Giving Kudos and celebrating success

At Automattic, as a tool for recognition, we have Kudos.

What are Kudos?

From our internal Automattic Field Guide:

Use Kudos to give a virtual high-five to any Automattician you choose. Someone help you out in a big way? Send them Kudos!

Giving Kudos

There are two ways to send kudos: by using a Slack command to ping the Automattician you would like to reward; or visiting the profile page of that Automattician on Matticspace.

Through Slack, simply type in the slash command in the following format:

/kudos @automattician The kudos message.

The kudos will automatically be logged in Matticspace, the recipient will get a notification on Slack and the kudos will get posted on the Kudos P2.

Matticspace is our internal people directory thingy. Think of it as our version of the Home product that Stripe built.

Yes, we have a p2 solely for Kudos, obviously. Which is wonderful to read through at times.

We also have MC, or Mission Control, which is a home for a bunch of tools and stats. Stats like the amount of Kudos sent and received by everyone. I only found this page today so searched for my username and had a look:

138 Sent & 113 Received

Not bad! I’m happy to have sent more than I’ve received.
Also, Kudos are sacred, you don’t get unlimited:

Keep in mind that you can only send 3 Kudos per month, so make sure to use them wisely!

But there is a way to increase that slightly…

But why “do” Kudos?

Sure you can ping a teammate privately on Slack, or publically in a shared channel with a “great job!”. Or share a great message from a customer, like we do in our Happiness Slack channel. Similar to our public Hugs. But a direct permanent message shared in a distinct fashion means more. I’m not one for public praise, I do my job and I don’t do it for reward, but when a teammate posts a kudos, that is something special. They have gone out of their way to use up one of their kudos quota on something I have done which impacted them. It’s public to the company, but people aren’t notified when one is posted (Yes, we do have a bot channel in Slack where they are all posted to) so it is still very much something you have to deliberately look for.

When I’m feeling Imposter Syndrome or generally having a crap day, I do gravitate to my tag on the Kudos p2 or look on my Matticspace profile at my received Kudos.

People are quick to post about negative stuff, but often, people don’t celebrate successes. We are more likely to contact a company when something goes wrong than right.

This post was finally written after I posted a Kudos this morning to a colleague. I checked up on a ticket I’d been involved with which was so complicated; the kind you look at and literally scratch your head.
This guy took it on and literally OWNED that issue. Clearly detailing out the scenario to our customer, explaining what he believed to have happened, screenshots, how-this-should-work primers, and next steps:

The number is a reference to the interaction. Names and faces removed to protect the humble.

I know from his reply that my kudos really meant something to him. I’m even happier to have done that now.

I just remembered about another one where I know giving a kudos helped start a colleague’s day right:


Try it out/what do you do?

Do you have something similar? Do you celebrate your teammates when they do something you admire? Try it out. Tell your colleague they really did a great job on that interactions, that they helped you learn something new, that the tool they built really helps you out. I truly believe that every company should have something similar, it is such a morale booster. Our way might not work for you, that’s okay, but have a think about the core idea at least.

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