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Rewards and Recognition

Using Nudges to Boost RnR Platform Adoption

Nudges are ways to rearrange one’s environment to encourage a particular response. According to the revolutionary founders of the Nudge theory, a ‘choice architecture’ can influence us to pick a better choice for ourselves, thereby forming healthy habits. We already know through behavioral science that humans are primarily emotional beings and often make irrational decisions based on their subconscious mind. Decision-making is a tedious process, right from what to eat to which email to respond to. Therefore, to ensure our survival, our brains have developed ‘instinctive shortcuts’ to help us take micro-decisions faster. In other words, if there’s an easier way to do something, our first instinct will be to take that easier path. An effective way of creating these shortcuts to boost favorable choices using external circumstances is through nudges.

Nudges leverage innate human biases and drives to inspire action without curtailing one’s free will. Hence, they can be extremely useful in promoting the adoption of a new rewards and recognition platform, resulting in a win-win situation for the employee and employer. Here are a few types of nudges that can be implemented to boost the adoption of an R&R software:

  • Goal-based Nudges

These can be designed in the form of a points-based reward system on an R&R platform, wherein those with the maximum points are featured on a virtual leaderboard. Such gamification elements help employees visualize their victory. Additionally, employees can be encouraged to collect reward points to redeem desirable gifts on the platform. Examples of goal-based nudge notifications-

You are just 50 points away from getting a Bluetooth speaker!

3 more recognitions and you will be 2nd on the leaderboard!

  • Behavioral Nudges

These can be in the form of earning digital badges, certificates or even points for either completing a pulse survey, giving recognition to a peer or participating in a company event. Notifications through multiple mediums such as email, SMS or even in-app notifications can go a long way in reminding employees to leverage the platform. Examples of behavioral nudge notifications-

We miss you! It’s been 3 days since you logged in.

Make your choices be heard by taking this quick survey!

  • Social Nudges

Social nudges are powerful in that they play on our need for social acceptance to drive behavior. Sharing employee recognition or platform usage statistics with employees through the company newsletter, for example, can be a good way to increase adoption. Public recognition and even contests through the company social wall can create a feeling of social prestige, thereby encouraging desirable behavior. Examples of social nudge notifications-

Earn a certificate to share with your proud family and friends today!

Show off your musical talent by entering the #SaReGaMa contest being held on Gratifi!

An intuitive, user-friendly platform goes a long way in creating favorable nudges, thereby boosting workplace culture, engagement, individual well-being, and growth. HR technology vendors who provide an open API architecture can help your R&R tool get integrated seamlessly with the organization’s HRMS, ERP, CRM or collaboration platforms to ensure the presence of appreciation across all forums. A seamless technology ecosystem helps employees use on-the-go recognition with little or no learning curve and develop positive behaviors, ultimately leading to organizational growth.

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Organizational Culture

How Positive Reinforcement leads to better collaboration in the workplace

Positive reinforcement, that is, offering a reward to encourage the repetition of a desired behavior, is now a popular practice in management. However, most organizations use it specifically in the context of monetary employee rewards for individual performance, overlooking the various ways in which it can be used to improve workplace culture and team connection. In this blog, we’ll explore how to use positive reinforcement for increased collaboration.

Collaboration encourages united vision. When members of a team know that they are working towards a common goal, it becomes easier for them to view teammates’ wins as their own. It also promotes productivity through cross learning, thereby clearing the path for growth. Collaboration ensures mutual employee appreciation and empathy by its’ very nature, thereby enriching work culture. To encourage a feeling of unity, an effective total rewards program can be implemented in an organization that focuses on celebrating teams as much as individuals. Here are some ways in which this can be accomplished:

Formal Recognition

  • Formal employee recognition is different from other rewards in that it carries prestige and honor but isn’t necessarily monetary in nature. It is precisely this difference that makes it conducive to team building. In an experiment conducted by professors from various business schools, it was discovered that performance improved for the whole team when the best performing member was recognized publicly. The experiment revealed that teams in which the formal recognition of the best employee was not conducted, the performance for the whole team decreased. This indicates that employee recognition programs need to be fairly and uniformly implemented throughout the organization to prevent inter-team animosity and divisiveness, while improving performance.

Group Awards

  • Positive reinforcement in the form of group experiences not only encourages favorable behavior but also boosts a sense of bonding in the team. For example, one of our clients recently awarded a top performing team with F&B gift cards to order a meal for Friday night dinner in today’s WFH environment. However, the management insisted that the team celebrate their success by eating on Zoom together. Such a personalized reward had a direct impact on team cohesion while leaving them vying for the next milestone.

Awarding Culture Champions

  • Most employee reward programs make the mistake of rewarding individual progress and expecting the winners to also be team players. Such discrepancies can be corrected by rewarding individuals for displaying team-oriented behavior. For example- organizations can track those who are giving recognition or positive feedback to others and create a reward category, just for them! This can be done more seamlessly using an employee recognition tool in today’s WFH environment.

A fair and holistic rewards system minimizes hostility among coworkers and turns competitors into allies working towards the top based on objective metrics. A digital award nominations system including self-nomination, group nomination and transparency in the approval workflow can also go a long way in promoting trust and a sense of healthy competition. Finally, the role of the leadership and managers remains ever important to facilitate positive reinforcement at every level of the organization.

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Organizational Culture

Using Positive Reinforcement to Boost Organizational Values

Positive reinforcement is a time-tested behavior modification technique that has been known to promote desirable behavior, especially among young adults and learners. It is based on the concept of operant conditioning in psychology- which dictates that behavior is influenced by the external consequences to one’s actions. In other words, rewards or punishments determine whether or not one is going to perform an action. This simple concept is the reason why children complete their homework, for example (to prevent a note from the teacher) or perform well in exams (to get a treat of their choice from parents). While the former is an example of negative reinforcement wherein an undesirable outcome was removed, the latter is that of positive reinforcement, wherein a desirable outcome followed an action.

Why Use Positive Reinforcement in the workplace?

As the name suggests, positive reinforcement is when an action is encouraged by means of a reward.  It can be effectively used as a method of employee motivation and has proven to be effective in promoting inspiration, creativity as well as developing lasting change in people. It also helps in boosting an individual’s self-esteem, thereby not just encouraging repetition but improvement. Most importantly, positive reinforcement has better outcomes for interpersonal relationships in the workplace, resulting in higher employee engagement and overall well-being.

Positive Reinforcement in Action

While its benefits have been known for a long time, workplaces have yet to realize the full potential of positive reinforcement. Following are some of the ways companies can start implementing it in their total rewards offerings:

  • Cultural Changes in Rewards

Managers have traditionally followed a conservative approach to employee appreciation, relying on cash compensation to keep employees motivated. However, the theory of operant conditioning states that instead of having a fixed schedule for reinforcement (eg-annual appraisal), it might be better to have a more spontaneous, random schedule for reinforcement or rewards. This will result in a faster response rate and form lasting habits among employees. Unlike fixed schedules, when responses slump after receiving a reward, in variable schedules, the energy remains at a high level throughout. Another factor improving response rate is reinforcement for a variety of positive actions, including adhering to the company’s value system. Thus, reward categories must be as comprehensive as possible to increase motivation levels among employees.

  • Quick, Relevant Options

Each employee has a unique take on what constitutes positive reinforcement. For example-, a cash commission would hold less value for a well-heeled senior executive than it would for a blue-collar employee. The degree of need determines the impact of the reward. This makes it necessary to customize employee rewards programs and offer freedom of choice when it comes to selecting one’s own reward. Besides, operant conditioning relies on creating a link between a positive action and reward. Therefore, the reward must be given immediately after a desirable action has been taken and should be commensurate to the employee’s efforts. This will help create a logical link between effort and result.

  • Variety of Rewards

Let’s go back to the example of children- if as a child, you received an ice-cream cone every time you did something good, an ice-cream would stop holding any value after the first few wins. Not to mention the money spent (and possible dental caries). Therefore, it would be better to plan a rewards structure that would ensure the reward retains its novelty and continues to motivate. An example would be to reserve various treats for certain milestones and using a pat on the back or a ‘Well Done’ for effort. In a similar way, it’s important to keep rewards relevant and interesting for your workforce. This can be done by mapping them to a points-based reward system that takes into account day-to-day behavior encouraging employees to work towards a certain number of points for reward redemption. Another way is to keep updating the reward catalog as per the changing demographics of the company, as is explained in another blog.

While behavioral psychology has advanced since the 20th century and it takes into account the role of intrinsic motivational factors, extrinsic motivation continues to hold a strong appeal on human psyche, motivating them to perform most actions. Moreover, external reinforcement that is positive and uplifting in nature helps bring out the best in your workforce and results in increased commitment and adherence to organizational values in the long term. Such reinforcement is best administered through a rewards and recognition platform that can help define, track and reward positive behavior.

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Rewards and Recognition

Why a One-Size-Fits-All Employee Rewards Program Won’t Work

In today’s times, our workforces are more diverse and distributed while the talent market is more competitive than ever before. An employee rewards program thus needs to be more dynamic and employee-centric if it hopes to meet the firm’s engagement and retention goals. Traditionally, HR and admin teams from businesses have made decisions on benefits packages, corporate gifts, performance incentives and the like. However, this approach is redundant for the following key reasons:

  • Multigenerational Workforce

From 2020 onwards, there are officially 5 generations that have been working together in the workplace. This statistic is mind-boggling. Different age groups naturally desire different rewards- for example; senior executives may be looking at household related items whereas employees in their early 20s may value virtual learning experiences more. Besides, Generation Z- the latest one to enter the workforce- not only demand rewards for their hard work but also want a say in the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of rewards.

  • Remote Workers and Gig Workers

Many employees are now working from home, which means they will value their employers looking out for their families, through virtual engagement activities for kids, for instance. Additionally, since gig workers are not included in the company’s benefits program, they will need to be given special rewards and incentives to keep them motivated.

  • Living in a hyper-personalized world

In a consumerist world full of personalized experiences, rewards need to tailored to an individual’s preference. Ideally, employees should be able to decide how they want to be recognized for their good work. Be it through a personal note or public recognition, through movie tickets or shopping vouchers- top firms across the globe already offer an extensive range of rewards and experiences that can be redeemed instantly.

HR digital tools like an employee rewards platform have come a long way in helping to create a robust rewards architecture. There are many benefits to adopting such a solution. Prominently, it reduces much of the administrative workload along with procurement and fulfillment costs, since R&R vendors typically offer end-mile reward deliveries. Small, frequent rewards, in fact, create a win-win situation- they’re inexpensive while being an easy to disburse option. Additionally, the burden of decision making shifts from the management to employees when the latter are offered a catalog of products to choose from. The best R&R platforms also offer data on employee reward preferences through intelligent reporting and direct pulse surveys. Such tools ensure that there is no guesswork or assumptions in play when deciding on what employees want.

The pandemic has furthered themes of compassion and empathy in the workplace, which has necessitated change in the overarching goal of employee rewards. Rather than being transactional or performance-based, total rewards need to be holistic in nature, reinforcing the need to be valued, appreciated and connected to the larger brand and purpose. Firms must leverage both monetary and non-monetary rewards to deliver a well-rounded employee experience. Further, interventions like mental health support, wellness seminars and upskilling are desirable rewards and must be a part of the modern firm’s rewards kitty. Finally, while it is established that no single perfect RnR program exists for every firm, it is important to continuously iterate your processes until the perfect balance is achieved. Till then, keep asking your employees for feedback and make them ambassadors for your firm’s engagement program!

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Employee Engagement

How to Use a Total Rewards Program to Increase Brand Loyalty

The demise of the traditional concept of loyalty has been in discussion ever since the CEO of Salesforce declared in 2017 that ‘loyalty is dead’. This popular refrain comes to mind yet again when one analyzes the increasing levels of employee dissatisfaction and attrition in the wake of the imminent ‘great resignation’ in the corporate world. Apparently, as the grip of the pandemic is beginning to ease, employees are willing to switch their job if it means enjoying a better work-life balance, benefits, career growth and overall wellness. The fatigue of the collective human tragedy and isolation seems to have taken its toll and top talent is no longer willing to compromise just to remain loyal to their employers.

HR has used multiple strategies to retain employees in the past, including monetary compensation and other benefits like healthcare reimbursement and travel allowance. While they have been and still are useful, they’re no longer enough to support a robust employee value proposition. What counts today is the overall experience of an organization- right from onboarding to off-boarding, everything speaks about an employer brand. In this way, employee retention is quite like customer retention, in that customers no longer purely rely on monetary points for loyalty but look at the overall experience with a brand.

Total rewards are a powerful way in which organizations can redefine loyalty and engage today’s hybrid workforce. While many organizations are declaring benefits like work-from-home or flexible working hours, we need to remember that a single employee benefit doesn’t make up for the whole employee experience. Cultural leaders and talent magnets need to ensure that the basics are taken care of. Trust, transparency, consistency and accountability- these are the factors that result in loyalty among stakeholders, be it customers or employees. In today’s workplaces, delivering a consistent employee experience can only be done using technology. Digitalization of total rewards is no longer an option if an organization hopes to overcome the barriers of distance and increase employee connect. Moreover, employee engagement software can also help contextualize company culture and create a tailored experience for a diverse workforce with varying needs. Below are some steps any organization can immediately take to increase their brand loyalty without burning their pockets:

  • Stay on top of engagement trends

 Whether you have focused discussions in person, on video or use an AI-based assessment tool to understand what employees want, it’s essential to view your brand experience from the employee lens. It’s easy to track dissatisfaction and get alerted for possible attrition through sources like performance data survey results and 360 feedback- all it takes is for organizations to gather scientific data rather than relying on guesswork

  • Rework the retention strategy

As many studies have already shown, there is a significant time lapse between the time an employee becomes disgruntled and when s/he actually resigns. While not all churn is bad- sometimes the employee is not a good fit or the organization can benefit from fresh talent and capabilities- the churn rate needs to be managed well so as to not toxify the company culture. A meaningful pat on the back, a surprise reward for learning a new skill or even a manager/team greeting on birthdays, work anniversaries, weddings, childbirths and other personal milestones are examples of creating ‘micro-moments of retention’.

  • Build as you go

Many organizations make the mistake of investing a sizable amount into rewards budgets without streamlining the process due to ensure fairness and maximum ROI. What can work better is to bring a technology solution onboard in the early stages, so that a vendor can offer best practices in the industry, flexible frameworks and minimize time spent on data aggregation.

At the end of the day, one can only feel loyal to an organization when the organization stays loyal to their own professional and personal growth journeys. A rewards and engagement platform is a simple tool to display your loyalty to an individual by appreciating their commitment on a regular basis and reminding them of their importance to your success.

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Rewards and Recognition

Engaging Off-roll Workers Effectively Through R&R programs

Off-roll employees form a major part of today’s workforce, be it offshore engineering teams, factory workers, agents, secondary sales channel partners or dealers and distributors. However, in recent years, it has become crucial to engage this cohort of employees owing to high attrition rates and the often challenging nature of work. In particular, industries like manufacturing, construction, automotive, logistics and pharmaceuticals are labor intensive and need their contractual workers to do the same type of monotonous labor day in and day out. While wages are an important factor for their job satisfaction, there are multiple other reasons they remain loyal to their employers like peer bonding, respect and recognition from management, non-cash benefits and professional development.

Engaging this part of the workforce has always been a challenge for organizations, as they are either contractual employees or located in the field/ separate manufacturing units. This blog talks about how digital R&R programs can be used to engage off-roll workers and create a unified employee engagement strategy which is easy to administer and track.

Multilingual Notifications-

One of the focal challenges of having a digital engagement programs for off-roll workers is their possible discomfort in using technology or complex applications. They need a simple tool in their local language for redeeming their rewards, responding to surveys or for peer-to-peer recognition. This can be addressed through multilingual notifications and in-app text. For increased usability, these notifications can also be sent to them directly via SMS or WhatsApp.

Kiosk Connect-

Owing to the high-pressure environment that off-roll workers often operate in, it becomes difficult to weave employee recognition in their day-to-day workflow. While supervisors play an important role in recognizing their subordinates here, the process can be simplified with the use of physical kiosks on factory floors. Recognitions can also be displayed publicly on the screens. Managers and peers can give kudos using just a few buttons, without investing much time. This allows digital recognition to happen seamlessly while creating a log of compliments for employees to cherish.

Specially curated Catalogs-

Having a points-based rewards system works great for off-roll workers, if they have something exciting to redeem those points for. R&R vendors can curate customized product catalogs catering to their preferences. For example- they might prefer cookware or home appliances over headphones or travel bags. These can be curated as per the company’s budget and branded with the company’s logo for added employer pride among the workforce.

Knowledge Base

Millennials, who now form a major part of the workforce, increasingly look at professional growth and skill building as important to their job. Having a common knowledge base which is digitally accessible 24×7 will assist in better sales, better job execution and facilitate cross-learning, which can accelerate performance and prepare off-roll workers for promotions or even on-roll hiring.

Contests-

Off-roll workers often don’t get recognized as their work may not be visible and tracking individual achievements may be a lengthy process involving offline calculations. With a rewards and recognition platform, it’s possible to get real-time performance results in a gamified manner, encouraging an atmosphere of excitement and fun while achieving targets.

Engaging off-roll workers involves a human approach to talent management and often a more sensitive one. HR team sitting out of the firm’s headquarters may not always experience the same challenges as this workforce and hence, employee listening is of increased importance. Digital R&R platforms can cut across these traditional barriers and help off-roll employees feel important and valued for their ever-important work.

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Employee Engagement Software

Digital Engagement Tools to Create a Collaborative Work Culture

Collaboration is a highly regarded virtue for business success, especially in today’s times when the very definition of working together has changed. There are no more shouts across cubicles, conference calls don’t involve a conference room and onboarding just means logging into multiple applications and tools. Having said so, collaboration tools are the fulcrum of modern work culture and help facilitate connection, establish transparency, boost productivity and enhance employee engagement. This blog talks about the importance of a connected culture and the role of digital engagement tools in bringing such a culture to life.

Transparency and Trust

An organization which hopes to optimize talent and improve business outcomes must do so in an atmosphere of trust and openness. This can be catalyzed at the leadership level, wherein important organizational updates as well as future plans are communicated to all employees in a timely and transparent way. Regular org-wide announcements via an employee experience hub will ensure connectedness among workers including field staff, remote workers and the contingent workforce. Hosting executive connect programs like conversations with the senior management will also boost collaborative spirit.

Feedback and Inclusion

Including employees in the decision-making process via pulse surveys and polls gives them the increased confidence of being heard and makes them trust that the organization has their best interests at heart. This is especially true for the Gen Z strata, as explained in our blog on the ‘Drive to Defend’. Besides, research has shown that collaboration is a prerequisite for innovation. Therefore, openly inviting 360 degree feedback can be beneficial for crucial breakthroughs and creative problem solving.

Accessibility and Ease-of-Use

Breaking down siloes and enabling free-flowing, two-way communication is an important component of a collaborative work culture. Having a common social wall for the entire company can help accomplish this, wherein the management and employees alike can share their views, with moderation from HR. Having virtual discussion forums for common interests can increase employee bonding, provide mentoring opportunities, and boost morale. Having such tools on a mobile-first platform and a multilingual interface can further increase accessibility.

Rewards and Recognition

A great way to actively promote collaboration is by using the rewards and recognition program to incentivize teamwork and cooperation. A 360-recognition system boosts a culture of appreciation, thus increasing team cohesiveness and collaboration as a result. In addition, celebrating achievements through public recognition and leaderboards can multiply its impact while making everyone a part of an individual employee’s success.

Virtual Group Events

Various forms of group activities like virtual team competitions and bingo nights can bring people together in unexpected, informal ways, boosting their creativity and the ability to work together towards a common goal. Getting advance notifications for birthdays, anniversaries and other personal milestones can give team members a chance to plan for a combined gift through the organization’s rewards platform. Alternatively, sharing ecards or emoji parades can also brighten up someone’s special day and enhance a sense of belonging.

A connected work culture is essential for companies to survive in a competitive landscape. While technology has become the mainstay of the virtual office experience, it can influence culture only if it has adequate executive support and is weaved into the everyday flow of work.

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Rewards and Recognition

Integrations for an Inclusive R&R Software

Ease-of-use is an important parameter for any modern digital R&R platform. Often, organizations fail to get a higher platform adoption score, purely because employees find it challenging to log into too many applications. Frontline workers and contractual/gig workers across industries are often deprived of the benefits of employee rewards and various digital engagement activities because of their lack of access to mature devices. The other issue being witnessed is a platform’s limitation to function as a standalone solution, rather than being present where employees spend most of their productive time. The only solution for this is to adopt a flexible employee engagement software which can seamlessly integrate with the existing technology ecosystem and offer a mobile-first solution approach. This blog talks about the types of integrations organizations can look for, to ensure an increased R&R platform adoption rate among their workforce:

HRIS Extensions

R&R software vendors who offer an Open API architecture allow for seamless exchange of data between the R&R platform and the HRIS/HRMS platform of an organization. Custom HRMS connectors enhance real-time data availability, R&R analytics, as well as various customizations. Moreover, significant manual efforts and time are saved with a real-time data integration as updates amongst the workforce are reflected immediately. If preferred, self-serve SFTP allows for data handshaking to take place manually, wherein the HR team can upload data via excel sheets on an ongoing basis.

Collaboration Extensions

Recently, this has been found to be the most popular type of integration desired by HR leaders when they are setting up their digital rewards program. It includes integrations with mail or chat apps like Outlook, MS Teams, Slack, Yammer and even WhatsApp. These extensions allow data/event exchange between the two systems, and allow employees to access R&R functionalities from another application seamlessly.

Single Sign On (SSO)

A single sign on functionality allows for employees to use their organization’s username and password to log into the R&R software. There are several types of SSO platforms adopted by organizations, and an R&R software should have the ability to connect with these platforms with ease. This greatly boosts platform usage and makes employee appreciation feel like a part of the day-to-day.

Mobile Applications

In today’s remote world, our handheld devices have become natural extensions of our own bodies. To ensure that recognition is immediate, and, on the go, it is of utmost importance for R&R platforms to exist as robust mobile applications as well. This also enables on the ground workers like sales teams, channel partners, agents etc. to get immediate access to the portal without having to remember to recognize someone once they return to their offices.

Reward Integrations

Having integrations with vendors for benefits and reward fulfillment like products and e-vouchers from e-commerce giants, lifestyle, food or travel portals can give your employees the power of choice when it comes to redeeming points. Having a one-stop access to deals/discounts or getting relevant options for long-service or festive gift redemption is possible with an expansive digital catalog.

Digital Engagement software need to offer freedom and flexibility to their client organizations to pick, choose and integrate the features of their choice within their existing systems. This ensures that the platform is molded to match culture and not the other way around. Data security also plays an important role in enterprise-level integrations, which can be facilitated through stringent adherence to cyber-security standards like PCI-DSS, ISO, GDPR and specific governance guidelines. Perhaps the major advantage of having enterprise integrations readiness in a R&R platform is that it allows for organizations to build the R&R program around the needs of various employee groups, thereby accomplishing the goal of inclusion and end-user delight.