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.

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