Employee Engagement

Employee Listening for Accelerating Inclusion and Diversity

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is a major area of focus for HR departments globally, as robust research has emerged about its’ many business benefits. However, while companies have made progress on measurable aspects of DEI, specifically, a diverse head count and equitable benefits, subtler aspects like inclusion and belonging have not yet received the attention they need. This is especially significant in the current context, where employers are preparing to welcome employees back to work or switch to a hybrid work model for good. Unless an organization takes the effort of measuring employee sentiment and translating it quickly into action, they risk alienating underrepresented groups/interests, thereby impacting cultural health. Each employee has multiple identities including gender, region, sexual preferences, economic and social backgrounds etc. They may carry a specific medical and familial history. Actively listening to unique employee voices is critical to make holistic headway in any DEI program. This blog talks about the different ways in which organizations can adopt ‘employee listening’ to accelerate DEI:

  • Regular Check-ins 

Proactive communication and feedback gathering can help organizations respond to changing employee requirements.  Pulse surveys enjoy multiple benefits over traditional surveys in that they aim to gather crucial employee opinion in a simple format, without requiring a significant time investment. This gives the advantage of getting quick feedback and taking action on survey results before they’re made irrelevant. Some examples are a ‘Women at Work’ satisfaction survey or a ‘WFH challenges’ survey. An employee engagement platform helps to administer these surveys easily across the organization, as well as collate in-depth analytics for the same.

  • Safe Spaces for Discussion

Having dedicated chat groups and virtual discussion forums with employees belonging to underrepresented groups, as well as their allies, can be a great way to further their interests in the virtual world of work. Sharing stories of triumphs as well as challenges can help strengthen peer bonding, build advocacy and offer bottom-up solutions for better inclusion. For example- having a dedicated forum for the firm’s LGBTQ+ community, expecting mothers or even those grieving the loss of a loved one to the pandemic.

  • Encouraging Fairness

Organizations can minimize incidents of unfair performance analysis, bullying, harassment, and bias by setting up the required infrastructure to nip them in the bud. A performance management tool which can track manager ratings on KPIs throughout the year as well as manager-to-peer recognition trends can reveal if teams are being led fairly. Peer-to-manager recognition/feedback can also provide a safe way for employees to report unfavorable behavior or vice versa. 

  • Interpreting Indirect Data  

Indirect Data relating to an employee’s day-to-day emotions can be helpful in capturing trends over time. An employee mood-o-meter can be installed in daily work apps to track this. Performance management systems pointing to a consistent dip in productivity can also give clues to negative sentiment or vice versa. Extracting anonymized data from company collaboration tools can also keep the organization informed about dominant employee voices, thus giving a useful metric to measure progress on their DEI goals.

Empathy needs to be the guiding principle for people management in the current work-from-home scenario, especially for groups like women who may be facing adversities like domestic violence, the differentially abled who are facing a higher health risk or the economically vulnerable who have lost their sense of job security. Keeping an ear to the ground helps organizations stay agile and craft policies for the post-pandemic workplace accordingly. As discussed in our previous blog, true inclusion doesn’t come purely from having a diverse workforce. It comes from decentralizing power and putting underrepresented employees front and center when it comes to designing an employee engagement program.

Organizational Culture

Using Recognition to Anchor Pride in Workplace Diversity

The conversation around diversity and inclusion (D&I or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion- DEI) has matured over the years to reflect its’ importance, not just from a humanitarian perspective but also from a business one. For example- Companies with the highest levels of diversity outperform companies with less diversity by 36%, and the former also benefit from increased levels of innovation, improved brand reputation and higher talent retention. However, having a diverse workforce and the positive impacts that come with it are yet to be fully realized- most companies globally still lack women and other marginalized groups in senior executive and leadership positions. Additionally, 61 percent employees in the above mentioned McKinsey study don’t believe their organizations are inclusive despite a higher rating on diversity. This means two things- the first is that advocacy for D&I has still not reached places of power and is still not considered a business priority. Secondly, even while the mechanical aspects of recruiting and retaining people from diverse backgrounds has made headway, it still results in tokenism or even the backfiring of diversity initiatives. What is needed is a cultural overhaul from the top to ingrain not just an inclusive, but an equitable culture in the organization. One unique mechanism through which you can celebrate and promote diversity in your workforce is through the organization’s employee R&R program. This blog covers the various ways in which an employee rewards program can strengthen diversity in a meaningful way.

  • Recognizing behavior that promotes diversity

Making diversity part of the recognition framework is essential to not just offer a one-time opportunity at the entry stage, but to enable diverse groups to be visible and get promoted for further career growth. This can mean rewarding employees for participating in company D&I programs or recognizing managers who make a conscious effort to recruit and keep engaged a diverse team. Another powerful way for companies to benefit from diverse contextual knowledge is recognizing employees for offering unique solutions born out of their differential experiences.

  • Fair Performance Assessment

Having a transparent performance management system that focuses on merit and a broad range of KPIs, including teamwork and inclusive behavior, will give a strong message to employees by tying D&I with compensation. Moreover, the more transparent and meritorious the appraisal process in a firm gets, the higher the chances of everyone playing on a level field.

  • D&I Forums

Dialogue leads to empowerment and having digital discussion forums to keep minority groups and their allies connected in the hybrid work era can help in increased engagement and continued progress in D&I goals. Moreover, social collaboration walls can be used by the C-suite to publicly lend their support and show solidarity with their employees’ unique backgrounds.

  • Celebrating Diversity

Having organization-wide celebrations on days like Women’s Day or Pride Month is a great way to reinforce the softer aspect of diversity. In no way does this mean that social media posts or rainbow logos are enough. However, firms can use these opportunities to show employees how much they value their presence through letters from the management, physical gifts to employees’ homes or digital badges/ecards celebrating landmark events.

  • Social Listening

Using ‘social listening’ in the form of pulse surveys and polls can help organizations do an analysis of employee sentiment amongst the target audience and measure the impact of their D&I initiatives.

The problem with tokenism in D&I is that it eats into workplace culture. It silences and ultimately, disengages traditionally marginalized groups through systemic or unconscious bias. For women, persons with disabilities or those belonging to the LGBTQI+ community to thrive at work, organizations need to put in the effort to create an enabling environment where barriers like social prejudice, economic status and stereotyping are combatted actively. As this Harvard Business Review article eloquently states, organizations need to reframe their business objectives to allow human dignity and equality to be as important, if not more, than short-term fiscal goals.

Employee Engagement

Words of Appreciation for better Engagement

Employee appreciation is the foundation for a positive, thriving work culture. In fact, research has shown that appreciation increases employee retention by 53%, apart from having many other workforce benefits. Appreciation doesn’t need to be expensive or even involve cash at all. However, it does need to be authentic, heartfelt, specific, timely, frequent, and memorable to have the desired impact on employees.

The current crisis calls for leaders, managers, and HR departments to deliver the right messages to their employees, especially when they are working remotely or working from offices on the field. It’s imperative that their employees’ support throughout the pandemic is applauded, especially when they’re feeling isolated, undervalued and burned out. Here are some messages you can use to appreciate your coworkers, seniors and other teams today:

Appreciating support throughout the pandemic

Thank you for standing by your organization in its’ time of need. We salute your bravery and commitment to work throughout the pandemic crisis. Indeed, you are a true Corona Warrior!

A crisis reveals one’s true character, and yours is that of a hero! Thank you for honoring your duties throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We stand tall and proud because of employees like you!

Celebrating occasions close to the employee’s heart

Warm wishes to you on your birthday! May you experience happiness, health, prosperity and leaping success in every area of your life.

Congratulations on your work anniversary! Wishing you immense growth and fulfillment in your professional journey ahead.

Appreciation for Positive Behavioral Attributes or Performance-

A mediocre leader ‘tells’ but a great leader ‘demonstrates’. We admire how you walk your talk!

You not only have the skills needed to identify opportunities but the gumption to drive them to success. You’re an invaluable asset to the team!

It takes leadership to take charge of a problem when no one else has noticed. Kudos to you!

The ideal employee lifts others up especially when the chips are down. Thank you for being a positive influence!

Your initiative has created meaningful progress for the organization. Thank you for bringing in your fresh ideas and energy to the table!

Your innovativeness and creativity has put you in a class of your own. We need employees like you to challenge dated norms! Thank you!

You always lend a helping hand. Thank you for your contribution!

Thank you for going above and beyond to help us achieve our goal. We wouldn’t have made it without you!

You don’t stop at being good. You strive to be better and emerge as the best! Thanks for the great work, team!

Congratulations on doing an excellent job! You set the bar high for us all.

Your hard work and focused work ethic is admirable and an inspiration to all of us!

You only strive to be better than who you were yesterday. Your humility is the driver of your success. Kudos!

We admire you for performing your duties with utmost diligence, and upholding the trust of the organization.

You are outcome-driven and it reflects in your passion for excellence. Great Job!

Your excellent communication and presentation skills make you a cut above the rest! Kudos!

Being an expert involves not only deep knowledge, but a constant quest for more. Congratulations on having outstanding domain expertise!

Your attention to detail has produced excellent results on this task, great job!

Reliability and trustworthiness are words synonymous with you. We admire you for how punctual you are!

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments, and your self-discipline is certainly an example of that!

Having the right words to describe your employee’s achievements can make a world of a difference when it comes to writing one-to-one notes for employee recognition or a formal email from the HR department. As we all know, there is no such thing as too much gratitude, especially during today’s uncertain times!

Channel Partner

How to Engage with Your Channel Partners in Disruptive Times

The new normal has called for flexibility and inventiveness in the way we do business. However, for organizations that rely on indirect sales for revenue, channel sales alignment has taken a big hit. Organizations are either scaling back channel partner budgets or scrambling to ensure continued channel sales in a tight market. In addition, the casualties, isolation and suffering caused by the pandemic has affected human morale everywhere, and your channel partners are no exception. For long-term business success, it’s imperative that organizations step up to nurture their channel networks at this time. In this blog, we’ll talk about the role of technology in redefining channel partner engagement for the new normal, in the following ways:

Open the lines of Communication

The first measure organizations must undertake is setting up active lines of communication, including chat, helpdesk and a ticketing system through a channel engagement software. Increasing availability for channel partners across the board including technical leads and senior executives can help provide the much needed alignment and support to ramp up sales efforts in a tight market.

Double down on Sales Enablement

Brand strategies are likely to change for organizations seeking new sales opportunities during the pandemic. Sales and marketing teams will need to ensure they’re able to share evolving strategies, target personas and market research with their sales channels real-time. Leveraging robust sales analytics tools in a channel partner management software can help make crucial data available to the firm and partners alike. Role-based content display can ensure that only relevant reports are visible to the concerned stakeholders.

Make virtual events count

Trade shows, expositions and sales conventions have come to an abrupt stop, preventing channel partners to make new in-person connections. Organizations must step up to not just conduct virtual events among its various channel partners but also use them to facilitate engagement. For example, continuing traditional partner awards ceremonies online and sending physical trophies, badges and mementos to partners’ homes through a channel incentives software. Such digital tools can automate partner reward fulfillment, saving time and costs.

Share Best Practices

Channel partners are uniquely positioned to gather customer data and understand the pulse of the target customer base at the grassroots level. Having an online collaboration forum or knowledge base can help in recording such data to refine the organization’s business approach, convert indirect sales leads and help focus on high-value customers.

Realign Incentives

Incentivizing channel partner performance does not necessarily mean increasing financial compensation. Non-financial incentives are known to have a greater impact on workforce performance and with digital reward and recognition tools, the reward options are endless. The key is to be intentional and understand what channel partners want through pulse surveys, then create a rewards structure around the feedback. A great example of non-financial awards can be online training courses to upskill during the pandemic or healthcare vouchers offering discounts on medicines or doctor’s consultation.

Organizational Culture Popular

People Focused Leadership in Times of Crisis

The pandemic has resulted in a major upheaval within the world of work. With a fresh rise of cases and mortalities, it is a tumultuous time for us all, whether through exposure on the field or juggling priorities while working from home. The new normal has forced business leaders to step up their managerial skills as they navigate untested waters and struggle to keep morale and productivity up. As the crisis exacerbates, leaders assume an even more important role in ensuring employee motivation and engagement. According to McKinsey, people-oriented leadership qualities are shown to better pull organizations through the pandemic. One important way of doing this is by appreciating and motivating employees on a regular basis. This blog talks about the various ways in which leaders can create a culture of employee appreciation during this difficult phase:

  • Owning workplace culture: Top-down approach

Culture is always driven top-down so it’s important for leaders to consciously create a culture which encourages employees to stay loyal and come back to physical workplaces when the time comes. Regular company updates, announcements and video messages from senior management published via a company-wide collaboration tool, for example, can be effective in making employees feel connected and included.

  • Reinventing recognition: Frequent, peer-based, CSR

Recognition efforts, especially manager-to-peer recognition, should be ramped up to acknowledge the work that employees do on an everyday basis. Honoring one’s duties is no mean feat when anxiety and uncertainty are widespread and employees need an acknowledgement of the same. A digital employee recognition tool can be helpful in structuring recognition parameters as per organizational culture and reminding leaders to thank their teams regularly.

  • Promoting wellness: Virtual events, physical and mental health initiatives

A healthy workforce means a more productive one, which is why employee wellness needs to be an area of focus for all leaders. A great way to achieve this is through promoting events like health seminars, yoga and mindfulness sessions etc. throughout the year. These can be conducted virtually using an employee engagement platform. Organizations can also track mental and emotional health using employee sentiment analytics using the same platform. Additionally, a firm can incentivize employees to meet targets on the organization’s wellness app. For example- winning rewards points upon completing 10,000 steps consistently.

  • Manager-peer relations: Performance management system

Team coordination and alignment suffers in a remote working environment, which is why technology becomes indispensable in maintaining an effective feedback system. Maintaining a digital log of achievements, areas of improvement as well as accessing KPI analytics and peer comparison gives managers the insights they need to improve individual employee performance. According to Gallup, managers in particular, have the most important role in determining employee performance during the pandemic. The right data can inform a manager’s strategy and help in leveraging employee strengths more effectively.

Having a well-rounded rewards and engagement strategy is of paramount importance if leaders want to build a strong employer brand despite the crisis. The need of the hour is for them to leverage the right digital tools to engage a distributed workforce while crafting a new approach to building a people-first culture.

Rewards and Recognition

Why standard reports and analytics are not enough for RnR

The current world of evolving workplaces demands organizations to be adaptive and make constant changes in their processes, policies and even their business models. Fluctuations in the economy driven by an unpredictable health crisis, have compelled leaders to focus on engaging and retaining their best talent. In such a scenario, it is imperative for organizations to have the right data to guide their employee engagement program. Basic analytics tools are already provided by RnR software vendors across the globe, but the relevance of the reports available and current visualization standards are being increasingly questioned by HR teams. In this blog, we will discuss the shortcomings of standard reports and analytics on an employee engagement platform as well as suggestions for what could boost the ROI of the reporting mechanism on a daily basis.

The first step towards interpreting data is often knowing which questions to ask. Singular data metrics could glaze of the specific needs of any organization. For instance, having reports on the number of logins into the platform is not useful without knowing the personas of the employees who frequently login. In the same way, knowing the number of recognitions has no impact unless it is accompanied by further data on recognition patterns at the location, department and team level to allow for interventions. On the other hand, platforms that bombard users with too many reports, complex matrices and fancy visuals often fail to reveal the inside story of the engagement platform without a measurable action plan going forward. Below are some of the ways in which people engagement analytics can actually help move the needle on organizational impact:

  • Customized reporting- Role-based dashboards

Reports need to be tailored first and foremost to the role of the employee within the organization. This means having separate dashboards for employees of different departments and hierarchies. Customized reporting helps in throwing up the right information for every stakeholder without having them wade through irrelevant data.

  • Performance Reporting- Insights for Appraisals

With the ongoing appraisal season, HR teams are looking for 360-degree feedback systems to create an accurate picture of employee performance. RnR tools that offer performance insights through features like an employee scorecard and achievement logs can assist the appraisal process by providing easily accessible crucial details in a top-down appraisal.

  • Buildable Reports- Demand-driven complexity

Reports and analytics need to be aligned with organizational needs and mature as the demand arises. Having a DIY reporting tool helps to simplify or create more detailed reports at will. For example- getting a time-based comparative view like monthly or quarterly engagement statistics can be done with a few clicks, without having a dependency on an account manager.

  • Actionable Insights- Prescriptive Analytics

Most standard data analytics tools provide the numbers but fail to provide actionable insights or highlight what is important from the business perspective. As a result, managers and leaders who are already pressed for time fail to derive value from RnR reports. Having an in-house consulting team that provides you with quantifiable and tested methodologies for improving your metrics ensures a complete package.

  • Effective UI- User-friendliness

Lastly, analytics around RnR reports need to make the lives of the various stakeholders simpler. UI elements like a single window view of essential data, clean graphs and real-time updates encourages adoption of the often ignored analytics tool of the employee engagement platform.

Any modern business cannot undermine the value of data in developing resilience towards change. However, RnR reporting needs to be impact-driven and help in bridging real gaps in data. Ideally, RnR analytics should help in repairing weak links within work culture, measuring and managing RnR spends, improving the employee rewards program, and planning the employee engagement roadmap to remain adaptable to change.

Rewards and Recognition

Hyper Personalization of EX through Rewards

Gone are the days when employee rewards and recognition programs comprised of a generic list of perks for all. Organizations today are fully aware of the importance of having a holistic, tailored employee benefits experience to engage their workforce. In today’s personalization-driven economy, technology has transformed consumer experiences, which are driven by targeted offerings and relevant customer interactions. Employees now have also come to expect the same level of personalization within their workplace. Given the generally declining attention span of millennial workers, an employee rewards program must be extremely relevant and tailored to unique preferences to ensure high adoption. Additionally, pandemic related disruptions in full swing, employees are looking to employers to help them with cope with new economic, social and health related issues.

Hyper Personalization of Total Rewards

The hyper-personalization of EX through rewards involves giving employees the ability to craft their own experiences within their organization. This can mean the following:

  • The freedom to choose rewards

Having the ability to choose your own benefits or rewards from a host of relevant, compelling options is essential for employees to engage with the rewards program. Many organizations offer digital rewards in the form of e-vouchers or a vast e-commerce catalog. These can fail to generate interest either because they offer dated options or because there are too many options to choose from, which causes indecision. According to the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey, 23 percent respondents reported that they did not know what rewards their workers value. Having a specially curated catalog that reflects your employee’s demographic preferences can help overcome this challenge.

  • Timely and relevant recognition

Recognition is an important prerequisite to make employees feel seen, acknowledged and motivated to give their best. Timely recognition can take place through an employee recognition software, which can create nudges and reminders for recognition. Thus, if a notification goes out to an employee’s team on their work anniversary, say, or to the higher management after they win a nomination, it can spark timely recognition and enhance connection. In fact, this latest study by Gallup shows that the most meaningful recognition comes from a manager or a high-level leader like the CEO.

  • Employee Feedback

Regular feedback in the form of pulse surveys is an important way to get employee opinion on important aspects of EX, such as work timing preferences, infrastructural challenges, team connect, benefits preferences and more. An employee engagement platform can help collate critical data relating to attrition and engagement, as well as translate it in a simple, actionable format for HR and other management leaders. Given that improved retention is a key goal of employee engagement, it’s important to remember this statistic from Gallup which states that highly engaged business units achieve 59% less turnover in low-turnover organizations, hence there is a strong need to measure and manage engagement.

  • Regular communication

Frequent interactions regarding the rewards framework can increase the chances of reward redemption. Reminders relating to reward points or notifications regarding recommended benefits based on earlier purchases can make employees feel positive about their employer brand and feel taken care of.

  • Intuitive Rewards Framework

Using technology to create an intuitive rewards framework, including a mobile app with consumer grade features like a mood-o-meter, AI based chatbot, achievement records, recognition data, social wall and the like in a gamified environment can prove instrumental in the successful adoption of any employee rewards program.

The modern, multi-generational workforce has a unique set of needs, and the younger generation is leaving digital prints of their voice everywhere- right from discussions on collaboration platforms to their redemption behavior on benefits platforms. Organizations must intelligently tune into these sources of data, apart from just the direct survey data and continue to refine and upgrade the rewards experience. Data and technology, if used correctly, can provide an integrated, dynamic and hyper-personalized EX to employees at scale.

Employee Engagement Software

How to Ensure High Adoption of an Employee Engagement Platform

Every enterprise employee uses a range of applications during a single day of work. These can include email, chat, social media, payroll, appraisal, company intranet etc. Getting them to consistently use yet another tool focused on rewards and recognition can be an uphill task. However, to gain the maximum ROI from your total rewards program, high adoption of the platform is crucial. To achieve this, both the RnR software vendor and the organization need to ensure user-centricity in the platform design and proactively iterate platform components as usage matures. This blog covers the multi-faceted process of making your employees adopt an employee engagement platform for the long term.

  • A great first impression

The onboarding experience of any technology platform is important to retain users for the long-haul. This includes an attractive UI, application tours, easy navigation, even rewards for first-time users/first time downloads.

  • Customizable Workflows and Reporting

Any employee engagement platform needs to be tailored to the organization’s culture and bring the firm’s values to life virtually. This means digitalizing offline rewards, administrative and approval processes and also creating role-based dashboards and reports. The more saving of time and efforts that the platform offers to an employee, the more likely they are to keep returning.

  • Gamification

Gamification has proven to be a game-changer when it comes to platform adoption as it triggers the goal-gradient effect in users, making them take the next logical step towards winning a digital badge, or upgrading to an elite level club of employees after winning certain rewards. Having leaderboards in employee recognition tools also boosts public esteem, which triggers the human drive to defend self-worth.

  • Integrations

Integrating the engagement platform with the right kind of inhouse applications can result in seamless reward workflows, resulting in successful adoption. Integrating with data systems like the HRMS, Payroll and Appraisal portals are crucial for relevant, real-time data synchronization. Other frequently used apps like email and chat are also powerful ways to bring employee recognition and rewards front-and-center with employees by preventing logging into various platforms to give a simple real-time recognition to a peer.

  • Communications

Timely triggers to employees in the form of communications outside the platform are necessary to give just the right amount of push to employees to use the platform. This involves sending emailers before the platform launch and regular updates in terms of additional features and usage. Organizations can also trigger occasion-based communications via email or SMS wishing employees on birthdays or anniversaries, encouraging them to redeem their gifts on the platform.

  • Platform Support

Support throughout the user lifecycle is an important determinant of any platform’s usage. This can take the form of a responsive helpline, helpdesk or ticketing system as well as training materials for all kinds of employees. The lesser the amount of hiccups in a user’s workflow, the higher the chances are of the platform being used.

  • Rewards Experience

The reward redemption experience on an employee engagement platform needs to be memorable and impactful. Having run-off-the-mill, stale products can drastically affect redemption rates. Making employees feel special involves giving them relevant reward choices on their terms- they decide when they redeem reward points and how, whether through clubbing them with cash, opting for e-vouchers or ordering their physical gifts to a location of their choice.

  • Leadership Buy-In 

Finally, platform adoption is known to receive a great boost when it is promoted by senior leadership. The relevant teams need to ensure that the senior management is well-aware of the ins-and-outs of the platform and are promoting it by using it themselves.

Promoting the usage of an employee engagement solution is an integrated effort that requires planning and patience. Flexible, easy-to-use, customizable and buildable solutions are known for high adoption rates and can be evolve as per organizational needs and business scenarios. All in all, it is important for any solution to become an integral part of an employee’s daily functioning, instead of being a simple nice-to-have tool.