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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 flip side 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!