How HeyTaco Increased Peer Recognition at Duke University Internal Medicine

Employee engagement is a complex topic in todayโ€™s multi location business world. Achieving real results with a recognition and engagement program can seem unlikely. But when Duke University's Internal Medicine residency program tried out HeyTaco, they loved it and saw delicious results.


It was the middle of 2020, and Duke University Medical Center was crucial to patient care. They quickly began to recognize the magnified stress on physicians. According to Duke, "Throughout the pandemic, emotional exhaustion increased as fears and uncertainty mounted surrounding risks to personal health, vaccine distribution, and the potential negative impact on personal and career development."

The leading physicians at Duke were ready to do whatever it took to maintain the emotional and mental health of medical trainees. So, they implemented HeyTaco, "Acknowledging the stressful environment that our trainees were facing and the reality of social isolation, we sought to increase feelings of accomplishment and foster community in an innovative way." The team wanted to try something they had never done before. The question in their minds was whether this would be the tool to deliver the boost in morale and create camaraderie from the bottom of the organization all the way to the top ranking physicians.


Duke's Internal Medicine Residency Team had a difficult system of expressing any gratitude before using HeyTaco. It wasn't done in real-time and it was too time consuming for busy physicians.

"Prior to launching the application, the system for offering encouragement or kudos consisted of e-mailing the Program Director who would publish these acknowledgements in a weekly newsletter. We hypothesized that less kudos were likely shared given the time and energy it takes to send an email to the Program Director. In addition, the trainees would not receive these words of affirmation in real time as they did with the launch of the HeyTaco application."

Working with medical professionals of many ages and stages of experience, Duke's Internal Medicine residency team wasn't sure if an app sending an instant note of recognition could increase participation, improve engagement, and foster community. Thatโ€™s a tall order. They wanted to increase camaraderie and show solidarity in an uncertain time. The physicians were hoping that a more active recognition program would allow for the entire team to feel united.


HeyTaco increased Duke University's peer-to-peer recognition efforts by 1,000%

Virtual tacos and a genuine note of recognition multiplies engagement for every team member. Overall recognition messages increased 300% on their team from the previous year, from about 300 messages to over 900 messages sent.

Duke University physicians have deep experience caring for some of the most difficult medical problems in our nation. By implementing HeyTaco, the number of recognition messages received by established faculty increased 600% from the year before.

There aren't many engagement tools that can claim a ten-fold increase in team building messages sent among a hard working and difficult industry, and we're humbled to be one of those companies. HeyTaco is so much more than a virtual taco. It's a way to create happier, more engaged teams built on gratitude.



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