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International manufacturer connects and recognizes employees with new digital workspace

Learn how Design Group Americas engaged over 90% of its workforce in its recognition program and its digital workspace in under a year.

Design Group Americas (DGA) transforms paper and a whole lot more into products that help the world celebrate life’s
special occasions. DGA is an international family of companies with locations in the Americas, UK, Europe, Australia and Asia.

They are proud to serve the best retailers around the globe with a complete end-to-end service from design to distribution. With strong retailer relationships, DGA drives profitable growth through exceptional customer service, industry-leading innovation and great value. DGA’s strengths in product innovation and design, combined with low-cost manufacturing, sourcing and logistics enable them to sustain and develop excellent partnerships with major retailers throughout the world. DGA is comprised of people acting with purpose, passion and pace, and these values guide employees to perform and excel in the industry.

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Number of employees:



Number of locations:


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Platform features:

Employee reward and recognition, employee wellbeing

The challenge:

DG Bravo eCard recognition options

  • An acquisition doubled DGA’s workforce in 2020.
  • Due to the acquisition, there were multiple companies and cultures trying to co-exist, which caused friction and confusion among staff.
  • The pandemic forced a sudden wholesale shift to remote work for all office-based employees.
  • Employees who had been in the loop on colleagues’ lives missed birthday celebrations and knowing about personal celebrations (new homes, babies, etc.).
  • Workplace loneliness and employee disconnect began to rise due to isolation and stress, particularly as the economy struggled.

Organizational needs:

  • A way to make a new, shared culture and newly crafted values visible.
  • More recognition and reward to build engagement. Employees had been asking for more recognition for years and with the need for a new digital workspace, this was finally feeling achievable.
  • A place to share employee’s personal updates. Employees had lost touch with colleagues and their families.
  • A replacement for the brick and mortar workspace. It was feeling lonely at their work-from-home desks.

DG Bravo eCard selectionThe internal DGA team knew they needed technology help to re-create connection in the remote workspace, and so they set about finding a partner. Their plan to find the best partner?:

Get clear about why they wanted the help and what they needed. There were lots of choices in the market, but they wanted to move quickly to get a digital workspace built.

Listen to vendor recommendations and best practices. They had ideas for how to best accomplish their goals, and knew they were experts in their culture, but were open to the feedback of outsiders with more experience.

Get executive buy-in early. They knew that connection to senior leadership was part of what employees were missing, so they wanted executives bought into participating in the new initiative.

A cross-functional team as guides. Allison and Ann knew what they wanted from the platform, but they wanted the larger employee team bought in as well. Getting an employee group involved prevented them from having the HR blindspots that might make program adoption harder over time.

Mastering the program rollout:

DG Bravo wellbeing center mockup (mobile)Start with a pilot and learn and grow.

Rather than getting stuck in making the first launch perfect, they started with the aspects of the plan they felt most confident about and grew from there. This saved time and made for better decision making long-term. They started with blogs and eCards to get people involved without the distraction of rewards. This was especially important as the eCards reflected their new values. They wanted to give employees time to focus on the stories and the meaning of the values as a means to connect and educate. The blogs were divided into all employee content and community-specific content, allowing room for personal employee news and updates by the group.

Make it your own – branding is important!

They wanted the visuals and platform language to feel like an extension of their company.

The company also used its Reward Gateway platform to improve the efficacy of its onboarding process:

With the newsfeed and Wellbeing Center in place, Reward Gateway got to work on an interactive eCard system to enable interactive peer-to-peer recognition among staff. Shannon also wanted to couple this with a digitized version of their previous Instant Awards function – nicknamed “Golden Shamrocks” – which allowed managers to reward great work with cash, gift cards or other prizes.

Both of these systems ensured that recognitions and rewards were far more visible throughout the entire organization, so that people in different locations and different levels of the business could see the great work being done by their colleagues.

“Over communicate” to employees.

The team let people know the program was coming, it was available and then sent regular reminders to leaders and employees. They knew that people only had so much time and some folks would jump on-board immediately, while others would need time to breathe and engage. They made sure information would be available at people’s fingertips when they were ready to get onboard.

Expanded access and functionality.

Once the initial questions were answered, they team expanded to rewards and started pushing out campaign content, like the Mental Health Awareness blogs written by leaders. DG Bravo! allowed the team to put important focus on mental health in this way!

Keep the program fresh with content.

The team set aside time to regularly add in new content and to review usage metrics and consider what was working and what might need adjustment. Their perspective that the launch was just Phase One meant they were open to learning and growing based on the reactions of leaders and employees.

Design Group America used eCards to reinforce its culture, and once the culture of recognition was established, it added a Rewards structure to boost engagement.

Want to learn more about how the Reward Gateway solution can help your business? 

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