Companies

A more rewarding time for employees

Chitra Narayanan New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 03, 2016

Now, organisations are consolidating rewards budgets and actually earmarking sums   -  Shutterstock.com

How companies are acknowledging good work in the era of ‘instant gratification’

The spirit of ‘instant gratification’ is increasingly beginning to apply to workplace rewards programmes for high achievers, and companies are coming up with innovative ways to keep their sterling performers sufficiently gratified — and to let them know their good work is well-appreciated.

For instance, Rewardian, a rewards-and-recognitions company that offers SaaS platforms for companies, has designed a programme for Love’s Travel Stops, a $26-billion privately owned US chain of fuelling stations, in which its 15,000 employees get on-the-spot recognition for a task.

Just as loyal shoppers redeem ‘rewards points’ for gifts of their choice, high achievers in a company can gather ‘rewards’ points and redeem these against products or experiences they want

Andrew Mitchell, CEO of Rewardian, explains how it works: “A manager is watching his team member interact with a customer and doing a great job. The tech platform enables him to quickly feed in 50 points to his team member along with a message: ‘Hey, great handling of customer’, thereby giving both feedback as well as reward instantly.”

The tech platform, says Mitchell, also allows Love’s Travel Stops to analyse what its employees are redeeming with their rewards points, and allows them to further refine the gifts mix.

According to Zubin Zack, Chief Recognition Strategist, OC Tanner, a global rewards-and-recognition consultant that has 8,000 clients globally and 70 in India, “An increasing number of Indian companies are now getting ready for personalisation of rewards.”

Giving more

Rewards programmes of most companies are usually less than 1 per cent of their payroll budget. “I would say that even 1 per cent is a great budget. Right now, it’s hovering around 0.6 per cent of payroll,” says Zack. But the good news, he says, is that budgets are edging up. More important, says Zack: “A mass of Indian companies are now beginning to say: let’s standardise, automate and use a tech platform.”

Till now, rewards were disbursed in a disorganised way — with each geography or branch office doing its own thing. Now, organisations are consolidating rewards budgets and actually earmarking sums.

Stickiness is usually rewarded. Most companies make a big deal of employee work anniversaries. But today, recognition events are getting personalised.

“Rather than one day of the month when all employees are clubbed together, companies are making it special for each employee, getting their families involved too,” says Zack.

Gamification

Companies with a lot of millennial workforce, however, recognise that the younger generation is geared towards experiences rather than lifelong jobs, so they are choosing to reward behaviours and achievement. “Excellence in customer service, integrity and other values that echo the company culture are often rewarded,” says Zack. Software companies often reward productivity and collaboration. Many are now rewarding innovation.

Glenn Dittrich, Director, Smarter Workforce, IBM Asia Pacific, describes how the Big Blue gamified rewards with a programme called Cognitive Build. “We asked all employees to come up with an idea and build something with Watson (a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data). We gave each employee 2,000 points before they started out.”

The entire global workforce had to create a video of their idea, run a marketing campaign, get crowfunding by asking other employees to donate their points and invest in the idea. When the eventual winners were declared, the IBM management substituted the points used for the game with real dollars, and the winners were asked to pursue their idea. “So these guys now have a new job to go build their dream. What better reward and recognition than this!” says Dittrich.

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Published on October 03, 2016
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