Gold Star — Employee Engagement Made Fun

Karson Enns
3 min readNov 15, 2020

This is a part of a challenge I’m doing, 28 concepts in 28 days. If you want to read about it head over to the Introduction.

Employee engagement is important, I talked a bit about this in my earlier idea “You Down”, and wanted to build on that thread and share something me and a few friends put together at my last company.

Our team was always pretty competitive, we would often make a friendly competition out of anything. Lunch Poker, who could throw a ball in a cup from across the room, who could win at the arcade game. Classic startup shenanigans.

One Friday night during some drinks with the team we came up with an idea to create an in-office “Currency” that you could redeem for prizes like company swag, lunches, and even the top prize of an Apple Watch. The goal was to allow everyone to get involved with some of the games and tournaments we were doing.

They were named Siscoins after our team-mate Syd.

The concept was simple, every real payday, you would also get a physical “Siscoin”, and if you saved up enough, you could buy things from the store. Prizes ranged from 5 Coins to 100 Coins. The key thing we also allowed was trading and betting with these coins, if you wanted to you could bet someone a coin on a game of Tetris, or simply a coin flip.

This started a multi-year phenomenon, bake sales for coins would happen, sports betting, planking contests. We even got to a point of electing a mock board to settle disputes at lunch. People would create powerpoints in order to plead their cases for justice.

It ended up being a fantastic way for people to get to know others in the office. Now you had someone from Engineering regularly talking to someone from the Customer Service. New people on the team would be able to get involved in some of the weekly events we had making connections quickly. It provided constant team-building activities.

But as we started to work remote a bit more, it became harder to do everything in the office, that's when a few of us created an app that allowed you to manage your coins virtually.

We called it Gold Star

We eventually had folks starting their own alt-coins, this app supported those. You could trade with others, and we added other games directly to the app so you could win more of these coins.

This worked great when we were 20-30 employees, It provided a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot of my life-long friends in part because of this idea.



Karson Enns

Writing about Engineering & Product. Redefining the healthcare experience at