Today most companies are operating multi-location, multi-country business operations – with this comes the challenge of managing employee engagement across locations. Hence, rewards and recognition programs being a critical part of employee engagement need to be designed and rolled out globally.
Designing and running a global R&R program has its own set of challenges. Firstly, purchasing power differences across countries need to be factored into the rewards budgets – rather than having a uniform budget. Using an index such as purchasing power parity (PPP) to calibrate the budgets might actually help. Global rewards platforms need to be designed to take care of this.
Second and probably the most crucial element is factoring in the cultural differences between various regions in the selection of rewards. Hence, redemption and fulfilment needs to be localized as much as possible. Employees can opt for rewards that suit their culture and preferences. Also, the pricing of products might differ widely between regions even for standard branded products. Hence global rewards platforms need to be able to seamlessly handle redemption of rewards across locations.
Take a look at these 5 scenarios
1. Tim gets the Star of the Month award for his ‘immense overall contribution’ to the business.
2. Each employee is handed a box of chocolates after completing their certification program.
3. Hari receives a shopping voucher for INR 1000 for successfully completing his six sigma project that will save the organization several million dollars in the years to come.
4. “I would like to recognize the efforts of all team members; Nancy, Bill, Shailesh, Peter and everyone else”
5. Henry gets his Pillar of the Organization trophy 6 months after his 10th work anniversary.
Do they sound familiar? What’s wrong? They are definitely not best practices for employee rewards and recognition!
Rewards and Recognition need to be SMART:
1. Specific – A specific behavior, performance or outcome needs to be rewarded and not simply ‘immense overall contribution’
2. Memorable – Something the employee appreciates and recalls for a long time (box of chocolates, anyone?).
3. Appropriate – Value (monetary or emotional) of the reward should be commensurate with the importance of the behavior being rewarded (INR 1000 for multi-million dollar impact?).
4. Real – A genuine appreciation of the work done and not just a nicety, quickly forgotten (everyone else?)
5. Timely – As little delay as possible between the event being rewarded and the reward itself (6 months?).
5 simple principles that can make reward programs more effective in any organization!
For a really long time, it was believed that employees would really appreciate merchandize with company branding as rewards as these would actually help reinforce the company brand. So organizations would order truckloads of bags, coffee mugs, pens, T-shirts and other such items with company logo and use them liberally in R&R programs. They would also create a company brand store often with an online avatar where employees could order such products often with their rewards points and sometimes with cash or credit cards.
Sadly, the novelty of such programs have already worn out for most employees (sometimes it lasts only for a few weeks after joining, when the new recruits would like to flaunt their company logo merchandize to their peers in other companies). The younger crop of employees tend to prefer trendier products as rewards – gadgets, fashion accessories, holiday packages, shopping vouchers, etc. – in general the freedom to choose. They tend to get bored with the same stuff recycled each time and the concept of forced loyalty to a brand, doesn’t matter if it is their employer’s. The older generation prefer products with utility – applicances, consumer electronics, kitchen and dining products, toys, home decor, etc. In case, the reward amount is large they actually don’t mind getting it in cash.
All in all, the era of company logo merchandize seems to be well and truly over especially when it comes to rewards and recognition!
Gamification is the new buzzword that is doing the rounds of corporate corridors these days. Simply put, gamification is all about creating a game-like situation in a non-game environment, be it work, education or retail.
The percentage of Gen Z in the workforce is on the rise – a generation brought up on a heavy diet of computers, internet, mobile phones, social media and gaming. Not surprisingly, keeping them motivated in the workplace is a challenge that all organizations are increasingly facing.
That’s where gamification comes to the rescue – if play is serious work for them, why not make work a kind of play? Organizations have started exploring the concept of gamification of work – typically to pep up relatively uninteresting and repetitive tasks and to create an environment of fun, excitement, competition and team work, while achieving work-related goals.
Sales and collections contests are nothing new – they are typical examples of work gamification. Current trends in work gamification involves use of themes (film, animation, fantasy, etc.), scores (points, coins, etc.), badges, rewards and leaderboards. Gamification can be used in various processes including customer service, operations, projects, compliance, finance, etc. to infuse new excitement at work leading to better achievement of goals.
Now, no one can say that all work and no play makes Jack (or anyone else) a dull boy!