Small Gamification Part 1: Bonusly


At the Gamification World Conference 2016 Pete Jenkins presented his idea on small gamification. Pete’s presentation demonstrated the fact that gamification is not just for organisations with big budgets and millions to spend on gamification. Gamification is possible for smaller organisations as well. There are affordable solutions that can be used to help smaller companies engage their customers and employees and achieve their goals.

Before the presentation, we did research to find the tools we thought would be the most effective for a small to medium sized company. The list we came up with ended up being a big part of Pete’s presentation at the GWC 16.

Now it’s time to have a more detailed look at each of these gamification tools and gradually start expanding the list with new case studies and examples of small – affordable gamification.

The first tool I will talk about is Bonusly.

Bonusly aims to help organisations re-think the way they give praise to their employees.

People work hard to earn a living, build a career and hopefully make a difference in the world around them. Some of the big picture goals we set for ourselves are quite difficult to visualise though and sometimes it’s demotivating to think about them.

Writer Robert Collier said that “success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out”.

In gamification, we take pride in saying that this is known to help people build positive feedback loops and develop habits that help them improve their lives.

Bonusly is a way to help co-workers in a company keep track of these big goals by monitoring and rewarding each other. You can reward each other on performing small or big tasks that eventually add up and lead us to success. By giving positive feedback to each other we build these habits as we motivate and encourage the people we work with to keep doing a good job.

The way Bonusly achieves that is by giving you a monthly allowance to give to your colleagues. You award them points for anything you want. Could be something that they helped you with something or they showed you something that made your work easier.

You just go to their profile, decide how many points you want to give them, what for and what category this task belongs too. The following screenshot is a simple example I took from my profile on Bonusly. 

The designers have introduced some basic hashtags that are categories the achievements belong to, like teamwork, leadership or innovation. Your colleagues can use these points to cash in for micro-prizes. This could be for a coffee at Starbucks, a book from Amazon or a donation to a charity. There is even the choice to set up your own rewards and award things like a day off or lunch with the CEO.

Bonusly is free for small teams and you can easily sign up for it and start using it. Its interface is really simple and intuitive. There are rich analytics that show who got and who gave the most points and what for. That way everyone can see their strengths and weaknesses and improve on them.

We think that Bonusly is a great idea for small companies to increase their employee engagement and motivation and help people build relationships by giving them the nudge to give praise to each other.

As a bonus, you can also take a look at this very interesting blog post by George Dickson, the content and community manager of Bonusly where he explains the way Bonusly approaches leadership and employee recognition.

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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