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Jostle and Bonusly now integrate to provide a one click method of rewarding employee achievements PHOTO: Eric Chan

Two employee-focused technology companies have teamed up to provide a way to reward employees when they receive recognition from colleagues. 

The companies — Jostle and Bonusly — provide, respectively, an intuitive intranet for employees, and a peer-to-peer recognition platform. They announced the integration in respective blog posts this morning.

Two Approaches to Employee Engagement

A deeper look at the two offerings is necessary to appreciate the significance of the offering. 

Although each company takes a different approach, both companies share the goal of encouraging employee engagement. Vancouver, BC-based Jostle offers a new kind of intranet, Brad Palmer, Jostle’s co-founder and CEO told CMSWire. The company’s product, called People Engagement platform, boasts employee engagement rates of five times the industry norm. "We are beating 85 percent employee participation, which is an unheard of number," Palmer said.

The platform works with all sorts of management structures, industry sectors and company sizes but is primarily used by employees and managers to share news in their divisions.

In particular, a feature called Shout-Outs, which — as the name suggests — is used to thank or reward a fellow employee or worker for help with a project or just a job well done.

Boulder, Colo.-based Bonusly, counts companies such as Hulu, InVision, ZipRecruiter and SurveyMonkey among its users. Its raison d'être is to reward and motivate employees.

“What we have created is a framework for post hoc recognition,” Raphael Crawford-Marks, co-founder and CEO at Bonusly told CMSWire. "People want to be able to give praise and recognition in the workforce but they often don’t have a venue to do it. That is what we provide."

Integration With A Click

The integration between the two, done via Bonusly’s API, presents as a simple click in Jostle’s application. "Our API allows for integrations like this to be built," Crawford-Marks said. "We want to bring Bonusly to where employees are, such as those using internal communication tools like Jostle."

This is how the integrated offering works:

Jostle has a feed in which the employees give each other shout-outs. With the Bonusly integration they are given a certain number of points each month that they dispense to other employees at their discretion. Did someone skip lunch to help you with a project? You call him out on the feed and give him, say, 20 points. Did someone from IT stay late to get your computer in running order because you had a huge presentation the next day? Thank you — and here’s 30 points. 

Jostle - Bonusly Employee recognition

The recipients can cash the points in for various small rewards.

Many companies allow them to be used as donations to a charity, Palmer said. Other companies allow employees to cash in their points for small gift cards from Starbucks or Amazon. For multinational companies the point system is particularly useful so the cross-border employees don’t have to worry about exchange rates, he added.

Whatever You Do, Don't Call it Gamification

This is not a gamification app, Crawford-Marks is quick to say. 

"Gamification is characterized by using game mechanics to encourage certain tasks such as closing a customer ticket. It is a contingent motivator to get an employee to do more of those things."

Crawford-Marks is dismissive of those types of applications, noting leaderboards and points rarely work as incentives in a complex society. "There are subtle differences between an incentive program that has a narrow focus of encouraging someone to accomplish a task compared to a system that gives points to express appreciation after the fact," he said.

Gamification also adds more "noise" to the workplace, an environment that rarely is in need of yet more noise, Palmer said. 

“One reason we achieve high engagement rates is because we are careful not to make extra work for employees,” he said. As for Bonusly, it doesn’t want to force its recognition platform on hapless employees either. "Our goal is to add the power of recognition to the tools they are already using," Crawford-Marks said.