For the third year in a row, Kazoo has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Austin.

This year, we definitely shouted a few “Yeehaws” as the award was announced. Not because we’re based in Texas — the award ceremony had a wild west theme.

Having just come off a strategic investment from Vista Equity Partners, the Kazoo team is in the midst of tremendous growth — landing on the Best Places To Work list is a healthy sign we’re keeping our culture intact along the way.

But the most validating sign came from the audience around us. A growing number of Kazoo customers were being awarded as well, and some were back as repeat winners. Congrats to our customers Arrive Logistics, RetailMeNot, Red Velvet Events, Kasasa, RBFCU, and Spredfast on their Best Places to Work recognition.

Part of our mission is to grow company culture and improve bottom-line performance for organizations. Remaining one of Austin’s Best Places to Work while watching our customers do the same is an incredible honor.

We’ll see you next year.

About Kazoo:

Kazoo amplifies company culture through its award-winning Continue reading “Kazoo Is One of the Best Places to Work (Again!)”

Another SHRM conference has come and gone. This year’s event held in Chicago brought together 22,000 HR professionals for several days of networking, keynote presentations, breakout sessions and fun.

As a technology provider to the HR industry, we attend many different conferences throughout the year, both large and small.

Why? We get to do three things that are critical to Kazoo’s success:


1. Keep up to to date on the state of the industry.

HR processes are evolving everyday, and conferences are a great way to hear what’s next in performance management, feedback, employee development, recognition and rewards and more. Taking part in discussions, whether in general sessions, client and prospect meetings or even informal conversations at our booth, help us see the big picture and move the industry forward through our technology.

2. Connect with HR industry professionals.

While we’re a user of our own technology, it takes a deep understanding of how many different types of companies and cultures operate to develop the right solution. Attending conferences like SHRM is an important way to do a gut check, so to speak, on our priorities from both a technical, product standpoint as well as in terms of what services we offer to clients. Candid conversations with customers, prospects, analysts and others are priceless to our team as we continually improve our offerings.

3. Give back.


We’re glad that giving back is currently cool, but for our team it’s always been a driving force behind our culture. We came up with an idea in 2016 to feature adoptable rescue dogs at our conference booth as a means to both give back and stand out in a sea of much larger, well known technology providers. Since then, we have helped over three dozen dogs find new homes through our shelter promotions. This year’s SHRM event was no exception, and we featured five sweet puppies at our booth. We’re happy to report that five of the dogs are in the process of adoption!

We’re happy to share some fun photos from the event, and we are already looking forward to more fun in Vegas for the HR Tech conference this fall. By the way, if you register now, you can get a $300 discount on behalf of Kazoo. Check out this page for more information. We hope to see you there.

Companies don’t usually start out of the gate with a toxic company culture. Over time, with market changes, company changes, and leadership changes – company culture may turn toxic without you noticing. Suddenly, departments are hoarding information, coworkers don’t want to help each other out, and people don’t want to come into work in the morning.

Leaving a toxic company culture to fester isn’t going to do you any favors. And make no mistake: having a toxic company culture costs you money. It creates turnover costs, difficulty in recruiting, employees who are unmotivated and less productive, and negatively impacts your customer experience.

Improving a Toxic Company Culture

Whether you have a toxic company culture, or just want to improve your basically good one – here are 4 tips for improving company culture:

    1. Set a standard of respect through clearly communicated and demonstrated core values.Our research for the Employee Experience Optimized showed that 91% of employees whose leadership regularly lived up to the company’s core values had an excellent employee experience vs. only 41% of those that didn’t.How can leadership live out those values? A few ways include making sure all new hires exhibit those values, publicly recognize employees who act according to them, possibly saying good-bye to staff members that aren’t in line with them, and regularly communicating those values to your employees.Introducing a set of core values that show employees what it means to treat each other with respect – and then publicly acting on those values – is a big step towards turning around a toxic culture.
    2. Encourage peer-to-peer recognitionPeer-to-peer employee recognition can transform an office. When coworkers are expected to recognize each others’ great work — and get rewarded for doing that recognition — teams bond together.One study shows that enabling teammates to recognize and reward each other clearly boosts team productivity more than just rewarding employees directly with an individual cash bonus for great work.
    3. Practice continuous feedbackThe old model of employee feedback — the annual review — can create a toxic culture in and of itself.In today’s world, employees want to have an impact on their company and a voice in how they are treated. The annual review was often a one-way conversation about performance, setting annual goals that may not matter in a month given the pace of change that companies face today.To avoid creating toxic culture, ask your managers to start being employee coaches and have regular one-on-one meetings with their employees to review goals and performance. You also may want to take pulse surveys to get regular feedback on employee thoughts – and then act on what you hear.

Get Started with Kazoo

  1. Offer Transparent CommunicationWhen employees work in a company led by open, honest leadership – it’s hard to have toxic culture. Of course, no company or executive can share every detail every program, but the more that you have the difficult conversations or share a vision about company direction, the more employees can see their own role in company growth.

For more ideas on creating a great employee experience that leaves no room for toxic culture, get The Employee Experience Optimized.

About Kazoo:

Kazoo amplifies company culture through its award-winning Continue reading “4 Ways to Combat Toxic Company Culture”

Employee of the Month. Best Safety Record. Salesperson of the Year. When it comes to company awards, nearly every organization makes efforts to nominate, recognize, and reward individuals on an ongoing basis.

In fact, a recent report from WorldatWork found more than 75% of companies have created programs to recognize these sorts of “above and beyond performance.”

Awards are an important part of the employee experience at companies of all sizes, and that’s why today we’re introducing Awards & Nominations on Kazoo.

Awards & Nominations on Kazoo
Introducing Awards & Nominations on Kazoo

Get Started with Kazoo

Create company awards in less time with more impact

In our interviews and research leading up to this feature, we discovered companies face three major problems with award programs:

  • For admins, creating awards and gathering nominations takes too much time.
  • Boosting awareness of awards is difficult, meaning participation is low.
  • Without participation and awareness, awards are less meaningful.

Given these issues, it’s no wonder the way companies handle awards is changing — and HR technology is playing a major role.

WorldatWork notes that the use of tools like intranets and digital notifications for presenting awards has skyrocketed in recent years, while relying on costly one-time events or staff meetings has declined.

The time has never been better to help our customers with their awards programs. The Kazoo platform has already been proven to reduce admin time while increasing employee participation in corporate programs by up to 50% — streamlining awards programs into our platform extends these benefits even further.

By bringing additional features into the Kazoo engagement suite, we are not only reducing the cost and time our customers spend on programs, but also amplifying our vision of driving deeper employee engagement for businesses today.

— Autumn Manning, Co-Founder & CEO, Kazoo

How it works

From “Best Hair in the Office” to “Employee of the Year,” Awards & Nominations enables your organization to easily create, schedule, and run custom awards that reflect your core values, business goals, or company culture in a matter of minutes.

Create awards:Create custom company awards in Kazoo with Awards & Nominations

  • Build a nomination form with a few clicks.
  • Schedule multiple awards at once if needed.
  • Choose who can nominate or be nominated.


Collect and review nominations:

  • Kazoo sets up email reminders and in-app notifications.
  • Employees fill out quick, effective nomination forms.
  • Keep nominations visible to admins only.
  • See real-time results, and download them to analyze or share.


Manage your awards:Manage Awards & Nominations in Kazoo

  • Record winners and keep track of past awards.
  • See the status and details of awards at a glance.
  • Easily edit live or scheduled awards anytime.

What it means for you

What the Kazoo Awards & Nominations feature suite means for you

Awards that take less time to administer.

Nominations that get more participation with your people.

The Kazoo Awards & Nominations feature suite is just one more way we’re making the employee experience more meaningful for our customers.

For more information on Awards & Nominations, view this downloadable PDF. To see Awards & Nominations on the Kazoo platform, request a demo anytime.

Get Started with Kazoo

employee rewardsMost companies have employee rewards programs. They may be formal – like an annual or quarterly bonus tied to meeting performance objectives. Or they may be informal – like a stack of gift cards in a manager’s drawer.

The problem is that these traditional, monetary-based employee rewards don’t actually motivate employees. The London School of Economics reviewed 51 different studies and found that financial incentives not only fail to encourage employees to perform – they can even demotivate employees.

On top of that, poorly planned employee rewards can ruin your company culture. “Over-reliance on pay and promotion as motivators leads to an organizational culture that is very transactional and disengaged,” says Susan David, co-director of the Harvard/McLean Institute of Coaching.

Does that mean employee rewards aren’t worth doing? Not at all.

Get Started with Kazoo

5 Tips for Meaningful Employee Rewards

  1. Recognition is a reward itselfEmployees like to get recognized for their work. A thank you for a specific action often makes employees motivated to do more of that specific action. Making it public amplifies its effect. Making regular recognition part of your employee rewards program is critical for its success.
  2. Tie rewards to recognitionRewards can amplify the impact of recognition. Tying rewards to spontaneous recognition means that it’s always unexpected. And that unexpected reward has far more impact than one that an employee has come to believe that they “deserve.”
  3. Let employees choose their own rewardSimply put, employee rewards that aren’t meaningful aren’t motivating. For example, you might inadvertently give a coupon to a fancy fish restaurant to someone allergic to seafood. Or movie tickets to a new parent who struggles to find a babysitter.

    Instead, offer a catalog of reward ideas as part of your employee rewards program. This way, employees can choose rewards that are meaningful and matter to them.

  4. Offer non-cash experiences in the mixInstead of relying on the annual bonus or a gift card, offer employees the opportunity to have an experience as a reward. Perhaps a happy hour for their team, or the chance to get extra time off. These experiences often resonate more with employees than a gift card or more stuff.
  5. Let employees reward each otherStudies have shown that when employees can reward each other – the whole team’s performance goes up. Plus, it takes the burden of an employee reward program off management and puts it in the hands of employees.

For more ideas on setting up motivating employee rewards, get our guide on Rewards and Recognition Systems that Work.

About Kazoo:

Kazoo amplifies company culture through its award-winning employee experience platform that delivers engagement, retention, performance management, and improved business metrics. As a dominant force in the HCM market with an industry-leading retention rate, Kazoo partners with more than 400 global organizations to build high-performance cultures and engaged workforces. Founded in 2013, Kazoo continues to revolutionize the employee experience with its platform based on the science of motivation, rewards, and recognition. To request a demo, visit

The future of employee recognition programs was on display at this year’s WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference held in Dallas.

Having attended this year’s conference and helped hundreds of organizations build rewards and recognition programs that work, the Kazoo team has enjoyed plenty of opportunities to speak with technology providers and HR professionals alike about how employee recognition programs are evolving.

And it seems we aren’t alone: In the wake of the conference, The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) published two articles that echo our thoughts on where employee recognition programs and total rewards are heading.

employee recognition programs

Employee Recognition Programs Will Help Performance Management

Motivated and engaged employees perform better — so why are organizations overlooking the role of employee recognition programs and total rewards in performance management?

One SHRM article that came out of the Total Rewards Conference, How Total Rewards Can Drive Performance Management Success,” talks about this.

Employee recognition programs, financial wellness, employee fitness, work/life balance, compensation, and career development — all of these aspects of total rewards must be customized and prioritized in order to see success in performance management and retention.

Get Started with Kazoo

The Digital Future

Get Ready for the Digital Future of Total Rewards,” SHRM said, coming out of this year’s Total Rewards Conference.

Between employee recognition programs, total rewards efforts, and other investments companies already make in the employee experience, there is plenty of data on hand.

The “digital future” is one in which technology helps your organization take all the data from these efforts and get real, actionable insights into turnover, engagement, productivity, and other bottom-line priorities, according to SHRM.

Speakers at the Total Rewards Conference pointed out how organizations such as Google are using these kinds of insights to optimize benefits like maternity leave, pay structures, and more.

As for our take, given where the future of employee recognition programs and total rewards is headed, it appears there’s never been a better time to think holistically and opt for one powerful platform that ties your employee experience efforts together.

And that’s a future we can’t wait to see unfold further at next year’s Total Rewards Conference.

About Kazoo:

Kazoo amplifies company culture through its award-winning employee experience platform that delivers engagement, retention, performance management, and improved business metrics. As a dominant force in the HCM market with an industry-leading retention rate, Kazoo partners with more than 400 global organizations to build high-performance cultures and engaged workforces. Founded in 2013, Kazoo continues to revolutionize the employee experience with its platform based on the science of motivation, rewards, and recognition. To request a demo, visit

People often draw parallels between sports and business. At the conclusion of every championship game, there’s a fleet of managers ready to turn it into a lesson about success for their staff to learn from. And, for every championship banner hanging in stadiums and ballparks across the world, there are thousands of offices adorned with a motivational Wayne Gretzky poster (“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”).

The parallels between sports and businesses indeed exist, but creating a winning culture that rivals the best sports teams in the world requires much more than sports-themed posters and speeches. You have to embody the lessons taught by the most celebrated teams and athletes, not just recite them for a quick morale boost.

Here are five pearls of wisdom from the sports world and how to translate them into a culture that wins like a sports team.

1. Know The Score

Creating a Winning Culture

One of the most significant disconnects between sports and business is the scoreboard. Your staff may function as a team and have some idea of what success means, but without the ability to keep track of the score, it’s difficult to know what actions are leading to that success. In other words, you can’t have a winning culture until your team knows how to score and win.

Thus, to establish a winning business culture, you have to explicitly define what winning means and how the team can score. Your company’s immediate goals and objectives should be clear to everyone, whether those employee-driven goals are purely profit-based or centered around customer satisfaction, client acquisition or something else.

Once the team understands how to score, then you need the ability to track that score; they need a scoreboard. If your goals are revenue-based, expressing the score is easy because your objectives are quantitative. It’s a little harder if you’re focused on, for example, having the best customer satisfaction, as goals like these are qualitative. Thus, you need to devise a metric that allows you to measure and track progress. This makes it much easier to see how the team (and even each member) did each week and how those efforts are leading towards a big win.


2. Play Like A Team

Creating a Winning Culture

Sports teams function as a cohesive unit, with each player carrying an equal share in the responsibility, decision-making, and triumph. Sure, you have all-star players that may outperform other members of the team, but even superstars know that their ability to score and put up high numbers is only as good as the team members they have around them. Similarly, coaches and managers know that they are just as good as the players they have on their roster.

In business, it can be a lot harder to develop this team-focused environment because there’s a built-in hierarchy. In a lot of companies, it’s the boss that makes the big decisions, experiences more of the triumphs and shoulders more responsibility; the “team” is just there to follow instructions. This is another all-too-common disconnect between the corporate world and the sports world.

If you want to have a company culture that functions like a winning sports team, you have to give the ball to your staff and empower them to have an equal share in the decision-making and success. This will drive them to be more engaged and enthusiastic about their work and will heighten your company’s ability to win as a collective unit.


3. Take The Occasional Risk

Creating a Winning Culture

Some of the most significant moments in sports are born out of prominent risks. These plays are the ones that not every team would have made. It is the risky moves that can sometimes pay off the biggest. These are the moves that take the opposition by surprise and open up big opportunities to score and win. However, there’s also the chance that the tactic backfires and the door to score is left open for the opposing side to take advantage of. In business, the same is true; there are risky decisions that can allow a company to gain a huge leg up on its competition.

Businesses today are faced with more tools, technology, and channels than they’ve ever had before. For every next-big-thing that revolutionizes the way we do business today, there were a hundred or so false prophets that promised to be that same must-have technology or toolkit but came up way short. Companies have to tread carefully and make calculated decisions on which small business marketing trends are worth an investment and which are not. While these cautious moves are safer, they don’t create the big-win opportunities as a risk does.

Sometimes, you have to act a little cavalier and take a risk on a new technology or an unproven trend. When you consider the right risks, it gives you early insight into how this trend or technology works. While other companies are still waiting for the direction to mature and industry experts to slap the stamp of approval on it, your company has the distinct chance to be already benefiting and, in the words of Jerry Rice, “… accomplish[ing] what others can’t.”


4. Always Work Hard

Creating a Winning Culture

The most exceptional athletes know that there is no off-season, even if you win and especially not if you lose. Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers’ guard, had only just experienced his team losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a decisive game 7 in the first round of the NBA championship, but that didn’t stop him from immediately sending a message to his trainer asking when they can start working towards next year. It’s that level of dedication to the grind that can create a winning culture.

It can be demoralizing when business is slow, and sales are down, but these are the precise times when working hard is most important. Instead of getting bogged down in the melancholy of slow business, a winning business culture can capitalize on the downtime and devise new ways to rocket back into contention. As a business owner, achieving this can be difficult. You have to galvanize the troops and get them back on the path towards success. If ever there was a time for that Wayne Gretzky poster, it would be now.

Even seasonal businesses can use their off-season to their advantage, rather than treat it as a detriment or a time to checkout. It’s a great time to catch up on other tasks that fell by the wayside during your peak business months. Alternatively, you can use the time to be more productive and prepare for your upcoming on-season by getting a jumpstart on creating marketing materials, organizing events, etc.

In short, never take any downtime for granted. A winning business culture knows that the grind is never over.


5. Keep An Eye On The Road Ahead

Creating a Winning Culture

Here’s a Wayne Gretzky quote that you and your office team can get behind. Again, businesses are affected by more technology and trends than they ever have been before. If you aren’t carefully watching out for these trends and routinely checking out the technology that’s under development for next year, then you’ll always be playing a game of catch up. The best businesses are the ones that know what’s coming and already have the wheels in motion to meet industry changes as they happen.

Great hockey players also know that they need to keep their head on a swivel. Otherwise an opposing skater could stop them in their tracks, literally. The same is true for businesses. If you aren’t actively keeping an eye on your competitors, it creates an opportunity for them to suddenly skate right into you and gain a competitive edge in the market. Thus, you not only want to measure your successes, but also the wins of the competition. After all, you can’t just measure your wins to know where you are in the standings!



The business world may not have a playoff race or a championship game, but there are plenty of lessons that the best sports teams can teach business owners. If you want to create a company culture that wins like your favorite sports team, then you have to begin treating your staff like a team, which means teaching employees how to keep score and measure company wins and empowering them to share in the decision-making processes and the successes. From there, it’s a simple matter of working hard, taking risks and adapting to industry changes.


Guest Blogger

Andrew Gazdecki | CEO, Bizness Apps

Andrew GazdeckiAndrew Gazdecki is the founder and CEO of Bizness Apps, a company that helps small businesses build mobile solutions to compete with big brands. Their mobile app building platform makes it possible for everyone to create a mobile app for their business. Many of our customers resell apps to cost effectively deliver them to small business clients. When he isn’t helping small businesses, he is out surfing in the Pacific Ocean.



employee recognition softwareFor many executives, it is tempting to view employee recognition software as a cost without seeing the full benefit of the investment. Appreciation and employee engagement are mistakenly seen as soft benefits – making it all too easy to avoid investing in an employee experience enhancement program that, at first glance, looks more like a bonus than mission-critical functionality.

Yet this is very short-sighted. Our experience with more than 400 companies and millions of users worldwide points to the true value of such a program. Last summer, a third-party research firm delivered an ROI Report after surveying Kazoo customers. It showed that the average payback for implementing Kazoo’s Employee Experience platform was a short 5 months.

Employee Recognition Software serves as an amplifier for the success of all your other programs. So whether you are trying to help employees meet a sales goal, reduce turnover, increase participation in a wellness program, or just make employees feel more appreciated — Kazoo’s software has demonstrated that it can provide value.

Here are five immediate ways that Kazoo customers gain business results from investing in employee recognition software.

Employee Recognition Software Improves Productivity

Promethean World is an education technology company with offices that span the globe. They had an internal recognition program that wasn’t resonating with employees, yet still took an exorbitant amount of administration time to process all of the manual recognition. Plus, they had to calculate tax implications and manage any needed currency conversions manually for each piece of recognition.

By moving their recognition programs onto the Kazoo Employee Experience platform, they automated their processes. Not only were they able to grow participation in the platform, they also reduced administration time by one week per month. At an average HR specialist salary – that’s a savings of approximately $10,000 per year.

Our ROI study showed that the Kazoo platform saves administrators and people managers an average of 5 hours per month – which adds up to substantial salary savings.

Employee Recognition Software Cuts Turnover Cost.

Many Kazoo customers see turnover decrease once they implement the Kazoo platform. Why? Often it’s because of culture. Employees who feel recognized are more likely to stay in their jobs. There is quite a bit of research data to support this finding, and we also have real-world examples.

One transportation company used Kazoo to give retention bonuses and incentivize cost-saving behavior and saved more than $700,000 in the first year. Arrowhead Credit Union saw their quit rate – which measures the number of employees who leave to take a similar position elsewhere – cut in half after introducing Kazoo.

Get Started with Kazoo

Employee Recognition Software Speeds Compliance Training Participation

Compliance training is a necessary investment for many companies – and it often takes an even larger investment to get employees to complete it.

Employee recognition software that includes incentive features can dramatically boost participation in training programs. Our ROI Study showed that Kazoo customers have seen an average of a 50% improvement in corporate program participation.

Trintech, a financial services software company, saw 60 – 70% of their employees complete compliance training in the first month after creating an incentive on the Kazoo platform — compared to 20% previously. This is three months faster than the industry standard.

Employee Recognition Software Boosts Wellness Program Participation

Often, health insurance providers offer discounts to organizations that have high participation in employee wellness programs. Creating programs may be easy – but getting employees to participate is often difficult.

BazaarVoice used the Kazoo platform to boost participation in their wellness program. With a small incentive, the number of employees who took a health risk assessment shot up 9X. In addition, they’re able to track gym membership usage and other exercise by creating a small incentive that employees can redeem when they work out.

Employee Recognition Software Lowers Recruitment Costs

Harvard Business Review claims that having a reputation for a bad company culture costs at least 10% more for each hire.

Employee Recognition Software combats this trend. Kazoo customers are recognized for their cultures through industry awards like Best Places to Work, Best Culture, or Employee Choice. We’ve also seen customers boost Glassdoor scores and reduce recruitment costs.

One example is Emmaus Homes, an in-home care provider. Their Glassdoor ratings jumped from 70% to 91% after introducing Kazoo. They also began getting more resumes by running an “I heart my job” social media campaign that they fueled with employee stories gathered through the Kazoo Behavior Bonus incentive.

Using an employee recognition software platform has enormous financial benefit. Request a demo to see how Kazoo’s Employee Experience Platform can help meet your critical business needs.

About Kazoo:

Kazoo amplifies company culture through its award-winning employee experience platform that delivers engagement, retention, performance management, and improved business metrics. As a dominant force in the HCM market with an industry-leading retention rate, Kazoo partners with more than 400 global organizations to build high-performance cultures and engaged workforces. Founded in 2013, Kazoo continues to revolutionize the employee experience with its platform based on the science of motivation, rewards, and recognition. To request a demo, visit