Showing appreciation to our employees by rewarding and recognizing them for their contributions is an area that more and more companies are focusing on, seeing the value to their people and to their business. The industry itself has changed drastically over the years as we learn more about how best to deliver meaningful reward and recognition moments, and as we leverage technology to help us do so.
And never before has reward and recognition been so important, as it helps our workforce not only feel appreciated for all they are overcoming during these challenging times to support one another and the business, but as a way to be seen in an often disconnected and remote world. Reward Gateway has seen this in its own client base, with a 104% increase in eCards sent throughout the pandemic - just short of 1 million moments of peer-to-peer recognition. What’s more, they’ve also seen a 106% increase in awards sent, with more than 1.5 million awards sent around the world to put smiles on people’s faces throughout the toughest of times!
Here are six ways technology can support and drive reward and recognition:
1. Creates a strong reward and recognition brand
As we all know, recognition doesn’t just happen on its own. We need our workforce to engage with it, using the recognition tools to deliver these important recognition moments. And for this reason, we need to make recognition programs interesting and attractive to our employees, bringing them into them over and over again.
Technology has helped us in this area, letting us create strong brands to create interest and engagement with our recognition programs. From Charles Tyrwhitt’s "3 Cheers for The Tyrwhitters" to Orbit’s "STARs in Orbit" and Heineken’s "BREWards," companies are creating a go-to destination through branding to draw in their audience and truly drive recognition.
2. Delivers reward and recognition in a more timely way
Recognition, especially in these challenging times, needs to happen "in the moment" for it to be effective. Employees cannot (and should not) wait weeks or months to feel appreciated, they want (and need) it when it happens or risk losing the impact it delivers.
Technology has helped us greatly in this area, making it almost immediate to send and receive reward and recognition from wherever our employees are, whether that’s on a laptop computer in their home office, or on a mobile phone while they’re out and about. Whether it’s an eCard from a colleague or a reward voucher from their manager, through tools such as Reward Gateway’s Connect+ employee engagement app, employees can send and receive eCards on the fly and see their fellow peer nominations in one unified feed.
3. Delivers an end-to-end reward experience
Receiving a recognition award can be a wonderful experience for your employee as long as it is a seamless and impactful end-to-end experience. This means making sure that the rewards are meaningful to each employee, e.g. something for everyone, and that the rewards can easily and quickly be redeemed.
Technology has also served invaluable in this area, with employee reward redemption tools such as Reward Gateway’s Reward Marketplace offering an extensive range and categories of rewards, doing so in a streamlined, easy-to-use hub. In addition, it provides flexibility to companies to provide the experience that’s right for them with one-of-a-kind company offerings.
4. Brings reward and recognition programs together
One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen over the years with recognition is employees not understanding which program to use based on the circumstances. And when they get it wrong, it can dilute the meaning and impact of a program, sending the wrong message to the recipient and to others.
For instance, if you have a tiered reward and recognition strategy that includes different levels of programs such as nominations, peer-to-peer, manager-led and custom rewards, it can get confusing unless you have clear direction on what’s what and the ability to navigate from one program to the other, depending on your need.
Technology allows us to bring our programs together on one platform so that employees can easily see what the different reward and recognition programs are, how they differ, and how to select the best one, frequently described through a FAQ. By bringing them together, the right program is used in the right way to create the right impact.
5. Creates social engagement moments
Social media has become a part of our lives, giving us the power to connect, voice an opinion, and dial into what is happening with our friends, family and colleagues.
And when it comes to recognition, more and more companies are seeing and using this as an integral part of their recognition strategy. Through the use of technology, employees can recognize others in the same way they do in their personal life through social media, with others being able to jump into the social recognition conversation with likes, hearts and countless other emojis. This not only multiplies the impact to the recipient, but it connects the workforce and showcases what good looks like to others.
6. Can deal quickly with important reward and recognition moments and challenges
And finally, in a world where things are changing daily, where our workforce is facing different challenges than ever before, we need to be able to quickly and easily adapt our recognition programs to address them.
Technology has helped us pivot and adapt reward and recognition programs quickly and easily, focusing on what really matters. An example is in how companies have changed their recognition eCards, changing the messages to reflect how colleagues want and need to thank one another for their support in these challenging times. This makes sure that companies provide the right eCards, and then lets employees choose the ones that are right for each situation, such as:
Another example is companies adding special reward programs such as "Unsung Heroes," rewarding those that have gone out of their way to make a difference internally or externally.
As you review and update your reward and recognition programs for 2021, let me suggest that you check them against the six points made in this blog, using them to ensure your programs leverage technology to help your people feel appreciated and your business deliver on your objectives.