Employee rewards and recognition is one key areas in HR that remains a laggard when it comes to the adoption of modern processes and use of technology. Traditional rewards practices are not only cumbersome to administer, but they also do very little in terms of employee engagement. Especially given that 60-80% of the workforce in most organizations is under 35 and is well exposed to online shopping, social media and mobile apps.
Following are actual instances of traditional rewards practices deployed in organizations – the chances are that these might be out of sync with the needs and aspirations of the workforce:
- One organization rewards its employees shopping vouchers – managers who want to reward their team members fill out request forms and send them to the admin team which consolidates such requests and forwards it to the procurement team. The procurement team in turn forwards the order to the vendor who supplies the vouchers. The vouchers are then inwarded by the facilities team and distributed to the employees through their managers. For employees in other locations, the vouchers are couriered.
- A third organization has built an in-house R&R tool to reward points to employees and redeem them online. However, the redemption catalogue has only a dozen products – bags, sippers, coffee mugs, etc., all branded with the company logo. Redemption orders are consolidated every week and forwarded to a vendor who customizes these items and delivers them to the office once a month. The facilities helpdesk then distributes the items to the employees.
- Another one runs an employee birthday program in which the employee gets an e-card and a shopping voucher. One of the members of the HR team religiously mails out the birthday e-cards every day based on a schedule. The concerned employees are expected to collect their shopping vouchers from the facilities helpdesk. If the employee fails to collect the voucher within a month, a reminder email is sent out.
- Another organization gives out engraved pens to its employees on their service anniversaries – $50 pen for completing 5 years, $100 for 10 years, $150 for 15 years and so on.
- A fifth one procures electronics and household appliances such as LCDs, home theaters, washing machines and refrigerators as part of its rewards program. The choice of brand and model is decided by the organization. The employee is left with the onerous task of transporting the product home.
What’s common to all of the above practices?
- They offer little or no choice to the employees
- There are extensive delays in getting the products to the employees
- The overall employee experience is hardly smooth
- Administration, logistics and distribution consumes significant organization bandwidth (read costs)
If your organization has similar rewards practices, you need to think twice!