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Employee Engagement

5 Unique Ways to Appreciate Remote Employees During Times of Crisis

We are living through an unprecedented social era- a time when the busiest streets are deserted, the grandest establishments look dim and the most ambitious businesses are downsizing. Parents are stretched between chasing work deadlines and homeschooling their children. It is during challenging times like these that the mettle of an organization is put to test. With stress and anxiety at an all-time high, appreciating and recognizing your employees is of greater importance than ever before. With a largely remote workforce, organizations need the ability to perform these recognitions with the help of a robust digital employee recognition platform. Keeping a remote workforce connected to each other and the larger organization is essential to optimize motivation and productivity.

Here are some ways in which we believe you can keep your workforce engaged, inspired and connected during this time:

Impactful Employee Appreciation

A simple thank you for a job well done is very powerful. However, with no face-to-face interaction, coupled with a sense of isolation, managers need to ensure that they ‘deliberately’ thank and recognize/reward their employees. This may be through a personal message, a voice note or even a recorded video. If your organization has a rewards and recognition portal or a communications forum, a public announcement of an employee’s achievements can amplify the impact of a humble thank you. Appreciation is known to have a dramatically positive influence on an employee’s performance and engagement, leading to an 81% increase in motivation, as per a study conducted by Glassdoor.

Practical Perks

Some great ways to support your employees during the pandemic phase can be through monetary perks. Discount vouchers on essential supplies like groceries or household items, discounted access to fitness resources etc. can prove invaluable for an employee while costing the company a minimal amount. This time can also be a good opportunity for organizations to train and upskill their workforce by integrating their learning systems with their rewards mechanisms and possibly offering access to select online courses.

Non-traditional awards

In the absence of traditional award ceremonies and town halls, performance can still be rewarded through unconventional methods like using a rewards and recognition software. Be it a day off, online apparel vouchers or a child’s toy set, employees can choose their rewards through a points-based rewards system. On the other hand, the reward ‘points’ that employees have already accrued can be doubled or made eligible for donations to organizations working for COVID relief. The organization can also assign extra points for exhibiting values like ‘safe practices’ or ‘hygiene’ depending on the industry.

happy employees on a video call

Balancing Work and Play

While the work environment can be easily replicated in most homes through conference calls and team sync ups, your weekly happy hours and chai sessions cannot! Thus, it is the need of the hour to have virtual bonding events where colleagues can continue to connect in an informal environment. Using platforms to facilitate daily online quizzes, talent shows, trivia nights etc. have been shown to boost engagement and most importantly, reduce burnout among employees.

Tracking Engagement

Pulse surveys can help identify problem areas as employees settle into their work-from-home routines and solve them in time to prevent significant productivity losses. Be it a lack of infrastructure, team coordination or difficult personal circumstances, using technical tools to gather concerns and opinions on new company policies can help employees feel safe and supported by the organization.

This blog talks about different ways in which organizations can support and appreciate their employees as they work remotely to make them feel connected, included and acknowledged during times of crisis. Ultimately, the objective is to maintain focus on a strong employee engagement program- leading to increased loyalty and reduced employee turnover, irrespective of where employees are working from.

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Employee Engagement

Employee Retention in the Modern Age

Just the other day, I met a senior HR executive at an HR Tech conference. He was one of the first delegates to visit our stall. He said with a warm smile – “I appreciate the work you guys are doing. After all, it’s very difficult to retain employees nowadays. No one is willing to be loyal to their companies!”

I smiled and nodded at him, feeling almost pitiful for him, who was lamenting the passing of a bygone era, one of the limited employment opportunities and doing the same work till his retirement, with no technology to replace his hard work. At least that’s how I think. I’m a millennial after all; a representative of a fickle generation that is willing to change companies frequently to serve self-interest.

Anyway, there was nothing remarkable or new about the statement he made, but in retrospect, I think that employee retention is surely a big problem. The issue of employee retention is older than we think.

Marissa Orr speaks to this fact in her latest book, Lean Out, where she says that employee turnover existed in the industrial age but was not a big problem than it is in today’s world. She explains that earlier, any human could act as a replacement for a factory worker, as the work was physical. However, in the current economy, the nature of work is research-based or an online program that gives you the knowledge, tools and uses your mental strength, which means the skill, experience or knowledge a worker acquires is difficult to pass on to another. With the rising demand for specialized skills, companies scurry to fill knowledge gaps that are often very hard to fill.

Employees today must use their mental strength, which they have a choice to exert, unlike a manual worker at a factory. Their output is less tangible, and the impact is not immediately visible. Employees who use their mental strength will only exert themselves if they are treated well. In other words, any modern business is highly impacted by how its employees are treated. And, the best way to treat them well is to recognize and appreciate their efforts. This solidifies the argument that employee appreciation, recognition and rewards are the deciding factors when it comes to retaining talent.

Multiple strategies are used to increase employee retention ranging from a competitive pay and benefits package and improving company infrastructure, to offering trainings for skill enhancement, etc. However, the most crucial aspect is scientifically recognizing employees for merit or good work. It has become the need of the hour for companies that are serious about retaining good talent. Here, are a few ways in which you can ensure your employee recognition and rewards system is serving your business:

  • Encourage employee recognition for not just achieving milestones or targets but each instance of behavior displayed that is in alignment with your company values and culture.

    As an example: If an employee regularly goes out of the way to help team members with their work, it is a sign of leadership and a cue to the management to keep such employees for the long-term. A report from TinyPulse based on a survey of 2,00,000+ employees across America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, said that “only a third of workers received recognition the last time they went the extra mile at work and just a quarter felt highly valued at work”. This glaring appreciation gap can be bridged with a conscious effort from the leadership by appreciating the subordinates’ work and by setting a benchmark for acceptable behavior in the workplace. The ultimate goal, of course, is to make appreciation and recognition a habit among every worker. Digital recognition platforms like Gratifi help make recognition simple, even fun and ensures org-wide visibility for the best performers.

  • Recognize with a thoughtful rewards and gifting system

    Recognition is not just tied to performance. There are many golden opportunities that organizations tend to miss or are under-utilized when it comes to building a meaningful relationship with their workforce. Work anniversaries, long service awards, or even personal life events like marriage anniversaries or the employee’s kids’ birthdays, are all opportunities to show your employees you care, with a simple email, a gift or an e-card, at the least.

  • Help them gain insight into workforce sentiment and intervene to boost employee motivation

    Employee pulse surveys are effective when it comes to gathering confidential data from specific departments or groups on a single platform. It helps get a 360-degree input of what employees think on a particular matter, which is processed in an unbiased method to bring the change. Most importantly, it makes employees feel like their opinion matters.

The essence of employee retention

In a nutshell, employees will want to work for an organization that appreciates their work and makes them feel like a part of their success story. Simon Sinek sums it up well in his new book, The Infinite Game, where he says that if companies expect employees to sacrifice the lure of a better opportunity elsewhere, they need to show employees that they are worth that sacrifice. Need I say more?

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Rewards and Recognition

How to measure the impact of your employee rewards and recognition program?

Employee Reward and Recognition programs help you make data-driven decisions for your engagement strategy. However, you must define and measure your employee engagement program.

Do you consider the total number of handshakes between employees on your R&R platform and is it important? What about participation in company events and CSR activities?

An efficient R&R platform should produce analytics and data that will help you define the following:

  • 1. Amount of LoginsLogins are the basic yet vital metrics, it helps you understand the success of your employee engagement strategy. The number of logins done by employees of the company and even the total number of users for the R&R platform speak a lot about the effectiveness of the platform itself. However, it is important to create a buzz around a newly introduced platform and send regular reminder notifications to the staff to encourage its usage.

  • 2. Points SpentPoints Spent is the most crucial metric for the budget of your employee engagement program. If you have a points-based recognition system, you should be able to track the points spent at the Admin Level (HR Department), Manager level as well as at the employee level. Within the point-based system, both receiving points and distributing points speak a lot about whether team leaders are encouraging positive behavior in their team, and if peer-to-peer recognition is active. Also, points should be distributed evenly among a large number of employees to build a healthy environment.

  • 3. Recognition TrendThere are three types of recognition in the workplace: organization-to-employee, manager-to-employee, and employee-to-employee. Recognition Trends for all these categories can be measured at the location, department and team level with an R&R platform. The program helps the HR department to understand where recognition is lacking and take measures accordingly. It’s important to note here that the R&R platform needs to have relevant recognition categories as per the organization’s key performance indicators. For example, encouraging late-night shifts may not be relevant to a banking firm but extremely important for a BPO. It also helps to keep refreshing categories from time-to-time and communicate the same to the workforce.

  • 4. LeaderboardsLeaderboards display top recognized employees at various levels in the organization. It gives management visibility to the best performer, thus boosting their morale and setting an example for others to follow. Leaderboards are a good way to measure and perpetuate the success of your R&R program. They also form a significant part of a sales engagement platform, wherein sales professionals deal with high work pressure, a healthy competition boosts their performance.

  • 5. Orders ReceivedA basic metric to measure reward redemption among employees, be it redeeming points or gift vouchers earned during birthdays, anniversaries or work milestones. An integrated reward redemption platform can help you get the data you need to understand which reward items are most ordered and liked and which ones are moving slow.The truth is that rewards and recognition program needs a strategic plan. No matter how large or small your organization is, having a fully developed process in place will ensure every employee in every department is aligned with your organization’s goals and culture. A goal-based recognition can ensure that managers are recognizing those who accomplish their tasks and go above and beyond.
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Rewards and Recognition

Why Digital Employee Recognition is critical for Quick Service Restaurants

Quick Service Restaurants or QSRs, plainly referred to as fast food chains, is a massive and competitive industry. Along with standardized product quality, it is the quick and friendly customer service they provide that attracts a heavy footfall to their stores.

The employees in these restaurants work in a fast-paced, high stress environment where the company’s reputation and customer retention rate rests on their shoulders. They need to be alert, responsible and creative when it comes to customer service.

QSR giants have understood this and have adopted Rewards and Recognition (R&R) practices for keeping their employees motivated; these can range from awarding titles and badges to monetary incentives. However, given the scale of operations and the need to engage culture-sensitive Millennials and Generation Z, R&R needs to be more systematized and built into the heart of day-to-day operations.

In today’s era, youngsters are quite habituated to using online apps for all kinds of things- including connecting socially. This provides a great opportunity for restaurant managers and senior management at QSRs to setup an online Reward and Recognition ecosystem. Not only will this provide a unified platform for employee engagement, but also facilitate instant, seamless communication org-wide.

Platforms like Gratifi offer analytics for tracking employee recognition and workforce sentiment so the Human Resources department is able to identify data-driven solutions for increased engagement.

Before opting for a digital engagement solution, however, a number of things need to be considered. Most importantly, the digitization process needs to reflect the organization’s culture and policies. For example, having recognition categories for being well-dressed or working late-hour shifts, or even being the star performer of the shift- these must be integrated into the digital system.

Another concern when it comes to digital R&R for QSRs can be its usability. While digital solutions are effective in smoothly facilitating manager-to-reportee recognition, they may not be successful in getting peers to recognize each other-that is- unless the digital product is user-friendly and has accessible touchpoints. One can’t expect employees to navigate complicated apps to say thank you to a colleague during hectic shifts.

Another aspect of product customization is the Rewards system. Apart from being data-driven and unbiased, it should be designed keeping in mind the company culture and what employees want. There is a lot of scope for creativity in the digital reward space. The Rewards catalogue, in this case, can be youth oriented. Young employees enjoy shopping for clothes, electronics or beauty products on a budget, and the online reward point system should allow them to purchase the same. This would be more exciting than waiting for points to redeem an expensive dinner set or a wall hanging (yawn!).

All in all, the summary is this: it is critical for QSRs to adopt digital R&R solutions for employee engagement to maintain a competitive edge. However, technology needs to adapt to human processes, rather than making them impersonal and restrictive. Therefore it is equally important to ensure that the R&R product is customizable, user-friendly and relevant.

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Employee Engagement

Inculcating the core values in your workplace

Organizations that follow their core values and principles build a strong team foundation and an even stronger organizational culture. However, the moral value of an organization can be easily lost in the hustle of a busy workday.

Imbibe core values by converting them into a specific, behavioral example. In addition to this, create a model of values for the organization and rewarding behaviors that demonstrate each value. Thus, constantly reminding employees about the core values of the organization and how to work towards those principles. It helps employers to observe behaviors and manage the organization’s brand and standards.

Let’s discuss ways to imbibe the core values of an organization: Organizations easily lose the sight of their core values when their focus is more towards the current tasks. By building a model for their values they have a guideline for all aspects of business, right from the decisions they make to the talent they source to the way they interact with customers.

Organizations can achieve this by respecting the moral values of employees and keeping it at the forefront. In addition to featuring it on the organization’s website and in the employee handbook, they can also post them where employees often gather, at places such as conference rooms, canteen, etc. Along with this, the top management should also regularly communicate with the teams.

Firms can also build a workforce that diligently obeys the organization’s values, making it a part of the hiring process. The HR department can create a questionnaire based on organization’s values and use it as a key strategy in assessing the candidate as a potential fit.

Candidates are often predisposed of sharing the organization beliefs. By using the questionnaire during the interview process you can identify candidates with similar principles that are crucial in building a team and can successfully dwell into the organization’s ethics.

The best way to bring your organizational values to life is to use them in the right way. Don’t just let your core values sit on the wall as a brand, imbibe it into your daily life at work. Breathe, play and work by them daily.

Some other ways to actively imbibe organizational values is by aligning them with the organization’s culture activities, such as volunteering together in social events. You can show your employees how it’s done by using character of the organization to guide business decisions and empower employees to do the same.

Employers should promote organizational values by rewarding employees for displaying behaviors that are in line with the organization’s principles. Feature your employees in the “employee of the month,” category in the organization’s newsletter, blog, or website or just give them a simple pat on their back, just be sure that the behavior doesn’t go unnoticed. After all, there’s no better way to promote great behavior than to reward it.

Building a core value model and following it will help your organization establish and propagate core values that are more than an office space punchline. The values you inculcate now, in turn, will provide the groundwork for a strong organizational culture into the future.

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Channel Partner Rewards and Recognition

Digital Implementation for the Channel Partner Program

Today we live in a world that has increasingly become tech-dependent and it is a constant challenge for marketers and channel partners to understand the ever-evolving customers, predict the consumer behavior and attempt to influence it. In this digital era, the technologies such as mobile, web, email, social media are evolving and with that are presenting new challenges and opportunities for business. The digital revolution is giving an opportunity for any business to develop effective engagement models that provide a modernize engagement with channel partners, agencies and customers. For any business to expand and provide a delightful experience to the end customer you need to vigilantly take care of your extended business arms.

Organizations face challenges when it comes to modernizing channel partner engagement. Using digital experience solutions can enable organizations to create marketing assets that can be used for multi-channel programs.

Each business industry has their own channel partner engagement model that is best suited for their business, thus the need for a digital platform can virtually connect and create a stronger rewarding portfolio between them.

Here, are some pointers that can help an organization build a robust digital platform for their channel partners:

A right solution allows you to access real-time financial data synchronized from time-sheets and a general ledger in a project dashboard to manage metrics. With the right integrated digital solution—which brings data together in one place—you can quickly assess which channel partners will be the right fit, while at the same time build loyalty and provide individualized motivation with healthy competition. Integrated management tools allow you to spot gaps in this data and act accordingly.

Bringing in the digital technology for channel partners you can swiftly access brand-approved, compliant marketing solutions to craft personalized marketing programs on the fly for uniform local needs.

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Organizational Culture

How digital platforms are innovating the workforce engagement space

Technology has completely transformed the recognition space today and the traditional way of appreciation has taken a backseat. Organizations increasingly want to make agile, informed, and data-backed decisions when it comes to rewarding their workforce. To facilitate this change, digital recognition platforms have come up and these platforms have given an edge of objectivity to the whole R&R process. This, in turn, has helped businesses to grow and perform at an optimal level because engaged and happy employees go that extra mile to achieve their organizations’ business objectives.

How are organizations keeping employee motivated?

A recent study by a leading training institute stated that organizations with an engaged workforce outperform those without it by 202%. This reinforces the fact that recognition, when done right, can help organizations reap dividends in the form of employee loyalty.

So, when is the right time to reward good work? Instantly, says a recent leading nonprofit professional association report. The findings of this report state that when employers offer “spot awards” to their resources, employee engagement and motivation improve by 54% and 48%, respectively.

Benefits of digital platforms

The major benefits of using a digital platform for reward and recognition are:

  • Enhanced HR efficiency: HR has transformed into a portal with all functionalities to take on increasingly diverse business demands. Choosing the right recognition platform saves a lot of time for the HR, time that can be utilized on strategic business decision making.
  • Heightened objectivity: Have you heard a colleague saying that few individuals are always rewarded because of their equations with their managers? This is where digital recognition comes in. Digital recognition platforms help you measure employee performance using data, eliminating even the slightest possibility of favoritism. Moreover, gifting no longer remains an in-silo process, because the management gains complete visibility into reward distribution from bottom-up in the organizational hierarchy.
  • Easy tracking of recognition program: Harnessing the power of data, decision makers can easily track the success of the recognition program on various parameters, such as team bonding, reward frequency, and employee reactions.
  • Improved R&R: When recognition becomes memorable than momentary and monetary, employees feel that they have established lasting bonds with their employers. The use of technology for rewarding ensures that recognition is more impactful. For instance, when employees get to choose the time and type of their gifts, over the usual quarterly, half-yearly, or annual recognitions, the experience is more likely to touch a chord with the workforce. Also, Digital recognition platforms enable the HR to easily segment information gleaned from employee analytics and tailor its recognition programs around employee trends and preferences, driving productivity.
Digital is the future

In today’s competitive scenario, organizations can’t afford to have a disengaged workforce. Flexible and interactive R&R solutions are thus the need of the hour.

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Channel Partner

Build a mutually rewarding relationship with your channel partners

Did you know, 63.5% of companies credit their channel partners as major contributors to their annual revenue? Most companies rely on their channel partners to reach their valued customer base. As the above study suggests, both channel partners and organizations are important to each other considering the multiple avenues of growth and success that their synergy opens up. Channel partners thus play a very crucial role in an organization’s growth charter.

So, if your business model comprises channel partner sales, then you must prioritize structuring a channel partner engagement plan. Finding ways to improve your partner engagement may seem like a daunting task, but it does not have to be. With the right strategies in place and the platforms to support them, you can enhance partner engagement and increase productivity.

Managing partners: While your partners help you increase revenue and meet your growth targets, it is extremely important for you to ensure that the relationship is not just transactional. It’s no surprise that a thoughtful rewards and recognition program is the foundation of successful partner and employee relationships. But how do you implement a digital rewards and recognition program that engages your target audience on a real time basis, while also accelerating your channel partner growth?

Choose automation: If you are still following the traditional way of keeping track of channel partners sales information and rewards program, it’s time to adopt for automation. Leveraging a digital channel partner program can take off much of that burden from your business.

Using an interactive platform addresses every aspect of the rewards program—recognition, rewards calculation, growth, data management, engagement, real-time rewarding, and so on. It will not only strengthen and secure partner loyalty, but also give a clearer view of the system to both business owners and channel partners.

Using an automated channel partner engagement platform enables you to:

Meaningfully engaged and motivated channel partners thus become your brand advocates. Successful collaboration and engagement with your partners will help you reach your target audience effectively and attain a competitive advantage in the industry.

A sound engagement strategy for channel partners thus becomes a business mandate.