From MVP to 1.1: how we evolved our /thnx Slack app to realign recognition, company values and giving back

From MVP to 1.1: how we evolved our /thnx Slack app to realign recognition, company values and giving back

Key Points

  • Good Thnx Slack beta ending soon
  • New features: company values alignment, impact reporting, friendly data exports to sync with performance reviews
  • Say goodbye to tokenistic kudos and costly gift vouchers that are rarely redeemed
  • Coming to the Slack marketplace soon, get early access here.


In the back half of last year we started work on a Slack app for closed (organisation privacy) and open (shared) workspaces.

We’d been servicing our web platform for four years and based on customer feedback during remote Covid lockdown calls, set out to introduce the first part of our channel strategy to further enhance team culture and celebrate in real time with Good Thnx x Slack.

Early during Startmate MEL20, Sophie Taylor (Chief of Staff @ Blackbird) put her hand up to be part of our ‘squad’ and on a spitballing call re positioning, came out with this gem: don’t wait until the next offsite to give kudos, you can recognise it and call them out for it in the moment, in your workflow. It really aligned with what people professionals were sharing with us from their culture surveys – that employees not only wanted to be better recognised for their work, they wanted the recognition to be timely.

We treated the 12 week Startmate cohort as a development cycle and after testing and giving teams very much MVP versions of the product, we deployed with A Cloud GuruBindiMaps, Blackbird, Easy AgileKasadaLocal PeoplesPaperCut and Work180 on a closed basis.

The app provides a more mindful alternative to traditional reward and recognition – such as tokenistic emoji-only kudos, or costly gift vouchers that are seldom redeemed – by passing 100% of each company value-aligned thnx to the recipient’s charity of choice from a corporate allowlist. In addition to augmenting corporate social responsibility, the data being generated is proving to be very useful for HR and broader leadership teams by showing individual and team response to company values, as well as deeper insights into engagement, performance and the actions and causes their people truly care about.

Some of our favourite moments have been seeing employee charity requests approved by their workplaces for causes personally close to their heart – then aligning not only the outcome of their recognition, but seeing teammates also rally to select that cause to deliver real impact. We’re also loving how software company Easy Agile, who make Agile apps for Atlassian’s Jira, is using Good Thnx to involve their team in the company’s Pledge 1% profit pledge, by effectively letting employees choose where the company donates, via peer recognition.

Charity partners during beta included: Australian Breast Cancer ResearchBeyond BlueBlack Dog InstituteGlobal SistersHabitat for HumanityIndigitekOzHarvestRape & Domestic Violence ServicesRoom to ReadSmiling MindStarlight Children’s FoundationThe Smith FamilyThe Global Women’s Project and WWF-Australia.

Company Values Alignment

Feedback from companies that had built bots for internal use, or had adopted other recognition apps previously, was that without value alignment, thank you channels started well, but became tokenistic over time. Poor quality shoutouts and the loudest / most extroverted people were getting the majority of mentions – regardless of the actual impact and contribution of others in the team.

It’s a problem not too dissimilar with count-based workplace awards, where by design, staff in facilitation roles who have lots of touch points across a business are regularly nominated, while others who undertake focussed work on a specific project can be overlooked.

The solution was to add company value prompts and align each piece of recognition to one or more values. Initially we organized by adding a short in-line +value, then improved by implementing a dedicated UI block.

 Original value commandOrginal +value command

 New values UI blockImproved values UI block

 End resultEnd result: thnx sent Blog spacer

 Easy Agile case study

Easy Agile is using Good Thnx to simultaneously engage their workforce and reinforce company values, which include Give back. Nicholas Muldoon, Co-CEO of Easy Agile, said: Using donation as a reward type, selected by an employee, is a powerful motivator.

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People Data

The data being generated is proving very useful for HR and leadership teams more broadly, showing individual and team response to company values, but also deeper insights into engagement and performance personally and by team / region.

One telling insight has been which company values are underrepresented in thnx counts, showing where further communication is required to reinforce the importance of the underrepresented value(s).

We also share several mutual customers with market-leading employee experience platform Culture Amp, and have worked to make our data exports friendly so that they can be easily synced for performance reviews and benchmarking against other companies more broadly.

 Kasada values

Kasada value count by thnx

 Easy Agile thnx count

Easy Agile thnx count graph. Month-on-month up and to the right!

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Impact Reporting

Unsurprisingly, people want to see the impact of their donations. Working with 210 charities and having distributed over $1M to date, we’ve been able to work with our partners to articulate specific and incremental impact measures to communicate effectiveness back to users, which is providing a powerful feedback loop.

Over the past three months Kasada, a leading cyber security company with 50 staff across Australia and the United States, has been recognising value aligned work via our Slack app. 450 thnx have been sent, with the top charities selected so far:

  • WWF-Australia: purchased tree saplings to create wildlife corridors that will allow koalas to move around safely
  • Black Dog Institute: provided two community webinars on the signs and symptoms of mental illness
  • Room To Read: enabled a year and a half of teaching a child to read and write!

As a leadership team, we wanted to make sure we put Kasada on the right track early on when it came to us being a great member of our broader communities, and helping those in need. After looking at a few platforms to help us achieve this goal, Good Thnx was the obvious choice for us. Not only was the team great, but the product was unbelievably simple, and let us enable everyone on our team to have a real impact on the charities we are supporting.

Sam Crowther, Founder & CEO WWF Impact measure

Granular impact measure in Slack

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Final Note

By appreciating people you improve culture, engagement and ultimately, retention – but do your business a favour and say goodbye to tokenistic kudos and costly gift vouchers that are rarely redeemed. There are better outcomes – namely increased participation and reduced waste – if the recipient chooses a reward aligned to team values.

Finally a big thnx to Nicholas Muldoon, Matt and Aprill Allen (soon to be of Tractor Ventures fame), Startmate and the AusIndustry Entrepreneurs Program for the seed funding to develop the Slack app.

Coming to the Slack marketplace soon, get early access here.