Motivating Blue Collar Employees – Using the Right Rewards and Recognition System

Motivating Blue Collar Employees – Using the Right Rewards and Recognition System

When it comes to employee motivation and engagement, most companies focus their efforts primarily on appeasing the white-collar members of their workforce. This is due to the fact that an effective white-collar support staff and management team is considered to be one of the most important facets of any business. Sadly, most organizations tend to overlook the fact that their blue-collared employees are equally important as they form the driving force of the company. These employees share the same need for appreciation and acknowledgment from their employers as their white-collar counterparts. Failure to do so is likely to affect their performance efficiency and productivity and hinder the smooth functioning and growth of a business.

What is meant by Blue-Collared Employees?

The workforce of an organization is comprised of different types of professionals specializing in various tasks and niches. However, the entire workforce can broadly be classified into two main categories namely white-collared and blue-collared employees. White-collar employees generally comprise of those members of the workforce who work in professional, supervisory, managerial and administrative roles within an organization. On the other hand, members of the workforce, who work in manual positions and use their hands to perform various tasks are classified as blue-collar employees. These employees are named so, as most of them are required to wear uniforms and coveralls along with protective gear. They generally include skilled workers employed in manufacturing, mining, construction and other such industries, tradespeople and even field officers and workers.

What hinders rewarding and recognizing Blue-Collar Employees?

One of the biggest hindrances in the way of rewarding and recognizing blue-collar employees is the traditional perception of them being inferior to white-collared employees. In fact, until quite recently, the members of the top management within organizations were of the opinion that white-collar workers were in greater need of motivation and engagement by virtue of their more responsible positions and higher education levels. They felt that the blue-collar employees did not have any such needs, especially since a majority of them are tied to union pay and benefits. However, the various employee surveys have made it clear that employees of both these categories have a similar craving for being rewarded and recognized for their hard work and efforts made towards organizational growth.

Creating a suitable Rewards and Recognition Program

The good news is that a majority of business organizations today are understanding the need to acknowledge and appreciate the performance and contribution of their blue-collared employees. However, since their employee motivation needs tend to differ considerably from the more sophisticated members of the workforce, companies need to do some thinking in order to create the best rewards and recognition programs for them. The four main types of rewards that can be considered by organizations to overcome this dilemma effectively are discussed below.

Tangible Rewards

Providing physically tangible rewards to blue-collar employees can go a long way in keeping them motivated and enhancing their engagement levels. Physical things such as gift baskets, company-branded gear, engraved tools and even embroidered vests for field staff can prove to be the most relevant and satisfactory rewards. In fact, handwritten notes of appreciation and gift cards are also highly preferred along with trophies and medallions as they help in sparking conversation and participation.

Monetary Awards

One traditional and highly successful method of acknowledging blue-collar employees is by offering them performance bonuses and a raise in salary. These monetary rewards are known to boost employee motivation levels significantly besides making the employees feel appropriately recognized for their hard work. More recently, other forms of monetary awards including paid lunches, floating holidays, gift cards for their favorite store or restaurant and company store vouchers have also gained much popularity.

Experience Awards

Providing an opportunity of once in a lifetime experience to blue-collar workers is also proving to be an effective way of rewarding them. Rewards like an invitation to company-sponsored events or enjoying a meal with the CEO or Chairman are often well appreciated especially by the employees operating at floor levels in factories. Other similar awards that are generally well-received include fully or partly paid vacations, a short sabbatical from work and special training and skill development that can help enhance the career growth of workers within this category.

Verbal Rewards

Even though most companies and managers no longer acknowledge it as a reward, a few words of praise still hold much value in terms of employee recognition. The very fact that their employers have chosen to single out the employees in a positive way makes them feel valued and appreciated. It assures them of the fact that their efforts and contribution towards organizational growth have not gone unnoticed. Facilitating a culture of peer-to-peer recognition among blue-collar workers can actually prove more beneficial than words of praise offered by line managers and executives.

The above discussion makes it quite clear that the organizations need to work proactively towards understanding job satisfaction and motivational needs of its blue-collar workers and fulfill the same.

Does Employee Rewards and Recognition make sense in a sales organization?

Does Employee Rewards and Recognition make sense in a sales organization?

This is perhaps one of the most confusing questions faced by managers responsible for handling a sales team. The fact that most sales-driven organizations have a well-developed compensation and incentive program already in place for its sales executives makes things rather complicated. However, these incentives alone might not always prove motivating for the sales representatives, as they do not exactly acknowledge or appreciate the efforts and dedication of the executives – only actual numbers. On the other hand, appropriate rewards and recognition can help in keeping the sales team motivated, especially during the low sales months. Also, most organizations expect the sales executives to share vital market intelligence with the marketing teams that can help in tweaking the marketing strategy or even the product strategy.  That is why a majority of sales organizations today are considering the option of creating effective rewards and recognition program for its marketing team in parallel to the existing compensation systems.

Need to constantly motivate the Sales Team

Sales is one of the most important business processes as it directly impacts cash flow and provides key information about customer needs and expectations. In fact, it is the members of the sales team, who are on the front lines of any business and who represent the face of the business in the marketplace. In addition to facing constant competitive pressure, they also need to deal with the changing preferences and buying processes of the customers. All these factors tend to take a serious toll on the motivation as well as the morale and dedication levels of any individual. That is why it is the responsibility of the business organization employing these professionals to have an effective reward and recognition program for keeping them constantly motivated.

How a Good R&R Program helps

The most important thing that companies need to understand is that all activities of sales representatives are purpose-driven. Unlike incentives and bonuses offered to a sales team, focused recognition and rewards tend to be more effective as they tend to be more personal and memorable. By publicly acknowledging and appreciating the hard work and efforts being made by these professionals to nurture client relationships, collect information, share insights and collaborate helps in solidifying their purpose and reinforcing transparency. A small investment in employee rewards can provide exceptional returns in terms of increased market share and better customer retention thanks to the boost in the motivation of the sales representatives.

Important Factors to keep in mind

Having a great reward and recognition system in place for the sales representatives is essential for creating a truly prosperous organization. However, it is important to keep some key factors in mind while creating such a system that offers the desired results.:

Integrating R&R Programs with Compensation and Incentive Plans

Like with most other employees in an organization, a rewards and recognition program can go a long way in keeping the members of the sales team happy and motivated all year round. However, it is important to ensure that these programs are integrated with the existing compensation and incentive plans. Relying solely on either the compensation and incentive plans or just the R&R systems can only provide temporary benefits. Integrating the two is the only way to bring about a lasting change in the attitudes and behaviors of the sales representatives and enhancing the employee motivation, dedication, and commitment towards the organization.

Ensuring feasible variety in the Rewards and Recognition

Most organizations feel that offering cash rewards along with a certificate of appreciation is the best way to keep the sales teams motivated. However, they tend to overlook the fact that such a system tends to become monotonous and boring after some time. In fact, the sales representatives often start comparing the regular cash rewards with the yearly bonus or incentives they receive from their employers. As such, it is important for the sales organization to ensure a feasible variety in the rewards and recognition being provided to the sales teams. This may be in the forms of tangible items, trips, and even gift vouchers that the sales professionals might find unique and appealing.

Recognize Both Individual and Team Efforts

Business organizations often commit the mistake of creating R&R programs aimed at appeasing only individual sales representatives or focusing only on the collective efforts of entire teams. Both these approaches can result in the failure of the employee recognition programs as they consider only one aspect of the overall sales process. In any sales-driven organization, the contribution of individual employees is almost as important as that of entire teams. Hence it is important to have a program that rewards and recognizes both individuals and teams as the case may be. This helps in promoting healthy competition between the members of the sales team while also encouraging them to work together as a single unit.

It is quite clear that a well-defined and properly thought through rewards and recognition program beyond the traditional sales incentive systems are essential for ensuring the growth and success of a sales-driven organization. Such a program can ensure a higher level of satisfaction and motivation of their sales representatives and deliver business impact well beyond just the sales numbers!

How to Reward and Recognize Customer Service Employees?

How to Reward and Recognize Customer Service Employees?

Great customer experience is one of the key requirements for ensuring the success and growth of any business organization. In fact, it is not uncommon for individuals to shift their loyalties to an organization promising to offer better customer experience.   In order to create such an experience, it is important for companies to train and prepare their employees to be customer-centric. However, such training and preparation form only one aspect of ensuring customer satisfaction and happiness. A customer service organization be it a call center,  front-office or delivery function also needs to focus on enhancing the happiness and satisfaction level of its own employees to get the best results. Companies can no longer undermine the fact that the success of their business depends on an ongoing stream of happy customers, which in turn is determined by the happiness level of the employees.

How Employee Happiness Influences Customer Experience

A customer-centric approach does not just focus on efficient communication with customers through a call center or front office but is more about ensuring better brand experience and establishing long term relationships with them. In a customer service environment, the employees handle the responsibility of fostering such experiences and relationships. By empowering the employees and enhancing their engagement and satisfaction levels, companies can ensure a significant improvement in these experiences and relationships. It has been observed that happy employees tend to be self-motivated and work towards delivering better customer experiences. Their commitment and sense of loyalty towards the organizations is significantly enhanced and this is reflected through an increase in their efficiency.

Using Rewards and Recognition to reinforce Customer-Centricity

Just being aware of the critical role played by employees in delivering great customer experience is not enough for a business organization. Rather they need to take the necessary steps to reinforce customer-centric behavior by creating a customer-focused culture. The most important step to be taken in this direction is to integrate employee rewards into the company culture. At the same time, they need to avoid the common pitfalls that can render the reward and recognition program simply useless. In order to ensure the same, the business organization needs to ensure the following.

Focus on the Employee Behaviors that provide Desired Impact

While deciding about the most appropriate rewards and recognition options for employees, business organizations need to focus on identifying and promoting employee behaviors that ensure an enhanced customer experience. For this, they need to first determine the things that really matter to the customers through a thorough analysis of customer data, their preferences, and reviews. The information thus obtained can be then co-ordinated with the various behavioral attributes of employees to learn about the ones that provide the desired results. Having identified the most effective behavior that drives customer satisfaction, the organization should take the necessary steps towards employee motivation to promote this behavior.

Integrate Reward Systems with Customer Experience

Proper alignment of the reward system with employee incentives with respect to the customer experience they create, is essential to create a customer-centric culture. This might require slight modification in the criteria used for deciding formal rewards such as salaries, bonuses, and promotions. The awareness of the fact that being customer-centric can prove beneficial not only in terms of gaining recognition and appreciation but also for ensuring career growth can act as a great motivator. In addition, it also helps in maintaining the credibility of the reward system by ensuring that only the most deserving employees receive them.

Set up Informal Rewards to Encourage Customer Focus

Employee recognition holds greater value than monetary benefits for a large percentage of professionals working in a customer service environment.  Thus by setting up informal rewards, that can remind the employees of their achievements and glory – it tend to prove more effective than just cash rewards. The simple act of posting an image of the top-performing employees for a specific period in the workplace where it is easily visible to other employees and customers can boost the morale and efficiency of the employees quite significantly. In turn, it can create a sense of pride amongst the customers who might have interacted with these employees and strengthen their bond with the company.

Focus on ensuring Better Work-Life Balance

At the end of the day, all employees are individuals with a life outside their profession, which they cannot ignore. No amount of rewards and recognition can replace the happiness that employees gain by spending time with their family and friends. Thus by providing opportunities for a better work-life balance for their employees, companies can enhance their happiness quotient. Happy employees tend to be more attentive and sympathetic towards their customer needs and are more likely to make every effort to ensure their satisfaction and happiness.

A customer service environment can prove to be extremely stressful and exhausting for employees as it requires them to deal with people of diverse natures, opinions and patience levels. The challenge of keeping the employees working in such environments motivated and engaged can only be overcome with an effective reward and recognition program.

How to make Rewards and Recognition Programs work for Gen Z employees?

How to make Rewards and Recognition Programs work for Gen Z employees?

Most organizations have just felt the satisfaction of figuring out the needs and expectations of the millennials present within their workforce. But they hardly have time to celebrate this achievement, as an entirely new generation of employees is becoming a part of the workforce. This new generation, referred to as Generation Z, is as different from the millennials as they were from their predecessors. Consequently, organizations are once again faced with the need to modify their rewards and recognition programs to accommodate the newest members of their workforce. This can definitely prove to be extremely challenging especially within organizations where several generations of employees work together.

An Overview of Gen Z

Before learning about the reward and recognition programs that would most likely prove most motivating for the Gen Z employees, it is essential for hiring organizations to know more about these individuals. This generation of employees comprises of people born between the mid-1990s to 2000. According to a survey, Gen Z is expected to form 35% of the workforce by the year 2020. This generation has spent most, if not all, of its formative years, being exposed to on-demand and constant connectivity. As such, they expect their workplaces to offer easily accessible and convenient technology solutions. Not surprisingly, their expectations with respect to the rewards and recognition they are likely to receive from their employers are drawn along the same lines.

Rewards and Recognition Tips for Employers of Gen Z

Like their preceding generations, Gen Z employees also need to be amply recognized and rewarded for their work and contribution towards organizational growth. However, given that the members of this generation have only recently begun to be employed, the hiring organizations are yet to figure out the best way rewards and recognition programs that will ensure maximum engagement and motivation of the newest members of their workforce. In this context, the below-discussed tips can quite useful for the employers of Gen Z.

They prefer to keep it Simple

A large majority of Gen Z employees prefer rewards and recognition programs that are quite simple. They may feel more happy and content by a simple mail of appreciation from their superiors, rather than being publicly appreciated and rewarded in front of their team and peers. They are also do not like to be bestowed with heavily worded certifications or medallions, but would rather prefer something more practical and useful in lieu of a reward.

They love Tech Toys

Gen Z has been bought up in an environment where the use of technology is a part and parcel of life. This has ensured a deep-rooted love for various technology tools and toys in their minds and hearts. Hence they are almost always motivated by rewards that are technology-driven. Be it a gadget that has been recently launched in the market or an opportunity to learn a new skill or master a technology, such rewards go a long way in ensuring great employee motivation and satisfaction for this generation.

Paid Activities are always more effective

A paid family dinner or a fun outing with friends or even movie tickets and meal vouchers is something that the members of Generation Z would generally give preference to. Such rewards provide them with an opportunity to relax and unwind and also spend quality time with people who matter the most in their life. Moreover, it saves them from the stress of financial expenses which more than compensates for any loss of cash reward they might have received.

Additional Perks are preferred over Rewards

Employees of generation Z seek a more comfortable and flexible work environment. Hence they are willing to forgo any cash or kind rewards if it means getting additional perks and benefits at the workplace. The good thing is that even the perks and benefits being sought are not too unrealistic. In most cases, these include greater flexibility in work schedules, preferred work areas, free pick, and drop facilities or even an increase in the variety and frequency of serving hot or cold beverages.

Personalized Rewards tend to make a great difference

When it comes to employee recognition and rewards, the members of Gen Z workforce feel considerably motivated by personalized gifts. It makes them feel truly valued and appreciated as an individual. They are assured of the fact that their employer knows them not just as another useful asset but as a person with specific tastes, likes, and dislikes. This helps in establishing a strong bond of trust and emotional connectivity between the employees and the business organizations and ensures the creation of a committed and dedicated workforce. In most cases, the size and cost of the personalized gift do not matter much, but the employers need to ensure that it matches the position of the employee within the organization.

Keeping the above points in mind, organizations can develop suitable employee rewards and recognition programs that can be extremely satisfying and constantly motivating for the members of Generation Z workforce

HiFives Team

Guide to Employee Recognition in a Start-up Environment

Guide to Employee Recognition in a Start-up Environment

The importance of keeping the employees motivated and engaged in any organization cannot be undermined. In start-up culture, this aspect gains even greater significance, especially in terms of employee recognition and rewards. Given that employee engagement significantly impacts the fulfillment of business objectives, appreciating and rewarding the deserving employees, ensures stronger company outcomes. While most established businesses have a formal and mechanized employee recognition system, things need to be done differently in a start-up environment to get the best results. Here, it is essential to first understand the significance of employee recognition in start-ups.

Importance of Employee Recognition in Start-up Environment

Employee recognition forms the core of employee engagement in most business organizations. It is also a well-known truth that most start-ups comprise of a small group of employees performing multiple functions simultaneously. This naturally requires the employees to stretch beyond their usual capabilities and work hours in order to propel the organization forward. Therefore, in such environments, recognizing and appreciating their efforts goes a long way establishing an emotional connect and sense of belonging of the employees with the start-up. However, as mentioned before, effective employee recognition in start-up environments cannot be carried out in a conventional manner but rather requires mindful planning and execution.

Handling Employee Recognition the Right Way

One of the key aspects of handling employee recognition in the right manner is to make it individually meaningful for the employees. In a start-up, the number of employees is quite limited making it easier for the employers to gain a better understanding of how each employee is likely to respond to recognition. This enables them to develop a smooth, systematic, timely and fair recognition program for their employees. The key parameters that should form an integral part of every effective employee recognition program are discussed in brief as follows.

Well Defined Criteria: It is important for a start-up organization to have well-defined criteria that forms the base of its employee recognition program. Employees should be recognized and appreciated not only for their professional achievements but also their personality and behavior aspects that might help in motivating other team members. It is the responsibility of the start-up leadership to make their teams aware of the different criteria for which they might gain recognition and appreciation. At the same time, these criteria should be flexible enough to meet the changing business and employee needs as the organization grows and expands.

Timeliness of Recognition: Recognizing and rewarding the efforts of an employee well in time will ensure the effectiveness of the program. Any delays in the process can have significant negative consequences and can even reduce the morale and efficiency of the employees. One method that can be adopted by start-ups to avoid this problem is to set a specific day of the month for handing out rewards and recognition to selected employees. This ensures that the employees do not feel desperate or disappointed if they are not provided with immediate recognition and appreciation. Alternately, early-stage start-ups can choose to acknowledge and appreciate employees regularly and on the go.

Fairness of Recognition: The most important aspect of ensuring the effectiveness of an employee recognition program is to ensure its fairness. This means that the startup leadership should verify whether or not the employees nominated for recognition truly deserve the same. It is not uncommon for people to take credit of the work done by their juniors to gain the appreciation of their bosses. Recognizing and rewarding such people is not only unfair but also tends breeding dissent besides reducing the overall employee motivation in a start-up. Hence, it is essential for startup leaders to develop strategies that can help in ensuring complete fairness in handing out rewards and recognition to a deserving employee.

Variety in Rewards: Providing some sort of variety in the rewards being handed out to deserving employees is also something that startup leaders should consider. Offering the same rewards to different employees for diverse reasons makes the whole process seem formal and monotonous. By adding a bit of variety, the start-up leaders can keep the whole process innovative and interesting. It will also add a bit of surprise and excitement to the process as the employees are often kept guessing about the reward until the very last moment.

Individual Meaningfulness: Finally, it is important for the start-up leaders to ensure that the rewards and recognition being handed out holds some meaning for the individual employees. They need to understand that every individual is different and perceives appreciation and recognition in a different manner. While for some true recognition might mean the announcement of their achievements to the world, for others it might be a few words of praise spoken by their seniors in private. The same holds true for rewards, which might hold greater value for some in cash, while others might prefer receiving an appropriate gift.

Taking the above factors into consideration can help start-up organizations develop a truly efficient and result-oriented rewards program that enhances the overall workforce performance and motivation quite significantly and drive the desired business results.

HiFives Team

Low Budget Employee Recognition and Reward Ideas to Enhance Employee Motivation

Low Budget Employee Recognition and Reward Ideas to Enhance Employee Motivation

Seeking recognition and appreciation for their work is basic human nature and nowhere is this behavioral trait more evident than in professional work environments. In fact, employee recognition and rewards have emerged as the key aspects for creating a highly engaged workforce committed towards business growth. The process is aimed at acknowledging the efforts, hard work and workplace behavior of employees that contribute towards the success of an organization and fulfillment of its objectives.

However, most small and medium business organizations and even larger enterprises tend to feel concerned about the costs involved in implementing a proper employee recognition and rewards program. What such organizations fail to understand is that it is the intent of recognizing and rewarding the employees that matters the most, rather than the money they spend for the same. Business organizations can plan for a recognition system that suits the needs of their employees as well as their budget more efficiently.

Planning a Suitable Rewards and Recognition Program

The most important thing that business organizations need to understand is that the rewards being handed out to employees neither need to be expensive nor in the form of cash. In fact, most employees feel satisfied by the fact that their seniors are aware of their efforts and willing to acknowledge the same. However, employers need to make sure that any non-cash rewards that are chosen should keep the interests of the employees in mind. It has been observed that such rewards are more effective in enhancing employee motivation rather than cash rewards. Discussed below are a few low budget employee recognition and reward ideas that can help enhance employee motivation and engagement levels considerably.

Public Recognition

Acknowledging and appreciating the efforts and hard work of the deserving employees publicly is the most common and cost-effective method. Such public recognition can be made in front of the team members of the selected employee or the entire workforce at an organization level event. In either case, the employees tend to feel a sense of pride and achievement, which motivates them to further improve their performance. Such recognition should ideally include a certificate of merit and a small medallion or trophy which can serve as a constant reminder for the employee.

Workplace Benefits

Another cost-effective way of rewarding the employees is to offer them some desirable benefits at the workplace for a specific time period. The benefits can be extended permanently, in case of repeat achievers, which will also prove inspiring for other employees. These benefits may include flexible work timings, free pickup, and drop facilities for a specific time, upgraded workstation or even paid training for skill enhancement. Such rewards tend to enhance the motivation level of the entire team as the members are able to see the benefits gained by one of their own thanks to their diligent and sincere efforts.

Paid Outing with Family

A majority of employees today struggle hard to create a perfect balance between their work and family life. In addition, the cost of enjoying an outing with a family is often very high, which is why an average employee tends to do it less frequently. Hence, being rewarded with an opportunity to spend quality time with their family without having to worry about the expenses for the same, is something that most employees will find appealing. The venue and type of outing can be decided on the basis of the level of the employee receiving the reward.

Time Off from Work

The highly competitive work environments today often make it impossible for employees to take time off from work. This can lead to their physical and mental exhaustion and can even cause a reduction in their efficiency. One way to avoid this problem and integrating it with employee recognition is to give the employees time off from work. The employees can choose between coming to the office and doing nothing or staying at home to indulge in an activity that helps them to unwind and relax. A couple of days off from work will ensure that the employees feel truly acknowledged for their efforts. It also helps them feel wanted and cared for by their employers and thus helps them develop a stronger bond with the organization.

Formal Meal with Top Management

The idea of enjoying a formal dinner with members of the top management is also a great way of acknowledging and rewarding the employees in a budget-friendly manner. Most junior level employees are in awe of these top-level professionals and sharing a meal with them as a reward for their efforts and hard work often proves to be quite motivating. Moreover, this method of recognition and appreciation also provides the top management to interact with the high performing employees and assess their suitability for enhanced positions within the organization in the future.

All the above options (and many others we can think of) make it possible for business organizations to maintain a relatively low rewards budget without losing out on the benefits of employee recognition and appreciation.

HiFives Team

Will digitization of Rewards and Recognition result in loss of personal touch?

The answer to this question is a resounding NO!  People had said similar things about the telephone, computers, the Internet and so on. But as social beings, we have still managed to figure out ways to keep personal interactions going, at least in some form.

When it comes to employee rewards and recognition, there are huge benefits of digitizing and automating the process:

  1. Timeliness: One of the key requirements of timely recognition of employee achievements can be achieved through a digital platform that cuts through the manual processes of data collation, approvals, procurement, and distribution.
  2. HR Productivity: Getting rid of the manual tasks frees up the time of the HR team allowing them to devote their time and energy for more value-added activities.
  3. Digital savvy employees: With a good percentage of Gen Y employees in the workforce who spend a significant percentage of their waking hours on various digital platforms, having a traditional system of rewards and recognition is just unthinkable.

While the benefits of digitization seem obvious, what about the flipside of it in terms of reduced employee touch?

This is our school of thought, corroborated by real-life experiences in various organizations where such digital platforms have been implemented for employee rewards and recognition:

  1. Employee Events: With digitization of the processes, the HR Team now has more time to plan and execute events linked to employee rewards and recognition such as floor huddles, all-hands-meets, town halls and other formats of team meetings to recognize employees in person, typically by the manager or someone senior in the organization in front of reasonably large gathering of employees.
  2. Emails: Digital platforms would usually send out the communication over email to the team that the employee belongs to, cutting across locations and offices. Employees in other offices or locations who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to know about a colleague getting recognized or would get to know it late through a monthly newsletter etc. would be able to know it instantly as it happens. Several of the immediate colleagues might even reach out to the recognized employee over email (phone or messenger) to congratulate him or her.
  3. Digital Dashboards: A digital wall of fame can propagate the message even further across the broader organization, cutting across all boundaries of geography, functions, and teams and practically reaching all employees of the organization.
  4. Social Media: Policies in certain organizations allow the communication to go beyond the organizational boundaries into social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It might get posted through the company account or allow the employees to share the post to their personal accounts, further increasing the reach. The communication can now reach the friends and family of the recognized employee, further increasing his or her level of joy.

Overall, it does seem that digitization of the employee rewards and recognition program adds much more than what it takes away. There is no reason to believe that it would reduce the personal touch. In fact, it will improve the timeliness and spread of the communication vastly, creating a far higher level of satisfaction for the employee when one compares it with the traditional method of communication and distribution of employee rewards. It is almost like comparing an airplane with a bullock cart. Given today’s digital savvy way of life, geographically distributed workforces and busy corporate schedules, a digital platform for employee rewards and recognition is a must-have in most organizations. No second thoughts!

What are the benefits of an employee rewards and recognition program?

The management of any organization where employee rewards and recognition program has been implemented will always keep asking whether the program is delivering benefits. The management would typically want to see some tangible benefits to justify the continued funding of the program. Hence it is important for the HR team to demonstrate these program benefits on a continuous basis.

At HiFives, we have had long and deep engagement with our clients for their employee rewards and recognition programs. Based on this experience, we would like to list out a few of the benefits that should be aimed for or provided by employee rewards and recognition program in organizations:

  1. Employee performance and business impact

Done in the right way, employee rewards and recognition can reinforce good performance by employees, which would have a direct or indirect impact on business metrics such as revenues, costs, customer satisfaction, etc. For example, an employee who gets an award for achieving high levels of customer satisfaction is more often than not likely to continue to perform at the same or higher level. It might also motivate his peers to demonstrate higher levels of performance. The same would be true for an employee who is being recognized for cutting costs or driving innovation.

  1. Employee behaviour linked to company values

If executed well, employee rewards and recognition programs can deliver desired behaviour from employees in sync with the organization’s core values and beliefs such as ethics, commitment, customer centricity, passion or collaboration. For example, an employee who has worked on an important project to meet a critical deadline might be eligible for an award under the category of commitment. Another one could be that of an employee who might have resisted attempts by a third-party to secure a contract by trying to offer ‘personal incentives’ to the employee. In both these examples, the behaviour and the outcomes should be kept separate.

  1. Driving specific behaviours and outcomes

The organization can drive specific behaviours such as innovation, process efficiency, punctuality, social awareness, etc. through employee rewards and recognition programs.  For example, employees can be incentivized for good suggestions on process improvement. Another example could be of recognizing an employee who has participated in a social initiative or sporting event outside the organization.  It is difficult to incentivize such behaviours through the traditional performance assessment and regular compensation system. Hence employee rewards and recognition could be a useful tool in the HR team’s toolkit to drive such behaviours.

  1. Employee motivation and camaraderie

Employee rewards and recognition can help create a positive atmosphere of celebration within the organization. It can help foster individual-level motivation and overall team spirit. Open recognition of employee achievements can go a long way in building a great culture of appreciation of each other’s efforts.

Overall, employee rewards and recognition program that is well designed and well executed can provide significant dividends to the organization to justify the investments made into the program by the management. However, it is important to keep these objectives in mind while the program is being designed and implemented without any ambiguity. Otherwise, it will also end up as yet another HR initiative without clearly articulated benefits and well-defined ROI.

 

by HiFives Team

The Magic of Employee Recognition

Recognition is an ancient tradition in all communities, dating thousands of years. Recognition at the workplace too goes back in history. Typically top driven, it represents the appreciation of performance or achievement of an individual or a group of individuals, generally by a designated leader within the organization. Employee recognition may or may not come with monetary benefits but more often than not, it comes with high visibility within the organization.

Employee recognition has come a long way and has evolved into a more structured form of appreciation within the organization; not just restricted to leaders or managers but any employee in the organization could recognize anyone. Such peer-to-peer recognition, though a noble thought has been subject to a lot of pessimism from the management as to whether it is indeed genuine or not. Several organizations have downgraded the value of peer-to-peer recognition to well below manager recognition due to this reason.

Whatever the mechanism of employee recognition, we believe it should be timely and well thought through. It has a multiplying impact on employee motivation if done in the right way. Hence, systems and processes need to be implemented to ensure that the impact of it is fully realized by the organization. That is when the magic of employee recognition will touch the work lives of all employees and create a great work culture.

An employee recognition system should take care of the following:

  1. Enable a manager (or peer) to recognize an individual or group in a few easy steps
  2. Checks and balances to minimize bias, duplication and errors to the extent possible
  3. Financial or other authorization based on the organization structure and policies
  4. Communication to the immediate group and the broader organization easily and quickly
  5. Reporting and tracking of the key metrics

Key metrics would include coverage ratios at various levels. Usually, organizations would set a target coverage ratio for themselves. Though setting a target puts more focus into the whole process but it might also make recognition for the sake of recognition which devalues the entire concept. Hence, our recommendation would be to set a target range for employee recognition, purposely keeping it on the lower side to preserve the novelty and the value of it rather than making it an entitlement.

All this is just the science of employee recognition, driven by systems, processes and hard numbers. However, the art of employee recognition goes much beyond that – what is said and written; the honesty with which the communication is done and the timeliness of it; all matters. Systems and processes can only facilitate but it is up to the individual manager or employee to create that magic!

According to us, employee recognition is both an art and a science that helps build a culture of appreciation within the organization. This will ensure that employees think and act beyond their goal sheets and appraisals and create a positive atmosphere within the organization. Ends are always going to be important but means too are important. Hence, what is required is the magic of employee recognition that should permeate through the entire organization between one appraisal cycle and the other.

HiFives Team

 

 

 

Why do employee rewards and recognition programs fail?

Employee rewards and recognition programs in organizations are generally launched with a great deal of fanfare with top-level executive involvement. These programs are envisioned to transform the organizational culture and are supposed to do wonders for employee motivation. The key metrics of the program find their place in executive dashboards and reviews for the first few months.

However, not all employee rewards and recognition programs are able to sustain the same momentum after launch and over a period of time the tempo fizzles out. There are many reasons as to why it might happen; in this article, we take a look at a few possible reasons:

  1. Lack of executive sponsorship

Leadership involvement reduces over time and employee rewards and recognition end up as one of the many HR initiatives. Leaders tend to shift focus on to other strategic and tactical imperatives and lose interest in the program as it becomes largely operational. Organizations that have strong operations and people focus tend to fare better than others as employee rewards and recognition related key metrics remain an integral part of all internal reviews.

  1. Lack of line manager involvement

Line managers hold the key to a successful implementation of employee rewards and recognition programs. However, if they are not involved during the design and planning of the program, they are likely to perceive this as yet another management initiative. This cynicism percolates to their team members and eventually to the entire organization. The objective of employee rewards and recognition program is to create a culture of appreciation and recognition, and managers are the key components of this. Hence, managers should be involved in the program at the planning and rollout stage and the success of the program should be incorporated in their KRAs.

  1. Lack of ground-level interest

Employees might lose interest in the program over time due to the lack of interest from the leadership and diminishing importance or visibility of the program.  Or it could be due to disconnect with the program objectives or the messed-up implementation from the very inception. If the program was conceived as a management or HR initiative without taking proper inputs to form the employees or the line managers, then it is likely that the entire program might fall flat on its face like many other such initiatives once the initial enthusiasm wears off. Hence, employee rewards and recognition programs should be planned only after a dipstick with the employees.

  1. The process is too cumbersome

Implementation challenges might also derail the success of employee rewards and recognition programs. For example, making the process very cumbersome with too many criteria and variables might make it difficult for managers to reward and recognize the employees. An operations heavy process will deter them from going ahead and participating in the program. This holds true for employees as well. If the process of getting rewarded and recognized is too cumbersome, employees might not want to be a part of it. Hence, it is critical that the process is kept simple and intuitive; digitizing and automating it might be the icing on the cake.

  1. Program is frozen in time  

Employee rewards and recognition programs designed once upon a time might lose its relevance over time unless the program evolves with the changing requirements of the organization and the workforce. Organization priorities might change over time as it grows and as the business environment changes. For example, achievements related to revenue generation might hold maximum importance when the organization is in the growth phase. Over time as the growth slows down and organization matures, there might be an increased focus on cost-saving initiatives. Also, the changing profile of the workforce might impact the expectations of the employee rewards and recognition program. Younger and more tech-savvy employees or an increasing percentage of women employees entering the workforce would definitely place different demands from the program. Increasingly, peer recognition and self-nomination are becoming mainstream in most employee rewards and recognition programs. It is no longer the exclusivity of managers to recognize employees but be a part of a broader organization culture of appreciation. The leadership and HR should act as catalysts for the program giving it the required importance and visibility in all possible forums. They should invest in tools that digitize, automate and streamline employee rewards and recognition programs and ensure that there are no operational hurdles in the smooth running of the program.

 These are just a few of the top reasons why employee rewards and recognition in an organization might fail. Leaders and HR must avoid these pitfalls to keep the programs alive and kicking, to keep employees motivate and productive at the workplace. And honestly, this is hardly rocket science. What employee rewards and recognition program really needs is continuous support from the leadership and effort from the HR to keep the program alive and in tune with the needs of the employees at every level. The phrase “Change is the only constant” applies to employee rewards and recognition programs as well as they need to evolve and adapt to the changing organizational priorities, work practices, and employee preferences.

by HiFives