people with DSW shopping bag

Case Study

Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW)

Increasing employee engagement

head shot of Gina Tsaparas

Guusto has definitely helped to enhance our overall employee engagement scores when we look at various company metrics.


Gina Tsaparas,
Director, Corporate HR & Total Rewards

Customer Type


The Company

Town Shoes is a leading Canadian footwear retailer that first opened in 1952 and has expanded to over 50 locations. It combines fashion with comfort, and strives to create a memorable experience for customers by ensuring that they find the perfect pair of shoes to match any occasion or outfit. Under the Town Shoes Limited umbrella, they also operate The Shoe Company, Shoe Warehouse, and DSW Canada. In total, the four companies have 182 locations across Canada.

The Challenge

Town Shoes strives to be a great place to work. They had a recognition program in place, but it was very administrative, costly, difficult to track, and bogged down with manual processes. With store locations in almost every province, the HR Team was spending a substantial amount of time communicating with Store Managers, then ordering, delivering and recording requested items to be used for employee recognition (e.g. physical gift cards). It was really difficult to run a consistent program across all stores, or build a connection between Head Office and Store Teams.

They were looking for an employee recognition program that was less cumbersome, using technology in a simple way to streamline manual processes. They also needed something cost-effective, since all programs they initially found were very expensive and time consuming to implement.

Finally, as a company committed to giving back to the community and running an eco-friendly programs, Town Shoes was keen to find a provider that shared similar core values.

The Solution

District Manager Program

The HR Team first rolled out a program to empower about 30 District Managers with budgets to send gifts to any individual Store Manager or Associate who went above and beyond (e.g. providing exceptional customer service).

District Managers then began to leverage the Pay-it-Forward feature, which prompts the initial recipient to pass the gift along to someone else. District Managers would send Pay-it-Forward gifts to Store Managers, empowering them to reward any high performing Store Associate.

District Managers then started using Guusto for team recognition. They found they could really strengthen the value of teamwork, by sending a bulk order of gifts to a whole team (e.g. when a Store hit certain KPI targets). Team recognition has played a significant role in encouraging employees to work together to achieve a common goal.

The Solution

Senior Leadership Program

The HR Team then rolled out a program to empower 20 Senior Leaders with budgets to send gifts to their team members or cross-functional colleagues helping them on projects. This has provided Senior Leaders with an effective tool to show their appreciation and boost team member performance.

Senior Leaders then started sending gifts to employees at Stores to show their appreciation for outstanding contributions. This really helped to bridge the gap between Head Office and Stores, and create unique connections across the entire company.

The Outcome

In less than one year with Guusto, Town Shoes has already improved overall engagement scores when looking at various company metrics. Based on company surveys, employees love the fact that Town Shoes is using Guusto, since it's super simple to use, there are continuous product enhancements, and employees are given the choice of where to redeem their Guusto gift cards!

Town Shoes is building a culture of recognition and redefining what it means to be a great place to work. Will you?

Check out our Step-by-Step Guide to Rollout Guusto and try sending some gifts, or Contact Us if you'd like to learn how Guusto can help inspire great employee performance at your company!

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