Atlassian values their customers, the community and their staff. We feel it is our unique culture that enables us to attract great people who help us to continue to make useful products people lust after.
One area that we are trying to improve is employee recognition and we are using JIRA to help.
JIRA, the issue tracker, gives employees the ability to nominate a workmate for a kudos, or a thank-you, for something they have done really well, by creating an Employee Recognition – SAYING THANKS issue.
An employee fills out this simple form on JIRA in order to nominate another employee.
Kudos example.png
Each Atlassian employee has up to 2 people they can nominate a kudos to, annually, and no manager approval is necessary. From these nominations employees may receive a bottle of wine, 2 movie tickets, an iTunes card or another, more personalized gift, valued up to $30. In addition, each manager has a budget to spend on big kudos nominations that include gifts like:

  • Stock car ride
  • Tandem skydiving
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Swedish massage

A big kudos is a nomination from a fellow Atlassian who feels a person has exemplified Atlassian’s Values and done a kick-ass job. A big kudos does require a manager’s approval. The managers try to give gifts that they know the employee will really appreciate. For example, one employee’s wife just had a baby and a deep massage for two was given and the employee loved it.
JIRA’s workflow and assignee section is so easy that we can give a kudos gift out the same day a person is nominated. It also allows other employees to leave comments for a kudos nomination. We had one employee receive five additional comments from other workmates giving their support for the kudos… how awesome is that!
When we first looked at an employee recognition program it was complicated and had many layers of approvals and it could be weeks before a person would ever receive their appreciation gift for a job well done. But this is not how Atlassian likes to work and while we were looking at streamlining the plan an employee suggested a kudos bot. After working with the employee who suggested the kudos bot, we came up with the Employee Recognition – SAYING THANKS program.
Since starting the Saying Thanks program in October 2009, we average 10 kudos a month and during each quarterly staff meeting, our founders make it a point to highlight those receiving kudos.
This is what we have come away with using JIRA for our employee recognition program:

  • Simplified program to better suit our people and company culture
  • Customized workflow in JIRA to support the simplicity of the program
  • The quicker the turn-a-round from nomination to gift giving the greater the impact
  • People have been really happy for getting the formal recognition from their peers

JIRA and kudos, a great combination!

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