can do for an organization to make your people happier, make them feel connected again, and help them build that community that they may have had in the office, virtually. And there are best practices around that. You figure out ways to say thank you more often, you figure out ways to show appreciation for the extra work that people are doing, the flexibility that people are showing right now, working from home, or managing their kids and maybe working a little bit later at night because they have to pick up their kid from school or something else.
Employee recognition is one of those ways that you can really add a lot of value to your employee’s life.
Has Guusto seen a spike in interest since the pandemic?
We’ve definitely seen more people reaching out saying that their old program doesn't work anymore, and they need to make it better or that they don’t have a program but are seeing the need to be connected with their people more and show them that they appreciate them. A Slack thank you is not consistent enough. It's not enough. Some managers are really good at it, some managers aren't. They need a tool, a process or the insight to just help them get there.
How does Guusto approach setting up an employee recognition program?
It’s month to month and we predominantly provide value in the sense of, you, as an HR leader, can set up your teams and can invite your managers, and empower them with budgets to recognize their employees, you don't have to invite everyone into the platform. It makes it really easy.
There's an app for people to download and use if they want. The big thing that we like to differentiate ourselves with is that we're not a points-based system, we don't think points is the right approach – for example an employee getting 10 points for doing a good job. Managers can be allocated in the budget, and they can send gift cards with a “Great job, you did really well, I want to buy you and your family dinner, here's a gift card to Uber Eats, takeout is on me tonight” or something like that. The message is also part of it, instead of just saying here's a Starbucks gift card, it’s educating them on how to show that appreciation.
The other side is the peer recognition. There is a nomination box part of it, where peers can nominate each other based on the values as an organization. They could say something like “This person took a risk, and they really are trying to do this thing that is a bit out of their knowledge zone or out of their comfort zone, and it's paying off, and it's awesome to see.” Then there are these nominations, and anyone can go see all the nominations and give anyone nominations as much as they want.
I’d say the most important part is that peer to peer connection, and that helps build the community between a team.
When I was new to my role, I did one on ones with every single person in the organization and asked them what their favourite part of working at Guusto was. A lot of responses were “I love the people I work with; I love that we all get along really well.”
I love that we all believe in this culture of recognition. We’re always building each other up and recognizing each other but they’re also not afraid to give each other critical feedback when it's time to do that as well.
What does employee recognition look like?
There are going to be those executives, and those people who think “what am I getting out of this? I pay people to do their job, I expect them to do the job, why would I also buy into this recognition platform?” It’s about rewarding people, because they're going above and beyond their job, they're doing those extra things and you're showcasing the things that people do that don't always happen, because managers aren't going to be able to see it all.
When their peers are able to recognize them, then those managers get insight into other areas of performance that they otherwise wouldn't see. And it is real time, you're not waiting for your manager one on one, you're not waiting for your annual performance review. It's happening daily, weekly - it's happening when it should be happening. It creates a sense of community at your organization, and it builds connections between your team, which I think is so important at this point in time.
What is on the horizon at Guusto?
We’re in the midst of launching a new platform, so very excited about that. We've been doing some product webinars on it and showcasing all the new features. That’s coming out really soon. Then adding more capabilities, making it easier for people to get involved. Generally, our number one goal is to empower people to recognize each other and build that community within their organization because we think that's so important. It needs to go beyond the Slack chat or Zoom call.
Are there any plans to build integrations with different platforms?
It is a SAAS, and we've got our apps and yes, we'll be building integrations into systems such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. Then looking at connecting it to different HR systems so that the HR team can easily import into the system.
Is there anything you'd like to announce about the company? Maybe someone wants to come work for you? How do they get in touch?
Just send an email to email@example.com, or you can reach out to me directly at Guusto. Look me up on LinkedIn or Twitter, happy to connect with anyone. If anyone wants advice on general HR People practices, I'm always happy to help. I'm in a lot of different People and HR groups, and happy to share knowledge, share ideas.
I'd say for Guusto, check us out, see if it's something that you're interested in. If you're looking for an employee recognition platform, or you have been doing it manually, see if we can help and if we can, we'd love to have a conversation.
If you enjoyed this episode of Hired!, check out our past episode with Vancouver based startup, Klue.