Guusto Expert Review, Pricing, Alternatives - 2023

Rodrigo Vázquez Mellado
HR and B2B software analyst and advisor, tech writer and editor, former conversational designer

Contributing Experts

No items found.
We spend hundreds of hours researching the best HR and recruiting software so you don’t have to.  We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on practitioners and experts to help us recommend the right software.  However we may earn a small fee if you click on vendor links on this page.
Learn more

Guusto Versus the Competition

Guusto lets you send a free test gift so you can try the platform. You can also send thousands of gifts from a free account and let the employee receiving the gift choose the merchant. The platform is gift-card oriented, sleek, and rapidly-growing.

If you're ready to get a Guusto demo, we suggest getting in touch for a look at the product and quote. Otherwise, read on!

Ease of Use
Best For
Key Differentiator
Free Trial
  • They partnered with the One Drop Foundation to donate 1 day of clean drinking water for every gift sent.
  • All gift cards are actually digital, meaning there’s no plastic waste. This also makes it a very remote-friendly product. 
  • Guusto is not a points program. All the gifts within the platform are real dollar value.
  • Their merchant selection is very US and Canada focused. For the rest of the world, they only offer custom and Amazon rewards. 
  • Similarly, only USD and CAD are available as currencies

Guusto Review

One of Guusto’s key differentiating factors is that you can have a free plan forever if you limit it to single user accounts instead of getting the social features like feeds, company core values, and budgets for each team member. You’d only pay for each gift you send. Our pricing section discusses the other plans in more detail. 

Whether you sign up for a free account or start by sending a free gift, you’d kick things off by selecting a merchant to send the gift card from. They also have a feature that would let the recipient choose for a gift by any partner merchant. You set a value for the reward, a number of gifts, and a claiming period. If the gift isn’t claimed within said period (from 1 month to a year), you get a full refund. 

After this, you can personalize the gift by adding a note, selecting the reason behind this recognition, and adding a custom image. The digital gift card can then be sent via email or printed for in-person giving. After this, you’d add the recipient's details, have the option to notify their managers, and schedule the gift or send it immediately. Within these last steps, you can also send several gifts to multiple recipients by uploading a .csv file. 

So, it’s basically a two-step (select the gift, select a recipient) process within a fairly intuitive and clear platform. From the recipient’s side, they get an email (which can be customized) with the gift card details, but these are also saved within their platform account if they have one. In the latter case, they can choose to redeem a certain amount, even among different businesses. To make it more clear, let’s say you receive a $200 gift card to use with any merchant you like from a colleague because of showing exemplary leadership during a project that was recently completed. After getting the notification email, you can go into Guusto and split the $200 between Amazon, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble. Gifts can also be combined if you’ve got your eye towards something bigger, as long as they don’t expire first.

Who shouldn't buy Guusto

Businesses outside the US and Canada would find the rewards offer too limited, as it would only be Amazon gift cards and custom gifts. As for businesses in those regions, those looking for more rewards in the form of physical goods or experiences would also be wise to look at other platforms.

Guusto Customers

Harvard University, Levi’s, The Body Shop, Toronto Raptors, Fairmont, Rexall, and more.

Guusto: Free employee recognition program

Guusto Key Features

  • Peer-to-Peer Rewards: By activating what they call the Nomination Box, you can let your employees recognize each other by nominating colleagues to receive a reward. Managers can then issue rewards based on the leaderboards that Guusto generates automatically. Automated draws are also possible.
  • Pay-it-forward: When sending a gift, you can mark an option that would require the recipient to then send a gift to someone else.  

Among Guusto’s features, you’ll also find: 

  • Milestone / Anniversary / Years-of-Service Awards
  • Real-Time Recognition / Spot Bonuses
  • Leaderboards 
  • Onboarding Programs
  • Wellness Programs
  • Goals
  • Quarterly & Annual Performance Awards
  • Any Gift Card Program
  • Reports

Guusto Key Integrations

  • honeybeeBase for time and task management
  • Xoxoday Empuls for employee engagement
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Custom API
  • SSO with Google

Guusto Pricing

Guusto offer the following pricing plans:

  • Individual: Free. As a single user, you only pay for rewards.
  • Essential: Starts from $2.25 per member/month
  • Premium: Starts from $3.50 per member/month

Subscription fees only apply to team members sending gifts, not all employees. The HR team's budget will be linked to how much per employee per year you want to spend. Also, some contract minimums may apply.

Motivosity Recognize
Motivosity Recognize
Motivosity Lead
Motivosity Listen
$5 per person per month
$6.50 per person per month
$2 per person per month

Guusto is Best For

Companies in the US and Canada looking for a plug and play solution for employee rewards and recognition. It’s good for both small and large teams that need something to get started with quickly, but has all the features for social recognition, albeit with a limited rewards catalog (only gift-cards).

Motivosity Recognize
Motivosity Recognize
Motivosity Lead
Motivosity Listen
$5 per person per month
$6.50 per person per month
$2 per person per month

How Has Guusto Changed Over Time?

Guusto Implementation

The claim is “start in minutes, not months”. After selecting a plan, signing up is pretty straightforward and, from there, it’s a matter of how quick the solution can be adopted internally. For your first step, you can choose from a free demo, creating a free account, or trying the platform by sending 1 test gift for no charge whatsoever.

Guusto Customer Success

  • Free resources include blog posts, guides, webinars, a ROI calculator, and a new features feed. 
  • Comprehensive help center
  • Live chat
  • Premium onboarding packages with a designated contact

About Guusto

Guusto was started by Ontarians Skai and Joe. With low job prospects in Canada after the 2008 global recession, they decided to start a dining tour. While doing that, they noticed that many restaurants would get frequent calls from people asking to send drinks or a meal to a friend or client, but the establishments would refuse to take credit cards over the phone. The duo realized there could be an app for that.

Hence, this employee recognition platform actually started as a consumer app. It allowed you to send drinks to friends or colleagues via a network of partner restaurants. The pair got some funding from friends and family, then went to Dragon’s Den, unsuccessfully, until they noticed that the app was actually being used by HR people sending gifts to employees. 

Their platform was then shaped behind an attempt to help mitigate the perils of a low employee engagement. According to their research, in the US, 44% of employees turnover each year, causing costs of up to $35,000 to replace each employee and an estimated $15,000 lost in productivity. 

As remote work became more of a possibility for more kinds of workers, the founders of Guusto realized that these figures were poised to get even worse. If suddenly it’s somewhat easier for workers to switch jobs or join the gig economy, how can companies try to create a work environment that they’d think twice about leaving? 

While gift cards are a rather simple answer, Guusto’s success stories, customer list, and ROI calculator make a compelling case for these being an actual incentive. The platform doesn’t stop at just gift cards, but it enables managers and team members alike to recognize great achievements in a public forum.

As a next step you can visit the Guusto website or read our research on the Best Employee Recognition & Rewards Program Platforms.

As a next step you can visit the Guusto website or read our research on the Best Employee Recognition & Rewards Program Platforms.

Guusto Alternatives

Also leading employee engagement vendor
Best free employee recognition platform
Great for matching company values to rewards
Employee recognition plus engagement and development
Great for companies that want engagement and performance


Does Guusto offer a money-back guarantee? 

Yes. With any of the paid plans, this employee recognition SaaS platform offers a 60-day full money back guarantee on any subscription fees.

What’s the difference between Guusto and Gusto? 

Guusto, pronounced something like “goost-oh”, is the employee rewards and recognition platform we’ve covered in this review. Gusto, pronounced like the noun, is a payroll and HR platform. The only connection between the two is the similar name.

Company HQ
Vancouver, British Columbia
Number of Employees
Year Founded
Amount Raised
Guusto was actually the first Canadian company to close a round of equity crowdfunding in 2016.
Listed in our research about Employee Recognition Software
You might also be interested in the following buyer guides:
Applicant Tracking SoftwareEmployee Recognition SoftwareVideo Interview Software

Review Methodology

We take our research process seriously and want to make sure we are presenting our readers with the very best solutions in a given software category. Check out this guide to learn how we evaluate vendors before featuring them in our buyer guides.

Advice on buying HR Tech

Join 20,000 HR Tech Nerds who get our weekly insights