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When’s the last time you turned down a sprinkled donut? Maybe it’s just me, but I think donuts are meant to be shared. They bring out the inner child in us and remind us of the importance of being playful and not taking ourselves too seriously. There’s something about donuts that offers a sense of community. In other words, donuts make people happy and bring people together.

You might be wondering what these sugary treats have to do with loving your job. Here at Reward Gateway, we’re fortunate to have a Culture Team that is constantly innovating and implementing new initiatives to bring people together. The Culture Team discovered a new Slack integration called Donut, which helped fuel our own employee communications initiative. And Donut Time was born.

Every other week, two people at Reward Gateway are randomly paired together through Donut Time. During this scheduled, informal, 30-minute chat, people get to know one another. The Donut bot sends friendly reminders to make sure people have set their meeting and had a chance to talk. You can even set your company’s cadence and allow people to opt in and out of the Slack channel.

We’ve used Donut time to improve company culture, bring together a global workforce and foster network building and knowledge sharing. Let’s dive deeper into what these actually mean.


How we made an impact with our HR initiative

We all want a more engaged workforce, right? From the moment an employee joins your organisation, it’s key to communicate your purpose, mission and values the whole way through. So, when new starters join Donut Time, they’re more likely to get ramped up to speed quicker, collaborate with others and understand how their role impacts the business.

Starting a new HR initiative is a challenge in and of itself, but building engagement with HR initiatives is another. I briefly mentioned our stellar Culture Team before, but let’s explore how they excelled at launching this new HR initiative and sparking interest. The way a new HR initiative is presented makes all the difference in its adoption rate.

Not only did the Culture Team supply each global office with freshly baked donuts the day of launch, but they created donut stickers and donut eCards (tying into employee recognition). Employees were able to grab a delicious donut, learn more about Donut Time, grab some swag and opt into the program that day. Then, we were told we would get our first match the next week, which help add to the anticipation and excitement.

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Most employees at RG have chosen to opt in – from our CEO to our Implementation Team to our Marketing Team. I’ve had the opportunity to effortlessly chat with a different individual either in-person or via video across the globe and learn more about their personal and professional lives.


How we diversify employees’ network and knowledge

Whether you have a global workforce or your employees work remotely, it’s important to diversify your network and connect with different teams or departments that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to talk to. Along with employee communications and knowledge sharing, it’s key to keep your values at the center of everything you do to improve employees' collaboration.

Donut Time supports our values Think Global and Be Human. I’m able to take a step back from my day-to-day and understand what things are like for other people in the business around the globe and how my day-to-day affects other offices and departments in the business. Donut Time helps us gain the perspective needed to understand what our colleagues are up to and their challenges, and has helped form some pretty great connections.

When we pair technology with a human approach, we’re able to be more human at work each day. Donut Time is a great example of that because it’s a channel that prioritises personal interaction where employees feel closely linked not only to others but to the organisation as a whole, through the use of technology.


You never know how much you have in common with someone until you take thirty minutes out of your day to grab a coffee, share a donut and spark up a conversation – whether it’s about a new work project or about traveling to Paris (you’ll never believe how many tips I got before I hopped on the plane!). Donut time has worked for us as a natural extension of our values and enables open and honest communication so that all employees feel appreciated and involved.

Communication comes full circle, just like a donut. 

How we improve the employee experience with donuts

So, how did donuts make me love my job even more? From the moment I started at Reward Gateway, I’ve felt included. Not only am I able to connect with those around me in the office, but also globally through Donut Time. I’ve had the pleasure of “baking relationships” with numerous friendly faces – from Product Manager to Internal Communications Manager to Group SVP of Marketing to Global Head of Engagement.

One conversation in particular that stuck out for me was when I was chatting with Debra Corey, RG’s Global Head of Engagement. Even though she’s located in London and I’m in Boston, we were able to find the time to get to know each other. As we were telling our stories of how we got to be where we are now, we discovered we both studied communications and psychology. Donut Time allowed us to introduce ourselves sooner rather than later, establish a connection and expand our networks.

In all of these conversations, I’ve walked away with a deeper understanding of a person, a project, a concept or a team, and am able to apply those takeaways to my own role.

Throughout numerous conversations with people in various roles and locations, one thing has remained constant. Not only could I hear the excitement in people’s voices when they were talking about RG, but I could tell they truly felt connected to the purpose, mission and values here because of how they talked about our company and their passion for initiatives like this, that improve employee engagement.

Donut Time has shown me the power of employee engagement. 

My last piece of advice to you: Donut stop believing! Let’s remember to not take ourselves so seriously and have some fun. Continuously try out new programs at your organisation because you never know what might stick and improve your employees’ experience. Whatever your next flavour, I’m sure it’ll be a sweet experience for your people. I hope to see your ideas on our comments or social media soon!

Meghan Barrett

Meghan Barrett is a Content Marketing Manager at Reward Gateway. Outside of writing about employee engagement, she spends her time capturing sunsets with her camera, making a mess in the kitchen and relaxing in local cafes while eating chocolate croissants.

Content Marketing Manager

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