Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organization Culture

Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organization Culture

Much has been said and written about the significant role played by employee recognition in enhancing the engagement and retention of a business workforce. In fact, many experts are of the opinion that a majority of professionals across various organizational levels consider being appreciated at the workplace to be more important than receiving additional monetary benefits. As a result, organizations today are paying much attention to the development and implementation of efficient employee rewards and recognition programs. Integrating these programs with the company culture can further add value to the benefits that organizations expect to reap from them, which can result in enhanced business success.

Need to Integrate Employee Recognition with Company Culture

It is an accepted fact that both employee recognition and company culture help in maximizing performance and minimizing employee turnover. However, the idea of integrating the two for enhancing business growth is relatively new. Implementing this concept can offer multiple other benefits, in addition to those mentioned above. It can help develop a positive work environment where professionals can enjoy working. It will also promote the sense of self-motivation and commitment towards the organization within the workforce. Most importantly, it will help to build an organizational culture where performance is valued and appreciated and naturally attract top talent.

Tips to Integrate Employee Recognition with Company Culture

Building a work culture based on employee recognition is requires constant effort and dedication, especially by the managers, supervisors and team leaders. They can use the below-discussed tips to make employee recognition an integral part of the company work culture. The following tips can prove helpful for them in this context.

Develop the habit of On-Spot Appreciation

Managers and supervisors need to develop a habit of thanking employees every time they see them going above and beyond their call of duty. They need to assure the employees that their efforts are not going unnoticed and make them feel appreciated for the same. Managers need to steer clear of the mindset that employees must be aware of the fact that what they are doing is good and being valued. However, the mere acknowledgment of this fact by their superiors can go a long way in reinforcing their confidence and keeping them motivated.

Make Special Occasions extra special with personalized gifts

A majority of companies present gifts to their employees on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. The management can make these occasions extra special for the employees by presenting them with personalized gift items. Such initiatives reflect a sense of understanding and care for employees by the management. This can prove to be an extremely useful tool to motivate and win over entry-level employees trying to get a hang of things around them.

Take time to listen to the Ideas and Opinions of Employees

One way of appreciating employees on a day to day basis in order to develop a recognition based work culture is to listen to what employees have to say. The team leaders and managers should take time out to learn about any new ideas that their team members might have to enhance business growth. In addition, they should listen to their views and opinions rather than risk their sharing the same across social media channels. Even if the ideas or opinions expressed by the employees are not acceptable, they should be thanked for the same.

Empower the employees

Handing over a little additional responsibility to the employees makes them feel trusted. However, these additional responsibilities should not make the employees feel overburdened with work as in that case the employees will feel demotivated and dejected. Making the employees responsible for taking key decisions with regard to the company can help to empower them and build their confidence. In fact, many professionals view such additional responsibility as a form of employee recognition and feel motivated by it.

Maintain High Levels of Transparency

One of the most important aspects of building a work culture that is integrated with employee recognition is to maintain optimal transparency in everyday working. Managers need to be open and honest with their team members and keep them updated about any new developments in the company. This helps in building trust between the employees and the managers and also assures them of being an integral part of the organization.

Promote Habits of Relaxation

Many times managers might sense a slowdown in their teams. Rather than ignoring this as something that will pass with time, managers should motivate their team members to take a break and relax. They may even take the initiative of inviting the entire team to enjoy a cup of coffee or to take a stroll outside the four walls of the office. This helps the employees feel relaxed and also indicates to them that their hard work is being noticed.

Most organizations aim to turn into one where people will stick by even during the worst times. One way of achieving this objective is by integrating employee recognition with the organization culture.

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

Reward Employees for going Social

Typically when candidates consider a job position, they compare the compensation and benefit packages of various employers. You don’t have to be a very large business to offer admirable rewards, as there are small innovations that can make a big difference. The key to great rewards is to make them stimulating while maintaining the brand. Today, social media is becoming an increasingly significant tool for employees to work together with one another. Also, individual social profiles many times often work as advertisements for the company, displaying what its team members have on offer for potential customers.

It helps to encourage your employees to engage more positively on social networks by way of training, tangible rewards and gamification. Employees can collaborate with each other while showing outsiders the kind of innovation that is taking place inside the company walls. Most of the employees use LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks for business and personal purposes. Employees can develop their personal as well as the company brand by crafting a Pinterest profile or attracting a large Twitter following. Rewards and incentives can help incentivize employees to engage more on social media and collaborate through different networks. With enhanced engagement, companies can create a happier workforce.

-by HiFives

What’s the best form of employee rewards?

Employee rewards in modern day organizations has been evolving over the years – it has become more of an art than a science. Gone are those days where employees were happy receiving trophies and consumer durables.

Organizations have tried everything from trophies, company branded merchandize, durables, electronics, holiday packages, gift vouchers and even cash.  Many organizations have used training programs and conferences to motivate their high performing employees. A few of these methods have worked, most of them haven’t. What does it mean for organizations? Should they stop experimenting and continue with what they are doing? What is the best method of rewarding employees?

As you might have guessed by now, that there is no single right answer to this question! The answer is ‘it depends’. It depends on a whole host of factors ranging from the industry type to employee seniority level right down to individual employee preferences. Given the complexity of the situation, organizations are faced with the daunting task of choosing the type of reward to give their employees.

However, a couple of options seem to make sense more than others. Rather than deciding on what the employees would want, it would seem better to leave the choice to the employees themselves. Given this, cash, digital currency or popular gift vouchers would make the cut. Employees could use these rewards to purchase that they would want to rather than being locked down to the choices of the HR/ management team. These work out far better than the traditional company branded merchandize or consumer durables.

How do intangible rewards work out? It’s definitely a good idea given the overuse of the other kinds of rewards. Coffee with the CEO, Dinner with the Director, Conferences and Training programs are few of the ideas that be utilized by organizations that do not prefer monetary rewards.  In fact, we believe these types of rewards could actually get into mainstream going forward. Coupled the social recognition from colleagues, employees would find these rewards more meaningful than others.

HiFives Employee Rewards and Recognition

How important is recognition for employee engagement?

To answer this question, let’s pose another question! What is employee engagement in the first place?

Very broadly, employee engagement is the art and science of making employees feel good – about themselves, about the organization, about working in the organization and about working with each other. This ‘feel good factor’ can be achieved through tangible and intangible means.

In today’s day and age, social recognition plays an important role in what makes us feel good. People are thirsting for likes and comments on social media like Facebook, Instagram, etc. In a similar way, employees value social recognition of their achievements at the workplace. For confidentiality and data privacy reasons, the reach of these recognition platforms might be restricted to within the four walls of the organization.

Monetary rewards can play can be an additional factor on top of the social recognition.  Even non-monetary benefits like conferences, training programs and direct interactions with the top brass might do equally well if not better!  All adds up to the ‘feel good factor’ of employee engagement.

The most critical aspect of recognition is spontaneity, appreciation as something good happens. Could be a casual pat on the back or a round of applause at team meeting – it all makes a difference, provided it’s timely. Obviously, the quantum or the perceived value of the awards needs to be calibrated with the level of achievement for it to make sense.

All said and done, recognition plays an integral part of employee engagement not matter how it is executed. At the end of day, happy employee is what matters most whether is a pat on the back, a trophy, a shopping voucher or a trip to the Bahamas!

HiFives Employee Rewards and Recognition

Can Rewards and Recognition drive a culture change in the organization?

The short and sweet answer to this question is an absolute yes! Provided the desired behaviors that should be a part of the organizational culture are mapped correctly and rewards and recognition is used to reinforce them.

Let’s take an example – as an organization if you want to create a culture of honesty and hard work, you might want to formally recognize employees who had the option of not being fully honest in the course of their work by taking the easy way out but decided to stay on the right path even if that meant putting in a lot more effort and maybe even a slight delay in achieving their goals.

Another example could be of an organization which wants to discourage employees from staying in office till late either because they are inefficient or they want to impress their superiors. If the organization recognizes employees who are genuinely efficient – they complete their work on time and leave office on time consistently. While it might be hard to rank and stack employees based on their efficiency, there could be a self-nomination process and the claims of the nominees could be easily validated based on feedback from their managers and the attendance system data.

In fact, our view is that rewards and recognition can play a pivotal role in initiating a change in the organization culture.  It is really basic human nature to gravitate towards behaviors than give them the maximum benefits.  Organizations should include behavior or value based recognition in their employee programs in addition to the general outcome based recognition – that’s our recommendation.

HiFives Employee Rewards and Recognition

Automated Performance Assessment –The Rise of the Machines

April 20, 2018: It’s the Judgement Day today in Sparrow Solutions today – the annual appraisal ratings will be released in the organization today. For most employees, it’s the day when their efforts throughout the year will be recognized and eventually be rewarded through increments, bonuses, and promotions. A few employees fear the worst that they might be asked to leave due to under-performance. Every year the bottom 10% of employees is asked to leave the organization due to poor performance. It’s a tough call but it has to be done. But one wonders why should the organization wait for a whole year to figure that someone is under-performing and corrective action needs to be taken? On the other hand, an employee who is an overachiever needs to wait until the end of the year to be rewarded and given the next level of challenges.

The other big flaw in the system today is that the qualitative assessment of performance leaves a lot of room for biases to creep in. Plus, in most organizations, the HR team and the people managers spend an inordinate amount of time in discussing and debating about the performance ratings. Add to that the time spent in collating and presenting the data. All of this hampers productivity and delays actual action.

In all organizations, there is a big push towards making data-driven decisions even in people matters. The big data approach to performance appraisals could increase efficiency, cut down on the manual effort, reduce bias and the cycle time of performance appraisals. We should be looking at continuous performance assessment and corrective actions.

As employees work in the organization, they leave a trail of data in their everyday work tools be it Project Management System, CRM, ERP, Time and Attendance System, etc. Automated performance management systems of the future will monitor employee performance on a continuous basis, based on the data derived from these systems. These systems will score the employee’s performance based on various parameters linked to business results and suggest corrective actions or even initiate actions itself. Actions could range from playing a motivational video, recommending a training course, connecting with an internal subject matter expert on chat to even recommending a change in job profile of the employee.

The biggest advantage of such systems would be the continuous assessment of employee performance. Corrective actions can be taken immediately, so no need to wait until the appraisal cycle. Be it training, reskilling, role enhancement (read as a promotion) or role change – can be initiated immediately. The system will have predefined thresholds for each action. The system will learn from past experiences of such interventions and their effectiveness, and tweak its algorithm for more effective interventions. The system can also keep track of employee motivation and take corrective action before it starts affecting productivity.

In today’s business environment, every second count. And keeping pace with the business changes is the need of the hour. Hence, such performance measurement and development systems can make employees and organizations more responsive to chances. It will result in higher productivity, greater business impact and higher employee satisfaction. The amount of time spent by the management and HR in the formal appraisal process can be cut down drastically further increasing productivity. Think of start-ups and small companies that are growing rapidly, which need to be extremely responsive to the business environment. But at the same time, they will always be short on HR resources to manage their people and performance. The other advantage is that these systems remove supervisor bias and errors.

While it might take some time before the system can speak out ‘you are promoted’ or ‘you are terminated’ but we are definitely going to see more intelligent learning systems for employee performance management very soon.

 

HiFives Employee Rewards and Recognition

Peer Recognition – putting it all together

With the increasing influence of social media in our lives, it has become imperative that corporates give more than a lip service to peer recognition. The earliest form of peer-to –peer recognition is the ‘Thank You’ note that a colleague can pin on to your dashboard. In the digital world, the ‘Thank You’ notes have been replaced by ‘Thank You’ e-Cards.
Peer-to-peer recognition, also known as 360 degree recognition was thought of as a harmless and costless way of motivating employees, till a few progressive organizations started taking this to the next level. They started inviting nominations for awards from peers, not just managers. Practically, anyone in the organization could nominate anyone. However, this started leading to malpractices of ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ or gaming the system. This is precisely the number one reason why most organizations have stayed away from any serious peer-to-peer recognition keeping in mind the philosophy ‘the manager knows best’. Again, a few progressive organizations have taken the lead to bring in manager or HR moderation to remove any such bias. Smart recognition systems might have built-in rules to detect and prevent such ‘games’ and ‘biases’.
Peer recognition or peer based recognition is here to stay because in today’s corporate world, employees work with their colleagues in their own teams or across different teams much more than they work with their own reporting managers. In many cases, employee might work out of remote locations such as client sites or the field. They might not even meet or interact with their managers on a regular basis. So, peers are most often the best source of getting feedback about the employee’s performance on the job and to recognize the same!

 

HiFives Employee Rewards and Recognition

Should organizations celebrate employees’ personal milestones?

Mumbai, 3:30pm, an ad agency office: In the large conference room, there is a party going on! Music, snacks, beverages, flowers and a cake! Is it someone’s birthday today? No! It’s Smita’s wedding anniversary! So her team, the HR and her boss are celebrating the occasion. The HR dials Aloke, Smita’s husband and switches on the speaker phone as Smita cuts the cake and her colleagues cheer and clap.
Switch over to Aloke’s office, a multi-national bank. All work and no play! A few colleagues who follow him on social media wished him in the morning but nothing as such happened officially. No party, no celebrations! Just like any other day at office for Aloke.

The question is whether organizations should celebrate employee’s personal milestones? If so, how far should they go? Employee’s birthday, marriage, new born,
wedding anniversary, spouse’s birthday, children’s birthdays? What else?

The simple answer is yes! If it makes the employees happy and does not cost a whole lot to the organization, then it makes absolute sense to do it! It could be a simple group mail, a post on the intranet or official social media, a small inexpensive gift or even a small party. Organizations might want to incorporate these in their employee welfare policies and budgets. HR and Managers might do well to proactively implement the policies. Even without an explicit policy, they can take the initiative to acknowledge such occasions, be it a simple bouquet and card. Such initiatives can go a long way in deepening the bond with the organization and build better bonding within the team. Today when there is so much digitization and automation, a little personal touch is really helpful in improving employee motivation.

HiFives Employee Rewards and Recognition

Should organizations reward employees for their achievements outside?

Amit works for a leading multinational in Mumbai. He is a big running enthusiast. He runs races in different cities across India and the world. Recently, he successfully completed the Kenyan Ultra Marathon. He posted the pics on Facebook and Instagram, and his friends started liking and commenting on the posts. Several of his office colleagues, who follow him on social media walked up to him and congratulated him. It felt very good!
Amit’s friend Shekhar works in a start-up in Bangalore. He is also a fitness enthusiast but not as big as Amit. Somehow Amit had convinced him to join him for the Kenyan Ultra Marathon. Due to his fitness levels, he did manage to finish the race but he had severe cramps and dehydration after it. The day he re-joined office, he received a hero’s welcome – there was a flash mob, bouquets and gifts from the management; the CEO himself came and congratulated him, the HR invited him to give the entire team a pep talk about fitness which was webcast across the other locations and the video was added to the company intranet. Shekhar was overwhelmed. He started a running club along with his colleagues and employees of other organizations around his office also joined in. Amit flies down once a month to Bangalore to coach the club members. They travel across the country to participate in running events.
So, what are we saying here? Should organizations celebrate achievements of employees outside of them? Does it make sense? If so, where should one draw the line?
If one were to jot down the broad categories of external achievements possible, one can come up with a list like this:
• Scholastic achievements like getting a degree or certification
• Sports achievements like winning or participating in a major sporting event
• Artistic achievements like winning a talent hunt or performing in an event
• Social achievements such doing a project for a social cause
• Personal achievements such as getting engaged or married or spouse or children achieving something important
Our view is that as a best practice an organization irrespective of its size or origin should make some attempts to recognize employee achievement outside of its boundaries, even if monetary reward is not possible. Even an email, a mention on the intranet or a newsletter or during a floor meeting might work!
Most organizations might not have explicit policies on this, so it is up to the HR and line management to take the initiative on the same. Yes, there are qualitative calls that they need to take on the level of achievement but it’s not that big a deal. Bottom-line: its worth doing something which makes employee s feel happy and motivated and doesn’t cost the organization a bomb!

HiFives Employee Rewards and Recognition