If you are able to say to someone that, 'Hey, you have $50', that's real. As against, 'you have 50 points.' So i think that selecting money as the language, that made it real for people. And I think they are more likely to utilize that than if you were accumulating points.
Breakthru Beverage is a leading North American alcoholic beverage wholesaler, which handles distribution of a number of leading brands, including Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, and Baileys. The company has over 7,000 employees working across different locations.
After reviewing the results of their annual engagement survey, the Canadian leadership team agreed that they needed to do more to improve employee recognition across teams at Breakthru.
Up until this point, recognition at the company was managed in-house, with little alignment across different teams and locations. According to VP of Human Resources Kermit Grant:
Another challenge was that employees had no way to recognize each other.
While the company was providing some budget and resources for recognition, the lack of a coherent, structured program was limiting its impact.
Kermit worked closely with Guusto’s Customer Success team to create a program that would meet their needs.
Breakthru’s program combined monetary and non-monetary recognition. Managers were assigned budgets to send Guusto gifts for spot recognition while all team members were given access to Guusto’s Shoutouts feature to send non-monetary recognition to peers. This was particularly important in helping to create a real buzz about the new program across the organization.
Breakthru Beverage’s managers were excited about Guusto from the get-go.
By May 2022, manager budget usage was tracking at 39%, and improved again to reach 50% in June.
Participation in Guusto’s peer-to-peer Shoutouts program didn’t explode overnight, however. As is often the case when rolling out a recognition program to a very large number of employees, getting people to try out the program and see its benefits isn’t always easy, and Shoutouts participation was tracking at just 8% in May, far short of Breakthru’s target to achieve 50% participation within the first 6 months.
Fortunately, Kermit and his team were able to put their heads together with Guusto to strategize some tactics to build excitement. One thing that had a huge impact was holding a ‘peer-to-peer recognition day’ to encourage people to try out the program.
Crucially, they also tied their Shoutouts program to their monetary program. Using Guusto’s Leaderboard feature, Breakthru now rewards the top 3 Shoutouts recipients and top 3 Shouts senders with Guusto gifts every quarter. This has been crucial in driving participation, creating healthy competition among employees and gamifying the program.
One important reason why Guusto has been so successful for Breakthru is that the rewards offered are valued by employees, who love the choice they have to redeem gift cards for something they really want:
Perhaps the best illustration of the impact Guusto has had on Breakthru Beverages culture is a story Kermit share about a recent Shoutout he received from an employee:
We're sitting at the table just talking, you know, talking life, talking work, and so on. And then about a week after I see a Shoutout on Guusto. She actually sent a note to say that it was great having conversation. I made her feel comfortable and welcome. She was new. We talked about. the company, we discussed careers and progression and so on. It was really helpful for her.
Irrespective of whatever is going on, when you hear that, it means that you have made a difference with someone and Guusto was there for them to express themselves.
We are in the business of creating engagement and helping people to have a good time, and so we have to do that with our people.”
Kermit feels that this story illustrates how Guusto gives his team an outlet to express appreciation where they otherwise wouldn’t.
Interviewed by Joe Facciolo, Co-Founder of Guusto