Guide

The Manager's Guide to Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is more than occasional recognition or receiving a pin on your five-year anniversary. People have experiences in the workplace that affect their engagement. Technology and programs that successfully impact employee engagement take a holistic view of the employee experience.

Our research-based book draws on decades of experience and covers a range of topics every manager needs to know:

  • Building an Employee Engagement Program
  • Why Individualized Recognition Matters
  • How Recognition Boosts Employee Retention
  • The Role of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Helping Remote Employees Feel Included
  • Getting Ready for Generation Z
  • ... and so much more.

 

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For more than a century, Inspirus has been a leader in human capital management. We've had the honor of serving clients such as:

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Strategy

Chapter 1: Building An Employee Engagement Program
Chapter 2: The Five Pillars of Employee Behavior Change
Chapter 3: Five Ways to Know You’re Ready for an Engagement Platform
Chapter 4: Why Individualized Recognition Matters

Leadership

Chapter 5: How Recognition Boosts Employee Retention
Chapter 6: Increase Performance with a Mentoring Program
Chapter 7: Can Feel-good Management Reduce Stress?
Chapter 8: The Role of Diversity, Inclusion and Community in Organizations

Workforce Segmentation

Chapter 9: Three Ways to Make Your Remote Employees Feel Included
Chapter 10: Create a Meaningful Employee Experience for Older Employees
Chapter 11: Managing Diversity in the Workplace
Chapter 12: How Can Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Become More Family-friendly?

Training

Chapter 13: How to Add Recognition Into Your Onboarding Process
Chapter 14: Why the Role of Chief Learning Officer is Evolving
Chapter 15: Micro-Learning: Changing the Way We Learn at Work

Technology and Reporting

Chapter 16: How Technology Helps Build Community
Chapter 17: How to Make Sense of Engagement Technology

Communication

Chapter 18: How to Design a Recognition Program Communication Plan
Chapter 19: How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Communication Plan
Chapter 20: Effective Communication During Training and Onboarding
Chapter 21: Communication Tools for Your Recognition Program

Engagement

Chapter 22: Three Ways to Take Your Recognition Program to the Next Level
Chapter 23: Introverts and Extroverts: Best Practices in Recognition
Chapter 24: How Points and Recognition Programs Promote Your Company Culture

Finance and Budget

Chapter 25: Making the Business Case for an Employee Engagement Program
Chapter 26: Measuring the True ROI of Your Recognition Program
Chapter 27: How to Calculate ROI: Motivation You Can Measure

StrategyIcon-01CHAPTER 1: STRATEGY

Building an Employee Engagement Program

Resources and Guidance to Support Engagement Leaders

What does it take to create successful employee engagement programs?
The simple answer is a lot. Of course, there’s really nothing simple about that answer. HR leaders know that executing any people initiative demands conducting the right research, exploring different approaches, and identifying not just best practices but practices that will fit the unique needs of their organizations.

And that’s the “easy” part — because most of the time, the most challenging requirement of launching and sustaining a program is securing buy-in from key stakeholders. So, whether you’re just starting your journey to better understand what’s possible or already deep into the process of championing employee engagement in your organization, this toolkit will provide you with the resources you need to make a solid business case.

Problems and opportunities

If you’re reading this, it hopefully means you already believe in the importance of engaging your people and creating a great culture. You may also recognize that a terrific employee experience is a key foundation of growing organizations. There’s also a good chance that you — and your senior leadership team — have come across often-quoted research by Gallup indicating that roughly two-thirds of employees are not engaged.

A Hewitt study of 1,500 companies also reported that where 60% to 70% of employees were engaged, average total shareholder return was 24%.

But what are the business implications of disengagement? What could this mean for your organization? To garner support for employee engagement programs, it’s critical to frame the problem (and ensuing strategy) in terms of how it will impact your company with measurable outcomes.

Gallup findings also reveal strong connections between employee engagement and key performance indicators. For example, work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperform bottom-quartile units by:

  • 10% in customer ratings
  • 21% in productivity
  • 22% in profitability

Top-quartile units also see:

  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 25% and 65% lower turnover in high- and low-turnover organizations, respectively
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% fewer quality defects

 

It’s what’s on the outside that counts

The problems — and opportunities — related to employee engagement are far clearer than finding the right solutions. A Google search will yield many ways to boost engagement. Many of those options include leveraging technology to achieve your objectives. The right approach can help ensure that no employee is left behind. Technology can offer:

  • Real-time feedback
  • Deep people insights
  • Ability to address the needs of diverse and dispersed workforces
  • A consumer-grade user experience to boost usage and adoption

That said, getting a good grasp of how to tackle engagement inside your organization requires exploring engagement trends more broadly outside of your organization. An understanding of what’s happening among engagement solution providers can help level-set realistic expectations, as well as give you insight into current engagement initiatives you might be deploying.

Here are a few trends with the potential to impact employee engagement programs at your company ...

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StrategyIcon-01CHAPTER 2:  STRATEGY

The Five Pillars of Employee Behavior Change

PILLAR #1: Focus on motivation.

Rewards and Incentives are a great way to inspire employees. However, they work best when combined with personalized, authentic, intrinsically focused programs to create lasting behavior change. Offering rewards in exchange for employees exhibiting certain behaviors is a pretty common feature of employee well-being platforms, e.g. giving a gift card to any employee who participates in a biometric screening. These tactics can be a great way to inspire employees to take part in healthy behaviors like walking, running or drinking water instead of soda, and they can of course improve the employee experience and bring employees together.

They won’t, however, help you support long-term behavior change or build a sustained culture of well-being. That may sound counterintuitive, so let’s explore this.

The first thing to consider is that social challenges and competitions are rooted in extrinsic types of motivation, rather than personal or intrinsic types of motivation. The Self-Determination Theory of motivation or SDT, is the single most researched and cited model for motivation in the social sciences and public health, and it breaks down motivation into six distinct types and shows how each relates to the likelihood of sustained behavior change.

Motivation and Sustained Behavioral Change

As you can see, competitions fall within the third type of motivation, “introjected regulation,” which means that employees are basically doing the behavior only because of a social goal—to beat other people, or simply for the approval of being part of the group.

The problem with this type of motivation isn’t its ability to be a hook to get employees involved in a well-being behavior—it does—it’s that it doesn’t naturally lead to the more effective 4th, 5th and 6th types of motivation which are more personal and lasting. On the right side of the spectrum, employees care about the changed behavior themselves because they associate it with their identity and it becomes an intrinsic motivator, which means they do it because it feels good to do it, not because someone is giving them something for doing it.

According to the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) of motivation there are six types of motivation; Intrinsic regulation has the highest likelihood for sustained longterm behavior change.

 

Ultimately, when a person starts walking 10,000 steps or eating healthy to lose weight as part of a very public challenge or competition and they notice they aren’t part of the top 10% or 20%, they often end up judging themselves for not being “as good as” others in the program or they try to “game the system,” completely forgetting the original goal of improving health. So, either they “fail” or don’t join the program to begin with. Where does that leave you? Your healthiest or most social 5% to 10% of employees stick with the program, while the rest drop out or never join.

Second, even for those that stick with the challenge or competition for the entire time, research shows that the likelihood employees will stay with those behaviors that were part of the program after it’s over is quite low for one simple but powerful reason – the challenge or competition was an artificially created reality—and it, too, is over. Most employees go back to their default setting, because the program was never about weaving a new behavior into their lives for years to come—it was about who could play the game the best, or win. Once the challenge ends, so does the motivation for doing that behavior.

The best thing you can do is to develop personalized, authentic, intrinsically focused programs that support employees in building healthy habits that will stick with them for life. Give employees the tools and room to change their behavior for reasons they choose. The ideal program is one where an employee chooses a single habit to focus on and they are diligently working toward fitting it into their complex lives. We will discuss this more below.

PILLAR #2 Let employees choose a well-being program specific to their needs.

Traditional wellness programs tend to be paternalistic— they tell employees exactly which habits they need to focus on, like quitting smoking or changing their diet in a specific way. Or worse–they only target a so-called “high-risk” portion of the population. This approach is flawed in two ways: first, it alienates employees who aren’t motivated by the particular focus of the program, and second, it risks making the employees who are included feel guilty and ashamed. Guilt and shame are simply not factors that help people make lasting behavior changes.

Luckily, there is an approach that works. Research shows that letting your employees choose how they will tackle their health and well-being goals—and how they’d like to be acknowledged—is key.

When you allow employees to choose the main components of their well-being program— the habit they’d like to improve, the frequency at which they do it, the coach they work with—you facilitate the shift from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation. This will increase the chances of helping them design something that works well within their own complex lives and make it more likely to achieve lasting behavior change.

PILLAR #3 Help employees focus on developing one healthy habit at a time.
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StrategyIcon-01CHAPTER 3: STRATEGY

Five Ways to Know You’re Ready for an Engagement Platform

If employee turnover, engagement and succession planning are major concerns for your organization, you are not alone. According to a recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study, these are the top three challenges HR professionals are facing today.

These issues are closely connected.

A disengaged workforce negatively impacts both employee retention and succession planning. How can you plan for the future if a high turnover rate is demanding your constant attention?

Companies are turning to a variety of resources to encourage engagement, and advances in technology have made it easier to combine multiple employee programs — such as recognition, global rewards, well-being and learning — into a user-friendly engagement platform.

But technology is only as effective as the people and processes behind it. Using insights from employee surveys, rethinking processes and promoting the new platform are additional steps that contribute to the success of your engagement initiatives.

To make the most of an engagement platform, consider whether or not your organization as a whole is truly prepared to support and sustain it, and if it will appeal to your employees. Here are five indicators that the time is right:
1. You recognize engagement as a business-level issue.

Engagement isn’t just an HR issue; it’s a business issue, too. Engagement is an enormous factor in the trajectory of an organization. Gallup research tells us that highly engaged organizations are rewarded with 21 percent higher productivity. In organizations where engagement is already a top priority, CEOs are supporting more strategic engagement initiatives. Others may need to create buy-in from top leaders before they advance toward an engagement platform. Regardless, this vital first step is just the beginning.

2. Your company’s leadership understands its ability to improve engagement.

Let’s say your leaders understand the business value of a highly engaged workforce. But they also must acknowledge their responsibility to encourage engagement. Aon Hewitt research shows that leadership can improve engagement by 70 percent. Companies ready to take that first step can start by looking at ways to promote engagement across their entire organization. Positive shifts in the workforce start at the top with new processes and practices that require ongoing evaluation as they take hold throughout all levels of the organization.

StrategyIcon-01CHAPTER 4: STRATEGY

Why Individualized Recognition Matters

There are so many nuances to navigate in the workplace. Language—specifically the language we use to tell people we value the contributions they make to our organizations—is one of them. The language we use in our recognition programs deserves careful consideration. Today, most businesses acknowledge the value of recognition in helping attract and retain talent and have some kind of recognition program in place. Many believe they’re doing a good job by making their recognition personalized. Ink someone’s name on a certificate, engrave it on a plaque, or add it to the salutation of an email and voila!—you have personalized recognition, right?

As work-life balance morphs into a more organic work-life blend valued by Millennials and Generation Z, personalized recognition needs to evolve into individualized recognition. What’s the difference? While personalized recognition assigns an employee’s name to an organizational goal or value, the name can easily be changed. Individualized recognition takes into account a person’s passions and interests—making it a truly meaningful declaration that moves the needle toward a more engaged workforce and cohesive corporate culture.

Here are ways to make the nuanced leap.

Embrace these two important “m” words.

“Knowing a fair bit about the individuals who work for you goes a long way toward making your recognition efforts more authentic, not simply a “to-do” item,” says Theresa Harkins, senior vice president of client success and engagement solutions. This premise is born out of data that reveals the most effective recognition is honest and individualized, so it is meaningful and memorable to the person receiving it.

The most memorable recognition comes from a direct manager (28%) and high-level leader or CEO (24%). It makes sense. Everyone feels honored that upper leadership is not only aware of their efforts, but appreciates them. But how do you fulfill the other part of the equation and make recognition meaningful?

Good leaders develop a camaraderie with their people—and this begins by learning what inspires and motivates them. Don’t be afraid to be out-of-the-box when gathering intel. Business advisor Marla Tabaka suggests the “bucket list” quiz. Have employees create an anonymous list of 10 items and place it in an envelope.

The most memorable recognition comes from a direct manager (28%) and high-level leader or CEO (24%).

During a relaxed group lunch, the envelopes are randomly selected from a box and read aloud, giving everyone a chance to guess the author. It’s a fun way for colleagues to learn more about one another—and gives leaders insights into ways to individualize recognition. As Tabaka notes, you might not be able to gift someone a mountain climbing excursion, but you can give them a gift certificate to an indoor rock-climbing club.

Connect the dots between company values and individual values

No organization can survive without people who believe passionately in its mission. Yet, many leaders will be alarmed to learn that, according to Gallup, just 27 percent of U.S. employees strongly agree that they “believe in” their organization’s values. Only 23 percent believe they can apply their organization’s values to their work every day. The stats help explain why most Millennials “want a job that feels worthwhile, and will keep looking until they find it” (according to Gallup’s How Millennials Want to Work and Live).

LeadershipIcon-01CHAPTER 5: LEADERSHIP

How Recognition Boosts Employee Retention

Recognition is an effective, low-cost solution to avoiding employee departures.

“Recognition, applied in the right ways, can tip the balance towards why an employee will stay with a company,” says Inspirus Solutions Architect, Sean Mayo. “When an employee leaves, an organization doesn’t just lose a trained employee. An organization can also lose customers—depending on the relationships—as well as intellectual capital.”

Organizations can create an inclusive environment that attracts and retains talent by continuously engaging employees and acknowledging their work efforts. When rating factors that contribute to job satisfaction, respondents to a Society for Human Resource Management survey said respectful treatment of employees at all levels within an organization (65%) and recognition from management (45%) are very important.

When organization’s make recognition and engagement a priority within the workplace, employee absenteeism is reduced by 41% and turnover decreases by 59%.

Here are four ways to ensure recognition plays a pivotal role throughout your organization.

Seek leadership buy-in

In order for recognition to gain authority within an organization among employees, it’s essential that leadership believe in the process and its benefits to the company. When executives are committed to making recognition and appreciation a priority, it sets a standard that others will follow and continue throughout their daily interactions. In order for recognition to develop into a cultural value, this process can’t be treated like just another initiative that may eventually lose steam. It needs to be seen, experienced and practiced every day by all leadership (not just the HR department) in order for employees to understand that recognition is truly valued by the organization.

Address the importance of manager effectiveness

Managers are often the first impression employees have with a company and set the tone for the overall experience that employees have within an organization. This makes it all the more important that a manager’s actions align with the organization’s values. It’s also essential for managers to communicate expectations to employees while still being empathetic to challenges they may be facing. Recognition should be at the forefront when communicating with employees as well. When employees produce great work, go above and beyond in their role, or positively impact the organization, managers should provide timely recognition that includes specific examples of how an employee provided value to the organization. This effort truly resonates with employees, as Gallup poll data shows that the most memorable recognition comes from an employee’s manager (28%) or an executive-level leader (24%).

Develop a culture of appreciation

Taking the time to develop a culture that recognizes employees for their efforts (and behaviors) is a way for an organization to show their commitment to creating a space where employees can thrive. In turn, employees will be less likely to leave for another organization if they know they will be adding value when they do a good job. Organizations that implement recognition programs have 31% less employee turnover. An effective way to build recognition and appreciation into an organization’s overall culture is to define which values matter most and ensure a recognition program incorporates these values and acknowledges employees whose actions align with them.

Organizations that implement recognition programs have 31% less employee turnover.

Create consistency in recognition

To ensure that employee recognition maintains momentum and positively impacts your workforce, structure and consistency are key. Without a formalized recognition format that managers can follow and replicate, employees’ experience with receiving recognition can vary greatly. For example, one manager may offer recognition for service anniversary only, where as another may dole out more frequent recognition for employees that help meet company initiatives. By developing a standardized structure to implement recognition organization-wide, all managers and employees will have the opportunity to recognize one another for the value and efforts they bring to the organization.

For recognition to really take off, a top-down approach can make the difference. “In one of my first jobs, our CEO would come around every week. He knew my name, he knew about my family, he knew what projects I was working on,” says Mayo. “It’s making recognition a priority, so that people feel the culture every day.”

Cultivating and retaining talent can be a challenge within any organization. Taking time to make sure current employees feel recognized and appreciated for their work can go a long way towards creating a workplace in which employees remain engaged, productive and also recommend the company to other talent.

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LeadershipIcon-01CHAPTER 6: LEADERSHIP

Increase Performance with a Mentoring Program

How can you harness the experience of a senior executive, and spread new ideas and a fresh approach of a promising manager? The answer lies in mentoring: a practice that is growing in popularity as companies look to develop their future leaders. Low-cost, high returns and happy people all round, what’s not to like in a mentoring program?

As companies look to develop the careers of their employees, without resorting to personalized and expensive training, mentoring has never been so popular. Tailored to the specific needs of their company, and delivered at little or no cost, mentoring can be provided with a variety of objectives – from on-boarding new hires to improving collaboration and promoting inclusion. Add the more familiar role of passing on experience to talented, up-and coming employees, and it’s easy to understand the popularity.

For a successful mentoring program, though, careful planning is essential. Once the objectives have been decided, the next step is the format – such as inter-generational, where senior executives pass on their experience, or a focus on gender, where the aim could be to develop women’s leadership. Typically, this offers not only a transfer of knowledge but also a better understanding of generational differences on both sides. Organizations also need to decide if a mentor is helping a single employee or a group.

More confidence, higher revenues

The benefits of mentoring are wide-ranging, with corporate programs being proven to increase employees’ skills and self-confidence. They also improve employee engagement and retention, which raise productivity and lower HR costs respectively. A Gartner Group study found that retention rates were higher for both mentees (72%) and mentors (69%) than for other employees, while another survey revealed that nearly twice as many companies with mentoring programs reported an increase in revenue as non-mentored counterparts.

A boost for careers

And if mentoring is good for business, it’s also very popular with employees. Over 79% of Millennials see mentoring as crucial to their career success, while 25% of employees enrolled in a mentoring program had a positive salary grade change, compared to 5% who did not enroll, studies show. Such is the consensus among management and employees of their positive impact, that over 71% of Fortune 500 companies now offer mentoring programs.

A positive experience at Sodexo

Advantages such as these are also well-known to Sodexo. A program was first deployed at Group level in 2009, while Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services began mentoring in 2014 with a target audience of the top 350 managers. Around 24 to 28 mentees and an equal number of mentors – in separate departments and ideally in different countries – are selected for its international program every June. Organized by the Talent Management team, the selection process matches the needs of potential mentees on the one hand, with Sodexo’s business requirements on the other. Over the year, each pair has a monthly conversation by phone or Skype for at least an hour, plus a face-to face meeting. With the objectives and format agreed at the outset, the program has proved very successful.

Small investment, big return

“In their feedback, the mentees are extremely enthusiastic,” says Laure Arnaud, HR Development Director, Sodexo Benefits & Rewards Services. “They really appreciate that someone is taking time to help them. Satisfaction levels with our programs are spectacular, as they meet a real need. While mentees gain in knowledge, leadership and career development, mentors also learn new ideas and new approaches, and both sides also gain in empathy. Mentoring costs very little to provide, yet is very beneficial for everyone involved. It’s the ultimate win-win.”

LeadershipIcon-01CHAPTER 7: LEADERSHIP

Can Feel-good Management Reduce Stress?

Stress is probably the most widely understood malaise of the modern workplace, blighting the lives of hundreds of millions of workers around the world. What’s been much less understood is how to deal with it. Now, however, the rise of ‘feel-good management’ offers a new answer to a longstanding problem.

Stress: A modern disease

Stress has been a challenge for employees and companies for decades, and was described by a United Nations report back in 1992 as “the 20th century disease.” Sadly, not much has changed in the 21st century. Research in the U.S. has found that 80 percent of workers felt stress on the job, with nearly half of them saying they needed help to deal with it. Another study revealed that 65 percent of workers said that workplace stress had caused them difficulties. And if it’s bad for employees, the damaging effects of stress are no better for companies in terms of absenteeism, accidents, employee turnover, reduced productivity, medical and legal costs, and compensation.

Happier employees are more productive

The causes of stress are varied but include job insecurity, long hours, lack of opportunity for development, low pay and a lack of recognition. As a counterpoint to what can go wrong, research by the American Psychological Association found that employees who felt positively valued by their employers were far less likely to feel stress, and far more likely to be engaged in their work and to have job satisfaction. Studies carried out by Harvard/MIT made similar findings, with happy employees being 31 percent more productive, twice as less likely to be ill, six times less absent and 55 percent more creative. A broader study carried out by the University of Warwick also found clear evidence of an improvement of productivity with happier employees, while job satisfaction at Google rose 37 percent after investing in more support for their employees.

Happy employees may be up to 31 percent more productive, twice as less likely to be ill, six times less absent and 55 percent more creative.

A range of feel-good options

That connection between how employees feel and how effective they are at work has now been highlighted by the growing popularity of feel-good management. The emphasis is on finding tailored ways to make employees or their teams feel happy at work. Feel-good management involves taking the lead in organizing team-building exercises or social events – either on-site or at another location – and providing mentoring at either individual or a collective level. Helping new hires to settle in, supporting change programs and helping employees to deal with stress are also part of the remit. At the same time, the feel-good approach is also there to encourage people to make positive lifestyle choices. Clearly, support from employers in providing the opportunity to access nutritious food, flexible working, and relaxation in the form of physical workouts or yoga/mindfulness exercises, which can all help to achieve the goal of happiness at work.

Such is the enthusiasm behind the idea that a growing number of companies around the world are now appointing an official Feel-Good Manager or Chief Happiness Officer – dedicated solely to creating a positive, upbeat atmosphere and supporting the employees. In France, job openings for CHOs rose 967 percent between 2014 and 2016, according to a recruitment specialist, while a survey in Australia found that 79 percent of respondents were in favor of this role being established in corporations there.

Alternatively, companies can turn to external help for a fixed period of feel-good support. Happiness projects carried out by specialist feel-good providers can point to testimonials of rising revenues and significantly higher profits (WooHoo Inc. in Denmark), and beating targets by double-digit percentages (Feel Good Leadership in the UK). In the U.S., consultancies such as Delivering Happiness (see below) can point to feel-good services that provide a range of benefits for companies and individuals alike.

However, the hiring of a dedicated happiness officer or the outsourcing of project-based advice may not suit all organizations and there are plenty of initiatives that existing managers can pursue to promote the feel-good factor at work.

How to deliver happiness

Making employees feel good at work is a familiar task for Jenn Lim, the CEO and co-founder of Delivering Happiness, a company that provides coaching and consulting in happiness for employees. Her work is based on the bestseller “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. His book explains the science behind turning the feel good factor into a more successful business.

What is feel-good management and how can it boost employees’ wellness?

Feel-good management focuses on prioritizing happiness and the well-being of employees as part of the workplace culture. The most substantial way it contributes to wellness is its contribution to alleviating stress and promoting a positive work-life balance. Having a culture around employee wellness allows employees to focus on themselves, put their positivity and energy towards their teams, and drives the effects further into customer experience - whether it’s a B2C or B2B organization. At Delivering Happiness we also integrate higher purpose into our clients’ business models since we know it to be a primary motivator for employees to perform their best, show up and stick around.

How should a company introduce feel-good management?

The first step to any introduction to change requires alignment from the top-down. From executives and managers to first-level employees, the success of feel-good management is dependent on its acceptance throughout the team and organization. After acceptance and alignment, a roadmap for implementation should be followed to set expectations and goals for its rollout. Typically, this is a difficult step because many organizations are good at saying what they want to do rather than doing it. After a successful implementation, it’s essential to measure and compare changes based on appropriate wellness and engagement KPIs and to also invest in ways to sustain the culture over time – through workshops, coaching, onboarding experiences, etc.

If you take the time to listen to feedback from employees on their roles and the culture, then it will open up areas of opportunity for you to improve.

How do you make employees realize that their views are valued and understood?

It comes as part of culture change. Most organizations have employees who feel like they aren’t heard. If you take the time to listen to feedback from employees on their roles and the culture, then it will open up areas of opportunity for you to improve. Active listening can manifest through surveys and day-to-day conversation. Yet, what you do with what you learn really tells your employees if you’re listening or not.

Is it relevant for all businesses, no matter their size, sector or country?

Happiness and wellness in the workplace are essential for all businesses, mainly since they both affect productivity, turnover rates, and even health insurance costs. In 2016, workplace stress was estimated to cost employers $300 billion annually. Whatever size the organization might be, the lost potential can hurt the bottom line and detour the roadmap to growth. Delivering Happiness’ clients have ranged in industries; whether they are in hospitality or healthcare, our clients have recognized that employee well-being and engagement require a sustainable culture.

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LeadershipIcon-01CHAPTER 8: LEADERSHIP

The Role of Diversity, Inclusion and Community in Organizations

The world is full of people from all different backgrounds. But if the world is diverse, shouldn’t the workplace also be diverse? Even more so, shouldn’t we want a diverse workforce to meet our diverse customers’ needs? That would make businesses better at delivering their services, create a more engaged workforce, and ensure a more profitable organization. The research shows this to be all too true.

According to a Harvard Business Review survey, “companies with above-average total diversity … had both 19 percent points higher innovation revenues and 9 percent points higher EBIT margins, on average.”

A McKinsey analysis also found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile,” as well as “33 percent likelihood of outperformance on EBIT margin” for ethnic and cultural diversity.

This trend is only going to continue in the future, and with more urgency, too. According to PwC’s 20th annual CEO survey, diversity and inclusion was the top priority for global CEOs, with 83 percent agreeing that they promote diversity and inclusion initiatives.

It just goes to show that Inspirus and Sodexo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is ahead of the curve as well as a strategic business opportunity. So, how do we do it?

We Are Committed to Diversity and Inclusion

Our core values show that we believe in a service spirit, a team spirit, and a spirit of progress. In that way, Inspirus and Sodexo embed diversity and inclusion into our core values as we deliver quality of life around the globe.

We believe in anticipating our customers’ expectations while taking pride in satisfying them. To do that, we need to have a diverse workforce that’s able to see beyond our own lens of the world and undo our unconscious bias. Because it’s embedded in our core values, diversity and inclusion helps us hire and develop the best talent, as well as drive growth for our organization.

But diversity and inclusion goes beyond our employees — it goes into the clientele and communities in which we live, work and serve. For us, diversity and inclusion differentiates us and helps us become a real part of the community.

When we connect with and engage employees, we’re able to deliver better services at a better value. And that value is felt around the world as part of one global community.

We Are Enabling Community

Our commitment starts at the top with our president and CEO, along with a dedicated Global Chief Diversity Officer. The leadership at Sodexo has cast a vision to see how diversity and inclusion affects our roles, our impacts and our commitments.

We acknowledge our three roles in creating diverse and inclusive communities around the world:

  • As an employer
  • As a service provider through our solutions
  • As a corporate citizen

But what does this look like in a community, with all different types of diversity? As an employer, we foster an inclusive culture to enhance the quality of life for our people. As a service provider through our solutions, we democratize the employee experience as a global diversity and inclusion leader. And as a corporate citizen, we drive diversity and inclusion as a catalyst for societal change.

We have developed our approach to corporate responsibility by looking not only at the different roles that we play as a large global organization but also at the different impacts our actions have in the world.

And we focus on five dimensions. Together, they give us a lens through which we can see a wider world:

  • Cultures & Origins
  • Generations
  • LGBT
  • Disabilities
  • Gender

Sustaining these three roles and making progress in five dimensions across 12 global regions takes ongoing work. For starters, we’re sharing our work in progress in an annual year-end review. We also break down our work across regions to show unique opportunities and challenges.

Our commitment extends to our people, not just demographically, but in our leadership from the inside out. We work with our Diversity & Inclusion Business Advisory Board made up of subject matter experts and leaders outside of the company.

The Diversity Leadership Council, Employee Business Resource Groups and Cross-Market Diversity Council help leaders collaborate and support ongoing and new diversity initiatives such as:

  • Training and development
  • Mentoring
  • Recognition
  • Supplier diversity
  • Client and community partnerships
Diversity and Inclusion Impacts Our Global Organization

We can tell you that diversity and inclusion makes enormous impacts on our organization, and we want to show you just a few of the ways our focus on diversity and inclusion has improved quality of life for employees, clients, partners and communities.

Improvements across multiple areas of employee satisfaction

On the 2016 Quality of Life Satisfaction survey among Swedish employees, user perception of efficiency in the workplace increased by 9.4 percent, overall satisfaction increased from 77 percent to 93 percent, and the impact on workplace living conditions on the overall state of wellness and well-being increased from 73 percent to 90 percent positive feedback.

Increasing diversity as a service provider

In 2017, Sodexo expanded its 2016 goal of reaching 1,500 women-owned businesses to include introducing the program to all the countries where they operate by 2025 and to generate 10 billion euro in business value for SMEs, from purchasing and merchant partnerships.

Embracing our role as a good corporate citizen

Sodexo made a commitment to combat violence against women in six Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico and Argentina) and India through awareness, training, economic opportunity and collaboration with others. Since that time:

  • At least 76,200 have been reached with awareness campaigns
  • 4,550 have been given more extensive training developed for use in India, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Peru
  • At least 121 trainers have been trained to deliver the lessons
We Help Organizations Leverage Diversity and Inclusion

In addition to sharing our diversity and inclusion journey through regular reporting, our conferences — like our annual Quality of Life Conference — research and global studies, we provide solutions that can help companies leverage diversity and inclusion better in their own organizations. We continue to develop and enhance a model for others to follow.

We at Inspirus, the U.S.-based Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services entity, have integrated diversity and inclusion solutions into our employee engagement platform to:

  • Promote diversity awareness and celebrate accomplishments through announcements
  • Increase understanding and educate on diversity and inclusion with short, fun micro-learning courses
  • Reinforce inclusive behaviors via recognition programs like peer-to-peer recognition and nominations
  • Promote events celebrating diversity

We’ve seen such great results from diversity and inclusion driving an increase in awareness, understanding and participation. For example, Sodexo was ranked 47 (out of 50) on Fortune’s 2017 list of companies that are solving societal problems thanks to the impact on human rights and social justice of our initiatives and policies for people with disabilities. Along with four other organizations renowned for pioneering diversity and inclusion, Sodexo was recently inducted into the first-ever DiversityInc Hall of Fame.

We Are Here to Help

You can do it, too, and we are here to help. From accomplished experts to industry-specific training, we provide the tools, techniques and programs to help our clients create and achieve their diversity and inclusion goals. We have partnerships across all dimensions of diversity, with over 35 civic and community-based organizations, representative of 65 programs and initiatives.

Our expertise will help you:

  • Secure commitment from the top
  • Develop a strong business case
  • Clearly articulate a diversity strategy
  • Establish a sustainable diversity and inclusion infrastructure
  • Build commitment and traction that will foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture
  • Institute tools and systems to measure diversity and inclusion progress
  • Promote awareness through recognizing and celebrating activities
  • Gain credibility in the marketplace for advancing diversity and inclusion

We’re committed to helping organizations unlock the power of diversity and inclusion to improve employee well-being and engagement. By partnering to create a more diverse workforce and train your leadership to think inclusively, we can help your organization deliver your services with better quality and more engaged people, for a more profitable future.

If you’re looking to improve the quality of life for your people through diversity and inclusion, contact us today.

WorkforceSegIcon-01CHAPTER 9:  WORKFORCE SEGMENTATION

Three Ways to Make Your Remote Employees Feel Included

While some organizations are refining their remote work policies, working remotely and flexible workplaces are still expected to grow in the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 73 percent of teams will have remote employees by 2028.

While employees who battle rush-hour traffic on their way to the office may consider remote work arrangements to be the ultimate job perk, working remotely can have its challenges.

  • 19% of remote employees report feeling lonely.
  • 22% of remote employees report challenges in unplugging after work.
  • 43% of remote employees say more face-time with their team would allow them to build deeper relationships at work.
  • 80% of remote employees would like their team to communicate with them more often.
Creating an inclusive work environment that is also mindful of your organization’s remote workforce effectively keeps all employees engaged and connected. Here are three best practices in supporting your remote employees.
Be mindful of remote employees during onboarding

When new employees join your team, you want to make sure they have all of the tools and resources needed to acclimate to their new role. An effective onboarding experience is especially necessary for remote employees. Those who have to connect to meetings virtually need to have reliable technology and easy access to software, dial-in codes and any cloud-based platforms so that they can interact with their team, managers and clients seamlessly. Also make sure that remote employees can easily navigate any intranet portals or servers where necessary documents or projects can be found.

Communication is a key component to any remote arrangement, but when an employee is onboarding or taking on additional responsibilities, it’s a necessity. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with remote employees via a voice over IP (VoIP) tool with a live video messaging feature, such as Skype or Teams, so that the meeting is as close to a face-to-face conversation as possible.

Make it easy to connect with fellow co-workers

It’s important that remote employees not only connect with their direct report, but also their team members and fellow co-workers throughout the company. This helps beat the feeling of being removed from the daily interactions within a company and build stronger bonds through communicating on a regular basis.

Consider offering a few communication options for employees as they may prefer different communications channels depending on the situation. For example, some may use email for all communications, whereas others may send emails for project updates but would rather use an instant messaging platform to chat with co-workers or to ask a quick question of their manager.

Allow your team members to establish their own methods of communication with remote employees so that they can share information and develop a rapport at their own pace. Being given the space to find what works best for each team member, whether that be text, email or instant message platforms, allows remote employees to feel truly connected to their fellow co-workers and get to know their work styles. “You can connect and not feel like you’re working in a silo,” says Lisa Muniz, strategic account management director at Inspirus. “You get into a rhythm and learn how each team member prefers to work and you get into a rhythm as a remote employee.”

Leverage technology to make remote employees feel part of the team

Beyond communications channels (or methods), there are many other ways technology makes remote employees feel like they’re part of the office even though they are working from afar.Virtual whiteboard applications, like Mural, allow dispersed teams to brainstorm and update projects together in real-time so that that everyone is working in tandem in the same space.For remote employees who want to make the rounds and get to see what’s happening around the office, Telepresence Robots (a wheeled device that holds an iPad) can make its way around each department, allowing the employee to converse “face-to-face” with co-workers throughout the office.

Include remote employees in corporate events

Allow remote employees the option to participate in your organization’s social and team building events in order to fully integrate remote employees into your culture. Doing so sends the message that they are valued members of your organization and further connects remote employees to their co-workers outside of the realm of their daily work.

This can include allowing remote employees to dial-in and live stream any corporate-wide meetings and company wide events especially those with Q&A components, as well as recognition ceremonies. For remote managers and employees, video recognition can be a great way to not only give recognition to their team and fellow co-workers but also receive recognition as well. A video from a manager that includes a personalized message to an employee that quantifies their contributions, showcases the value a remote employee (or any employee) brings to the organization.

Remote employees should be included in the light-hearted social events, such as Employee Appreciation Day, Halloween costume contests or other celebrations. Giving remote employees the opportunity to participate in events like this creates a cohesive culture and truly makes them feel part of the team both personally and professionally. Simple gestures such as live streaming a trivia contest so that remote employees can participate in real-time or encouraging remote employees to dress up on Halloween and send a photo or video of their costume to be included in a costume contest, can make all the difference in creating an inclusive culture that values the remote workforce.

To go a step further, include remote employees in team-building challenges, such as constructing a tower out of plastic cups or a timed puzzle contest, in which they can recruit friends, family and neighbors to participate. This not only gives remote employees a chance to fully participate in team-based events, but also is an opportunity to bring the company brand and culture to those who are closest to the employee. This sets an example of why your company is a great place to work.

As organizations continue to embrace remote work options, it will also become necessary to ensure remote employees not only feel a sense of belonging amongst their team but also are engaged and included in an organization’s culture. By providing remote employees with opportunities to connect with their co-workers (both virtually and in-person), your organization will be well on its way to helping remote employees thrive.

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WorkforceSegIcon-01CHAPTER 10: WORKFORCE SEGMENTATION

Create a Meaningful Employee Experience for Older Employees

One of the fastest growing demographics in the workforce might surprise you. By 2024, there will be 41 million workers over the age of 55, and 13 million will be 65 or older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While retirement may be on the horizon for some, others may continue to work to help supplement their retirement income or because they find a sense of meaning in the work they provide.

Not all workers in this demographic are looking to start winding down their careers. Some are reinventing themselves in new roles, some are reskilling to take on new responsibilities, and others are looking to balance meaningful work and time with family. Their goals could also include continuing to build or supplement their retirement savings.

Older employees bring value and decades of industry knowledge that organizations can directly apply. For example, older executives often bring “crystalized intelligence” or knowledge acquired from experience to their roles, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.

Here are ways your organization can provide a meaningful employee experience for older employees.

Incorporate age diversity into your hiring and D&I strategies

If your organization currently has diversity and inclusion initiatives in place or is in the process of developing a program, make sure that it encourages age diversity. This includes actively seeking older candidates for roles, allowing employees to create flexible work schedules that can accommodate caretaking responsibilities and creating collaborative, multi-generational teams.

When your organization is hiring, encourage recruiters to reach out to older candidates and ensure your job descriptions are written in straight-forward, everyday language that doesn’t use slang or company-speak. This may make older candidates feel that they aren’t the right fit for a role. Also be very clear in outlining must-have requirements and nice-to-have skills, so that candidates can quickly determine if they are qualified for a particular position.

If your organization doesn’t yet have a policy around flexible schedules, it may be a company-wide benefit that’s worth implementing. According to a 2018 SHRM survey, employees often seek out flexible schedules for work/life balance (75 percent) and family obligations (45 percent). Flexible work arrangements not only benefit employees who have young families, but also can help employees who are in other caretaking roles or who need the flexibility to accommodate their own needs. Flexible options include working remotely or setting a modified schedule. Many healthcare organizations are fully embracing older employees who want to continue their careers by offering flexible work options, part-time schedules, job sharing and phased retirement in which employees can work reduced hours but maintain their full benefits package.

Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment that engages all employees should include opportunities to find commonalities with co-workers from multiple generations. This can be accomplished through creating multi-generational working teams that build a collaborative process, forming employee business resource groups (EBRGs) that focus on generational inclusion, or developing multi-generational office committees that can help create events and outings that all employees can enjoy.

Create mentorship opportunities

Older employees can add tremendous value to the workplace through sharing their perspectives and industry experience. Transferring this knowledge to fellow staff members is a necessity in helping organizations maintain a competitive edge. Nearly 77 percent of AARP survey respondents agree that older colleagues provide them with the opportunity to learn new skills.

Mentorship is one of the most effective ways for older employees to transfer an organization’s knowledge to fellow co-workers, which ultimately grooms the next generation for leadership roles. Mentoring programs can also encourage greater diversity within an organization. Mentoring programs at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations found that retention and promotion rates for minorities and women who were mentored increased by 15 percent to 38 percent, respectively.

Recognize older employees for their career’s worth of accomplishments

One of the most profound ways to acknowledge and honor older employees is to not only recognize them for their current responsibilities but to find ways to recognize them for the depth of experience that they bring to your organization.

If an employee has a longer tenure with your organization, celebrating length of service for 15, 20 or 30 years is expected. But consider celebrating and recognizing older employees who have been with your company for shorter timeframes as well. For example, an individual who has been with your organization for 5 years can still be recognized for the tenure of their career. Consider incorporating examples of what they’ve accomplished through the course of their career, in addition to what they’ve achieved while working with your company.

It’s also important to take the time to get to know your employees to better understand how they prefer to be recognized, because often times this ties back to personal preferences more so than generational attributes.

As employees opt to stay in the workforce longer, organizations can find opportunities to create meaningful roles that help older employees flourish while also benefiting their younger co-workers with their industry knowledge and wisdom.

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WorkforceSegIcon-01CHAPTER 11: WORKFORCE SEGMENTATION

Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Today’s top talent doesn’t fit into a mold, they are as diverse as the world around us. Follow these three lessons to ensure that your company rewards, recognizes and inspires diversity among all employees.

In our increasingly globalized job market, companies from around the world compete to attract and retain top talent, but like the international population they are a part of, these employees don’t fit one single description. The best candidate for your company could be male or female, single or a parent, heterosexual or part of the LGBT community.

So how can companies create Benefits and Rewards Services that effectively attract this talent pool, and reward, recognize and inspire diversity among all employees? We scoured the marketplace and found successful companies with diversity and inclusion initiatives that are leading the way. Here’s what we learned:

Lesson #1: Providing the same benefits across all employees is simply the right thing to do.

While same sex couples have been winning hard-fought equality battles around the world –notably the landmark ruling in the U.S. legalizing same sex marriage nationwide in 2015, or most recently Australia doing the same this past year – many in the LGBT community still await this win. But that hasn’t stopped Barclays in Hong Kong from broadening the scope of its benefits package to meet the needs of all its employees. Same sex marriage is not recognized in Hong Kong, so the British multinational bank decided to extend its wide range of benefits – including medical and dental coverage, paternity and maternity leave and bereavement leave – to the same sex domestic partners of its employees.

Likewise, Google, a pioneer in its own right, also took a stand for its LGBT employees – far before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Prior to the ruling, domestic partners benefitting from their partners’ healthcare coverage were subject to an extra tax that was not levied against heterosexual couples. While the company couldn’t change the law, they went around it and paid the tax for its employees. According to Google’s VP of People Operations Laszlo Block, the initiative did cost some extra money, but in the end “it was more about doing the right thing,” he told the New York Times.

Lesson #2: Remember that your employees are a crucial part of someone’s family.

In the hustle and bustle of the business world, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that your employees have needs outside the workplace. They may live with a disability, they could be caregivers to their aging parents, they may be raising a family on their own or they may be a part of the growing Sandwich Generation. According to researchers, roughly 25 percent of Millennials are Sandwichers – or the group of individuals who simultaneously take care of their parents as well as young children. And given that 84 percent of new mothers are Millennials, this trend will only escalate in the years to come.

Don’t overlook this crucial point. Instead, forward thinking companies have an important role to play here by offering employee assistance programs, flexible schedules and concierge services that can help them to manage their daily lives and even keep them more focused and engaged when they are at work.

Schwab offers employees up to $5,000 a year for child care expenses and schooling. Likewise, with the goal of easing the burden for caretakers, Deloitte, a global professional services firm, updated its benefits policy last fall, providing all employees with up to 16 weeks of paid time off to care for either children or other ailing family members.

And Google once again stepped up and offered employees a generous parental leave plan, helped pay for adoption fees and even provided a stipend for take-out and delivery food during the first few challenging months of parenthood. The company notably provided all these benefits to parents regardless of gender or marital status.

Lesson #3: Balance the scales, reap the benefits.

Gender is perhaps one of the biggest buzzwords in the diversity and inclusion discussion. And for good reason. Gender diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform other companies; gender balanced teams outperform other teams by 80 percent; and companies with more women on the board outperform others over a long period of time. While these types of statistics have become widely acknowledged, many industries still remain heavily male-dominated – especially at the top. For example, in the UK financial industry, women make up roughly 23 percent of board members, yet they only account for 14 percent of the executive committee. In an effort to tip the gender scales, the UK government launched a charter challenging companies to tie their executives’ salaries to gender balance targets. Since its launch in 2016, several major players including Virgin Money, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland have since signed on.

Similarly, Sodexo promotes gender balance within the company as a continuation of its long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Group calculated the 2017 bonuses of its executives based on the gender diversity of their teams. The goal is to increase the representation of women from 33 percent today to 35 percent by 2020 to reach 40 percent by 2025.

In the near future, experts and diversity advocates expect that these types of initiatives will catch on and have a ripple effect throughout the international business community. So, to all the high-profile companies and market leaders, the question is quite simple: are you an industry leader or a follower?

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WorkforceSegIcon-01CHAPTER 12: WORKFORCE SEGMENTATION

How Can Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Become More Family-friendly?

Competing against products and services from much larger companies comes with the territory for small and medium sized enterprises. But should they also try to match big firms when it comes to parental policies? All the evidence suggests that small and medium-sized enterprises can gain tangible benefits from supporting employees who have to juggle a career with raising a family.

A good work-life balance helps employees perform at their best – which translates into higher productivity, greater loyalty and increased engagement. However, many people find their jobs are becoming all-consuming. A UK study found that 40% of employees neglect other aspects of life due to the pressure of work, with women suffering disproportionately more than men in terms of a poorer quality of life.

Research carried out in seven countries by Sodexo shows that small and medium-sized enterprises are certainly aware of the advantages to them of improving the work-life balance of employees. In a survey of more than 4,800 small and medium-sized enterprise leaders, 84% believed that helping employees to balance their work and personal lives would increase their company’s performance. Crucially though, only 49% of them felt they could compete with larger companies in this area; a telling statistic that underlines just how many small and medium-sized enterprises are unclear about how to be more family-friendly.

Balancing work and family duties is a key challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises as they need to remain competitive in a labor market where the trend among larger companies is to offer parents greater flexibility. In fact, it’s a big enough issue to have caught the attention of governments. Singapore, for example, has launched a specific program to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to give working mothers more support in a country where 8 out of 10 mothers return to work after having a baby. Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo said last year that small and medium-sized enterprises recognize the importance of supporting parents “but very often, they don’t know how to get started.” Clearly, the need to access childcare looms large at this stage of a couple’s life.

Small and medium-sized enterprises looking to compete with larger companies for talent can meet these needs with a broad range of approaches that can be tailored to support working parents. Help with the provision of childcare, flexible hours and work-from-home days, particularly when a child is sick, are well within reach of small and medium sized enterprises. In the UK, for instance, parents with children up to the age of 15 can exchange part of their pre-tax salary for Sodexo vouchers, which are then used to pay childcare providers via an internet portal. The government supported program can save an employee around £900 ($1176) a year on childcare costs, while saving employers some £400 ($523) in social security contributions. A survey of 1,200 parents found that 99.5% of them would recommend the program to others. In France, Crèche Attitude, a Sodexo company, has a similarly tax-efficient offering that allows employers to part-finance the cost of crèche places (day care centers) for their employees. Its network of 1,000 crèches care for 7,000 children a day, easing the strain on working parents.

Equally important, though, is for small and medium-sized enterprises to realize they can call on outside expertise to help deliver those benefits – and improve their business performance. A practical example of such external expertise is to offer working parents a concierge service that takes care of certain routine tasks, such as booking appointments, collecting items or ordering services.

While many small and medium-sized enterprises have the impression they cannot compete with larger companies on parental policies, the reality is very different. Between the initiatives that can be deployed autonomously and the range of services that can be offered via third-party providers, small and medium-sized enterprises can go a long way to easing the load on working parents. And as the research proves, happier employees are better employees.

Parental policies in action: A small and medium-sized enterprise in Romania

For Network One Distribution, a small and medium-sized enterprise distributor of mainly IT and electronic goods in Romania, providing a good work-life balance for parents is a challenge – but one that can be met in different ways and always provides a good return on investment. “We know that balance will never be perfect but, for example, we have provided free 10-week courses of 2 hours a week to prepare couples for parenthood,” says HR Director Eugen Floarea. “When the child is born, we provide gift cards, and every Christmas we organize a special kids’ party for about 120 children and 200 parents. We can also arrange working times to fit in with crèche arrangements, and if a child is ill, we always allow the mother to stay at home. We have done a lot for parents over the last two or three years, but there is always the feeling that we could be doing more.”

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TrainingandEduIcon-01CHAPTER 13:  TRAINING & EDUCATION

How to Add Recognition Into Your Onboarding Process

Welcoming a new employee can be an exciting time for your team, especially if added talent enables your team to meet deliverables more efficiently. As a new employee begins the onboarding process and learns more about their role and the company, integrating recognition into the mix might not be top of mind for managers and peers. Understanding the ways in which recognition conveys when a new employee is making progress, and positively reinforces company values, is important.

Acclimating to a new job takes time but adding small doses of recognition can help your newest employee start seeing themselves as a member of the team and feel empowered to make valuable contributions. A little recognition also can go a long way in making an employee feeling like they made the right decision to join your team.

Here’s ways to add recognition to each stage of an employee’s first year with your organization:

First day

As your new employee begins their first day on the job, they are likely eager (and a little nervous) to be joining the team. While this is an exciting time, the impressions an employee develops in the first days and weeks on the job create a significant perception. Even as new employees are getting settled in, 33 percent of employees determine within the first week whether they’ll stay in their role over the long run.

31 percent of new workers who quit within the first six months cite the following reasons:

  • Discrepancy between job description and actual role
  • Poor management
  • Mismatch of corporate culture
  • Ineffective onboarding

Ideally, a new employee’s onboarding should start prior to their arrival (setting up office computers, software accounts, server access, etc.). While an employee’s first day will be filled with signing paperwork and reviewing employee handbooks, it should also include being welcomed by members of their direct team and fellow co-workers.

Ahead of an employee’s arrival, a manager can send out an email to the direct team and key cross-department co-workers requesting that they send a welcome message on the company’s recognition software system or via email so that the new employee feels accepted by the team from the start. It’s also a nice touch to add a personalized sign, some company swag and a signed welcome aboard note from the team placed on a new employee’s desk when they arrive on their first day.

First 30 - 60 days

By now, a new employee is taking on assignments and likely meeting some initial deliverables that were set for their role. For many companies, the official onboarding process likely ended within the first few weeks, but there are still many company processes and knowledge that a new employee is still getting familiar with. As such, there’s still opportunity to continue guiding a new employee as they acclimate to the company.

This is also a great time to check in and review a new employee’s role and deliverables, so far. Recognize their wins and talk through any roadblocks they’ve been facing to find possible solutions and continue to outline role-related expectations. This is also a great chance to learn more about how your employee prefers to be recognized and rewarded. For example, an employee who values spending free time with their family may like a gift card to a casual restaurant to take the family out to dinner on a weekend. Or an employee who enjoys traveling might appreciate points that can be put towards purchasing tickets for events at their next destination.

Encourage peer-to-peer recognition (and awarding points when applicable) from co-workers who have been helped directly or have seen positive outcomes as a result of a new employee’s contributions. This can be done through verbal acknowledgment or socially through a recognition platform.

First 90 days

In this time frame, your newest employee is still getting settled in their role and continuing the projects that will lead to their initial successes. It’s also in these first few months when new employees and employers are determining whether this is the right fit.

During this initial stage, recognition can play an integral part of the onboarding process. When a new employee meets or exceeds a deliverable or represents positive company values it’s important to respond in a way that reinforces that they are on track. This can be acknowledged on the spot during team meetings or in one-on-one conversations via email or during weekly check-ins. This reinforces positive actions and allows your new employee to feel that their work is valued.

A successful and organized onboarding processes can deliver significant ROI:

  • 69 percent of employees who experienced a great onboarding process reported being more likely to stay with a company for at least 3 years.
  • 58 percent of new employees who participated in a structured onboarding program were more likely to remain with an organization after 3 years.
  • New hires are 50 percent more productive when they participate in a standard onboarding process.
First 6 months

In this phase, your employee is likely meeting initial goals, making progress on longer-term projects and feeling more at home on your team. This is an important time to outline key role milestones and initiatives that you would want them to work towards. This ensures that a new employee feels focused and helps gauge if the workload needs to be adjusted accordingly.

This can also keep good employees committed to your organization, as 90 percent of employees decided whether they would like to continue with a company within the first six months.

First year

A new employee’s first year can fly by quickly, as they continue to meet milestones, take on new projects, and possibly new responsibilities. This is a critical time to keep an employee as engaged as they were when they first started onboarding. Nearly 82 percent of new employees are engaged in their new role, but that number decreases to 74.8 percent by their second year.

To keep your employee engaged and excited about what’s ahead, now is the time to acknowledge all that an employee has accomplished in their first year by setting a formal review and discussing goals for the coming year. This is also a great chance to celebrate their first anniversary with the company in a way that resonates with the honoree. This can include taking the team out for lunch (or after work) to celebrate your employee’s first year with the organization or awarding points that can be redeemed for a gift that resonates with them.

In all, onboarding is an ongoing process that can truly benefit a new employee in not only getting up to speed and making contributions quickly, but it also gives them a great sense of the organization’s culture. By incorporating recognition into your onboarding program, your new employees will also gain a sense of belonging, emulate company values and contribute to the team and company culture in beneficial ways.

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TrainingandEduIcon-01CHAPTER 14: TRAINING & EDUCATION

Why the Role of Chief Learning Officer is Evolving

The role of chief learning officer is evolving as we head toward 2021. Organizations are starting to understand that learning is at the heart of talent management as a business strategy. As a result, the traditional role of a Chief Learning Officer is shifting--an inevitable change but a. good change.

There has been a significant shift in what organizations need for talent management. The customary Chief Human Resources Officer is taking on more than just tasks that include culture and incentives, and as a result, the role of a CLO is beginning to morph. Next-generation leaders must be equipped with updated skills that may not have been required in the past.

According to Forbes Coaches Council, modern leaders exhibit essential leadership skills such as culture management, collaboration and co-creative leadership. This is very apparent in the shift of the CHRO and CLO roles. Here’s why:

  • The CHRO is now engaging in the operational side of HR such as compensation, benefits and HRIS, while the CLO is transforming into a Chief Talent Officer focusing on talent items: culture, engagement, recognition, diversity, learning, organizational development/effectiveness and recruitment.
  • CLOs must learn to think differently and holistically about the role. Their job is to build a talent ecosystem that starts in the recruiting process, progresses through team member development, focuses on engagement and retention, and culminates in ensuring a positive team member experience.
  • CLOs who are able to grow into a Chief Talent Officer will build the foundation for great places to work. In a world where there is a war on talent — a desire to hire the best and the brightest — CLOs should consider making adjustments to fit these evolving roles.

Chief Learning Officer

Chief Learning Officers are generally so focused on growing and developing others, they forget about their own personal growth and development. We need to grow the CLO role to help organizations have more engaged employees, highly focused management strategies and better learning experiences to meet the specific learning styles of each individual.

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TrainingandEduIcon-01CHAPTER 15: TRAINING & EDUCATION

Micro-Learning: Changing the Way We Learn at Works

“In today’s business environment, learning is an essential tool for engaging employees, attracting and retaining top talent, and developing long-term leadership for the company.” — Global Human Capital Trends 2016, Deloitte University Press

In a study done by ATD (Association for Talent Development), research shows that companies dedicate approximately 30 hours of training per employee, per year. If you do the math, that boils down to just five minutes a day that is devoted to employee training. This isn’t much time considering learning and development play such a critical role within an organization. So how do we tailor our learning initiatives to fit this new direction in learning?
Technology’s Effect on Learning in the Workplace

The way we learn at work is shifting, which means we need to shift how we learn. If there are only a few minutes allotted for learning in a day, it is important to take full advantage of the time available. According to ATD, internet and mobile devices are two critical factors of micro-learning. On average, we check our smartphones around 200 times a day, and thanks to technological advancements, we can access any type of information we need with the click of a button—and quickly. The habit of using technology has already been formed, so why not apply this to how we learn? That’s where micro-learning comes in.

“Technology allows us to rapidly deploy content by using micro-learning,” said Wendi Walker-Schmidt, director of engagement solutions-learning at Inspirus. “We should be pushing to use technology that people are already using because it is a habit that’s already been formed.”

The main objective of learning in the workplace is to shape behavior, improve overall performance and support organizational goals. Rather than presenting the material all at once, micro-learning takes the key parts of information and breaks it into smaller pieces of learning, also known as chunking. One small burst of learning at a time can help employees retain more information and in turn apply that knowledge to the workplace. Only have a few minutes here and there? No problem. Micro-learning should take about five minutes at a time and can easily be blended into a workday. From values, leadership, and safety courses to job-specific training, demands for learning are constantly increasing, and micro-learning is a way to retain the information we need.

It’s About the Pull, Not the Push (But We Still Need the Push)  

Allowing employees to be in control of their own learning has a huge impact on the knowledge they absorb. Let the user decide what they want to learn, instead of pushing required content. Accessibility is key: Give options and allow employees to access learning programs when and where they want. Micro-learning is all about splitting up content into multiple modules that can be accessed at any time. We understand that this can vary when dealing with both salaried and non-salaried workers, but don’t worry, we’ll get to compensation in another blog post.

“Let employees take charge of their own learning. Offering a variety of courses where people can pull down the ones that interest them rather than having things pushed to them is really going to increase their engagement,” said Walker-Schmidt.

Micro-learning Complements an LMS

Casual learning, a form of micro-learning, combines short bursts of content with interactive games and quizzes. Information can be reinforced through repetition and a game-based approach to increase retention and help move the knowledge from short-term to long-term memory.

Although micro-learning does not replace a Learning Management System (LMS), it can help increase the effectiveness of learning programs and can be used to build pre- and post-learning skills. For instance, when learning CPR, the best method would be with an instructor in order to receive hands-on training. However, micro-learning can be used before and after the course to reinforce what was learned during the actual CPR class. As a component of an LMS, not a replacement, micro-learning can strengthen a learning culture and its programs.

Managing Cognitive Fatigue

We all need a break from the day-to-day routine sometimes, and that includes our minds too. Because micro-learning breaks important information into small chunks, employees are less likely to have cognitive fatigue or mental exhaustion. Cognitive fatigue can be caused by taking in too much information at once, making it hard to concentrate. Micro-learning solves this problem. Spending just a few minutes at a time on a specific chunk of learning can break up the monotonous act of studying content for hours. The hope is that after learning is enforced through repetition and practice, the information will soon come naturally, also known as automaticity. With automaticity, we have the ability to perform actions as an automatic response without having to think about them at a conscious level, decreasing the chances of cognitive fatigue.

So How Does Learning Relate to Employee Engagement?

Learning is one of the many components of employee engagement. The strength of an organization’s learning programs can make for a highly engaged company. Learning and development not only educate employees, but it keeps them engaged, motivated and increases their work performance. Those side-effects of effective learning programs circle back to employee engagement, and organizations will see an increase in company performance and employee satisfaction. People who love where they work are going to stay where they work.

“We as humans have an intrinsic need and desire to learn,” said Walker-Schmidt. “It stimulates that part of our brain—it’s that lightbulb moment people have. I think the more lightbulb moments we can give, the more people will want to stay at their jobs.”

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TechIcon-01CHAPTER 16: TECHNOLOGY, DATA & REPORTING

How Technology Helps Build Community

Technology is transforming the ways we develop community within the modern workplace. How we interact, converse, recognize and even socialize is informed and shaped by the social platforms we use every day.

The human capital management (HCM) industry is in the midst of this evolution as well. Platforms like Inspirus Connects now embed user-friendly features that seamlessly allow employees to recognize, reward and engage one another in ways that foster a welcoming and inclusive community within your organization. These features can also be used to encourage company values, like giving back to your local community.

Here’s how to leverage technology to foster community within the workplace and beyond.

Elevate the Social Experience to Foster Community Interaction

Social features such as liking, sharing and commenting underpin many engagement platforms, but designing an intuitive user experience that encourages employees to incorporate recognition into their daily routine elevates the ability to engage others and develop community. The Inspirus platform incorporates social features that users are already familiar with, such as liking, commenting and sharing, as well as having a personal wall that continually updates with current messages, announcements, and upcoming events.

"Social features such as liking, sharing and commenting underpin many engagement platforms, but designing an intuitive user experience that encourages employees to incorporate recognition into their daily routine elevates the ability to engage others and develop community. The Inspirus platform incorporates social features that users are already familiar with, such as liking, commenting and sharing, as well as having a personal wall that continually updates with current messages, announcements, and upcoming events.

Users can acknowledge their fellow coworkers for birthdays, service anniversaries and completion of a project or life events, like the birth of a baby. We know life is busy so for those who are sending recognition we offer video recognition and a variety of e-cards that are geared towards specific events. We’ve also included the ability to schedule messages in advance or use reminders to send recognition in real-time by tapping on the reminder on their wall and sending a quick message. Recipients of recognition can scroll through their wall, which contains recognition messages they have received as well as news and event updates. Platform administrators can create customized recognition e-cards, and news or event banners to drive branded content that reflects the community values of their organization.

We want to give the customer complete control over communication opportunities so that they can brand, message and offer very predictable experiences for their employees within our platform. “An organization’s culture unfolds in little snippets of wall posts, which represent all of these individual moments that these employees are experiencing either directly or within their community,” says Davis.

Using Community Features to Give Back to the Larger Community

The news and events feature can be a great way to notify employees of upcoming social activities, volunteer events, or donation campaigns (such as a blood donation drive) to encourage employee participation and engagement. Upcoming community events, reminders and sign-up forms can be promoted through e-cards or animated gifs to help build excitement and participation, in tandem with a communications plan to spread the word about upcoming volunteering and donation events.

Recognition plays a role in building community. Not only can employees send recognition to one another after a community-focused event, organizations can promote community engagement and new platform features through recognition. For example, administrators can create incentives using video recognition by sending an announcement stating that the company will donate $1.00 to a non-profit organization for every recognition video sent within a specified period of time, say 1 month.

Community features create an opportunity to develop employee experiences that benefit everyone including the organization while developing a robust community both inside and outside of the workplace.

“When you go into community and you see all of this activity happening, it’s usually fairly addictive in a positive way,” says Davis. “To scroll through your wall and see that people are attending an event and think, ‘I’m interested in that, too and I want to be a part of that…’There’s really no limit to the possibilities.”

How to Promote Charitable Giving

The Inspirus platform’s community features can be used to not only create community within your organization but also to promote events and campaigns that serve your surrounding community as well. Here’s how to create a communications plan to help your employees rally around giving back.

Target Audience: Who do you want to inform?

Determine if this campaign is targeted towards your organization’s entire workforce or specific office locations, which may be the case if a local non-profit organization is involved.

Key Messages: What do you want them to know?

Share the most important information your audience needs to know (event dates, specific information about a campaign, what participants will have to do, etc.) as well as the bigger picture goal and reasons why this campaign is important. For example, We’re donating $1 to Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Campaign for every recognition message sent during the month of January to help end food insecurity in our local community.

Communication Methods: How do you want to tell them?

Information can be communicated in multiple ways, including announcements and RSVP options in the news and events section of an engagement platform, as well as campaign flyers and sign-up sheets posted around the office.

Who is Responsible: Who needs to communicate this?

Keep in mind who may be the best spokespersons to communicate a message. Depending on the structure of your organization, official, company-wide communications could be sent from leadership or HR, but follow-up messages and RSVP reminders could be sent from department managers to add a more personalized touch.

Deadline: When do people need to be informed?

Be sure to include important dates, such as the RSVP deadline, event date and any additional dates that are tied to the event.

Feedback: What can we do to make events more effective?

A post-event survey can be a great way to determine what’s working and what can be incorporated into the next event or campaign to keep employees motivated about participating in future volunteer opportunities.

TechIcon-01CHAPTER 17: TECHNOLOGY, DATA & REPORTING

How to Make Sense of Engagement Technology

It’s a confusing time to shop for engagement technology.

If you look around the market or spend time on the show floor at the HR Technology® Conference & Exposition, you’ll see many types of HR technologies that create engaged workforces. According to SHRM research, there are nearly 100 vendors that focus strictly on increasing employee engagement. Even outside of those vendors, there are many others that claim to affect engagement in a positive way.

Making sense of it all can be tough. As we’ve heard from our clients, there are many ways organizations can positively influence engagement. The good news is there’s a smart way to evaluate your options and make the best choice for your organization.

What should engagement technology look like?

One thing that confuses everyone is the broad definition HR software providers use to claim that their solution is engaging employees. If HRISs, payroll, benefits, learning, recognition and more all lead to engagement, how can you identify what will make a difference for your organization?

To cut through that confusion, organizations should focus on technologies that connect with employees in meaningful ways. Here are a few things to look at when deciding if a technology solution is truly engaging.

    • Does the solution align employee actions with the needs of the organization?

Whether it’s an employee learning a new skill, being productive, or making a long-term commitment to the organization, almost everyone agrees that engagement should at the very least be aligned with the needs of the business to be sustainable.

    • Does it align incentives with the desires of employees?

This goes beyond basic compensation to true employee desires — such as being recognized by co-workers and the organization, getting healthy or learning new skills.

    • Can you make measurable engagement adjustments and gains?

It’s not just about finding the right engagement technology mix, but being able to offer real-time insights and adjustments to meet the needs of the business and employees.

    • Is the technology easy enough for everyone to use?

HR is already managing multiple technologies that touch employees, which means new engagement technologies can’t just be easy to implement — they also have to be fun and easy to use.

These four areas will help you identify whether a solution is truly something that can encourage engagement. But how do you know if a particular technology is the right fit for your organization?

Considerations you should be making as you’re looking at engagement technology

Every company is unique. You have a distinct culture, with different people and different needs than anyone else. Your leaders have bought into the employee engagement conversation in their own way, and your technology needs will be unique as well.

While acknowledging that challenge, there are a few things you should consider as you look at the multitude of features and technologies in this crowded market:

  • Strategy: You should look at your own strategy and understand what you want to accomplish first. An organization that has high expectations for their engagement programs will have different needs than ones that aren’t ready yet.
  • Experience: You want a partner that’s experienced and isn’t scared by big programs and challenges. What might be even more important is that the partner you choose listens to you and understands your unique strategy and needs.
  • Technology: In many cases, technology is replacing and expanding current programs, but you can’t forget that you and your partner must take into account the changes to your processes and how they will impact your people.
  • Resources and Support: Engagement doesn’t end with the launch of new programs and software. It’s an ongoing process, which means you need ongoing resources and support for your internal team from the partner you choose.All of these can help you make the best possible choice for your unique organization.
One size does not fit all
There are many potential programs that can engage employees — no single program can do it all.

Ultimately, the most successful engagement initiatives start with a commitment and prioritization from the organization’s leadership. What do you want to accomplish and what programs can best sustain and align the outcomes that are unique for your organization?

When you focus on what’s right for your organization, you can more easily pick the partner with the right technology, experience, vision and support to meet your unique needs. Inspirus works with organizations to create employee engagement programs that bring joy to work, one experience at a time. Find out more by contacting us today.

 

CommIcon-01CHAPTER 18:  COMMUNICATION

How to Design a Recognition Program Communication Plan

Everybody likes a pat on the back.

Whether you praise a member of your team in front of the entire team or hand out gift cards to thank an employee for going the extra mile, recognizing the members of your team plays an integral role in boosting your company’s employee retention rate. The higher the employee retention rate, the less financial resources your company has to spend to recruit new team members.

There is no question that designing and implementing an employee recognition plan is good for business. The question then becomes: "How do communicate its importance across the entire organization?"

Here some things to keep in mind as you design and implement your recognition program communication plan.

First Things First: Know the Details

You can possess the smoothest communication skills on the planet, but your communication skills will fall short if you don't understand every detail of your company’s recognition program. Spend time reviewing every component of the program before you begin sharing information with your team. If you have a question or two, do not hesitate to lean on your internal champion or your recognition program expert for guidance.

Discuss the Objectives of the Recognition Program

Now for some nuts and bolts. First, explain to your team why the company has started an employee recognition program. Reasons can include better engagement, creating a higher energy work environment, improving morale, or whatever drives your company to start an employee recognition program. Then, explain how you plan to implement the employee recognition program.

Describe the Plan Details Through Smaller Group Meetings 

Sharing recognition processes begins with holding a meeting with every manager and supervisor at your company to explain the new recognition program in detail. Then, assign employees to each manager and supervisor so they can communicate the recognition processes to smaller groups. Preferably, you want department managers to explain the program to the team members working in their department.

Promote Recognition Events and Celebrations

You want to keep meetings to a minimum. After the explanatory meeting held in small groups, promote recognition events and celebrations by using other communication platforms. Create a short video promoting an upcoming recognition event, as well as make use of the company's social media properties to highlight an employee celebration that includes the participation of your loyal customers. The key is to generate a buzz surrounding a recognition event or celebration by using highly interactive platforms to get the word out.

Do Not Forget New Employees

It should not take a pandemic to highlight the importance of a strong onboarding program. New employees can move through an onboarding session at their own pace, including the section that describes the company’s employee recognition program. Give all your team members the option to learn more about the company employee recognition program by watching the same video presented to new employees.

Blended Use of Communication Tools

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of using a blended approach when choosing communication tools. Although digital tools like email and social media are popular and familiar, you still need to integrate print and personal interactions when designing and implementing a communication plan for an employee recognition program. How you blend communication tools depends on factors such as target audience and company culture.

Establish a Procedure for Questions and Concerns

Unveiling a new employee recognition program should generate plenty of questions, as well as a few concerns. How will the human resources department measure employee performance? Will there be employee appreciation days? The blended approach for communication tools also applies to employee questions and concerns. You can have employees email questions or concerns, as well as encourage them to ask questions and issue concerns on a one-on-one basis.

You'll want the members of your team to be engaged in the new employee recognition program. You can improve employee engagement by giving your team different options for reaching out with concerns and questions.

How is the Communications Plan Working?

Measuring the effectiveness of a communication plan for an employee recognition program comes in many forms. Here are some of the questions you should ask before setting up a measurement platform:

  • Do employees understand the key components of the recognition program?
  • Are employees responding to the program by taking action to improve performance?
  • Have you received feedback from enough members of your team?

Data-driven results should give you insight into how well the communication plan has educated your team members about the employee recognition plan. In turn, knowing how much your employees know about the recognition plan can give you a good indication of the return on your human resources investment.

Have a Good Time

Designing and implementing a communication plan for an employee recognition program does not have to be drudgery. In fact, you should have fun with the way you reach out and connect with the members of your team. One way is use the element of surprise hand out promotional gifts at unexpected times.

Above all else, you know your company and your culture best. Be thoughtful in how you share the program's objectives, celebrate its wins, keep everyone from the newest employee to the most tenured member up-to-speed, use the right tools, and keep things fun!

CommIcon-01CHAPTER 19: COMMUNICATION

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Communication Plan

If you think about it, every day we get out of bed means another day of having our performance measured. Whether you complete a project before the deadline at work or exceed the amount of time you typically ride a stationary bike at the gym, measuring success is an integral part of life. Even our kids measure us, although their measurements tend to be a bit on the subjective side.

When it comes to measuring the performance of a communication plan for an employee recognition program, you have several ways to gauge the success of your communication efforts.

Overview of a Communication Plan

When you plan a family vacation, you create a roadmap of where you want to go and when you want to get there. The same principle applies to a communication plan for an employee recognition program. You develop a roadmap that answers the following questions.

  • What are the goals?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • How often do you want to communicate with your target audience?
  • Which members of your team are responsible for communication?
  • What tools do you want to use to communicate effectively?

After you establish a strategy for implementing a communication plan for an employee recognition program, the next phase of the process is to decide on how you plan to measure the success of the plan.

Did the Target Audience Receive the Communication?

Since email remains the most popular method for communicating with professional peers, you can gain insight into how many of your team members received a particular message. A few of your emails might have gone to the wrong email address and then immediately bounced back into your inbox as failed deliveries.

You have to make sure your target audience receives your communications regardless of the method used to communicate. Otherwise, any information that you release about an employee recognition event goes unread.

When Did the Target Audience Access the Communication?

You might send out an email message that describes an upcoming employee appreciation day. You discover that every one of the messages reached the right employee. The issue now is to find out when each recipient of an email message opened the message. You can use a real-time analytics tool that tells you the date and time an employee opened an email message. A real-time analytics tool also lets you know which employees sent the email message straight to the trash bin.

Did the Target Audience Understand the Main Points of the Communication?

Personal interactions allow savvy managers to read the non-verbal cues that tell us much more than what comes out of someone’s mouth. Digital communication eliminates the non-verbal component of communicating with your team. The most effective way to measure whether your message got across to your team members is to include a sentence or two that asks for feedback or any questions. You can also embed a survey into an email that asks questions about an upcoming recognition event that you have described in the same message.

How Can You Improve Your Communication?

Look at your communication plan for an employee recognition program as a constantly running loop. At the end of the loop is an assessment about how you can make your communication plan more effective at reaching the target audience. Analyze what messages worked and what messages did not work. Then, make the changes required to make your communication plan clear, concise, and persuasive.

The Bottom Line

You devise an employee recognition program that keeps your team members engaged in the workforce. From celebrating milestones to highlighting performance achievements, recognizing employees goes a long way towards establishing a successful retention program. However, if you fail to measure the impact of your communication plan, all the innovative ideas that you came up with for an employee recognition program might never reach your target audience.

Implement simple, yet comprehensive measurements for a communication plan to imwprove how you communicate your company’s employee recognition program.

CommIcon-01CHAPTER 20: COMMUNICATION

Effective Communication During Training and Onboarding

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.

When it comes to introducing new hires to your company culture, the onboarding experience is a huge opportunity to communicate your mission, vision, and values from day one. Employees who feel connected to the company's "Why" bring more of themselves to work, are more productive, and more loyal.

Too often, companies settle for mundane orientation (paperwork, "here's the coffee maker," etc.) and think they've got an onboarding program. You can do better!

While sorting out those routine tasks are important for your new hire to become a productive member of the team, they do absolutely nothing to  nurture engagement or communicate the uniqueness of your company culture.

SHRM's New Employee Onboarding Guide offers some key questions you should answer and operationalize to give new employees that great first impression you're after:

  • When will onboarding start?
  • How long will it last?
  • What impression do you want new hires to walk away with at the end of the first day?
  • What do new employees need to know about the culture and work environment?
  • What role will HR play in the process? What about direct managers? Co-workers?
  • What kind of goals do you want to set for new employees?
  • How will you gather feedback on the program and measure its success?
Start Building Trust on Day One

Have you gone through a corporate training program that was held offsite that included several professional peers going through the same program? During the training sessions that lasted for several weeks, the head trainer spoke to the training class as a whole throughout the entire training period. However, did the head trainer ever pull you aside to determine how you were progressing through the training program?

Onboarding and training is the ideal time to establish the level of trust that puts new employees at ease. If new employees believe that you have their back, they are more likely to go all-in with your company. The attrition rate for onboarding and training can soar higher than 50 percent. Building trust through effective communication should lower your new employee attrition rate.

Provide Clear Direction

New employees want to know how to get from point A to point B. You give new employees direction during onboarding by describing the many ways members of your team can move up in your company. During training, providing direction is especially important during role-playing sessions. For example, a restaurant management training session that includes role-playing might ask each trainee to handle a customer complaint. The job of the training team is to give advice on how to handle customer complaints, as well as point out when a trainee succeeds in assisting a role-playing customer. Providing direction during training can help boost the confidence of every new employee.

Resolve Conflict

Conflict comes in many forms for new employees that go through the onboarding and training process. For onboarding, conflict can arise with the technology used to move a new employee through the process. For example, filling out onboarding paperwork by using an onsite Wi-Fi connection can lead to slow page downloads. An effective communicator stays on top of the progress of a new employee going through the onboarding process.

During training, conflict can arise between a new employee and a veteran employee, as well as between two trainees. Remaining calm and finding common ground are the keys to resolving conflicts through effective communication techniques.

Improve Engagement

Going through onboarding and training is like attending the first day of school. Trepidation runs through a new employee’s veins because of the fear caused by the unknown. As a human resources professional, it is your job to alleviate the tension many new employees have during onboarding and training. Making new team members feel at ease goes a long way towards improving employee engagement.

Encourages Team Development

You can promote teamwork until you turn blue in the face, and some, if not most of your employees will simply ignore your cry for team building. Effective communication during onboarding and training fosters the development of teamwork. Explain the importance of teamwork for your company during the video portion of onboarding, and then encourage teamwork by meeting with new trainees after every training session.

A Boost in Productivity

Rallying new employees during training to embrace teamwork is much more than an emotional appeal for unity. Teamwork also boosts employee productivity, whether it is a 20-year pro or a new employee that is still in training. Effective communication that encourages the development of teamwork is an essential component to increasing productivity.

Finally, effective communication during onboarding and training is the key to building lasting professional relationships. By using active listening skills, providing timely and relevant feedback, and helping develop skills that improve performance, new employees can build professional bonds with other team members that remain strong for years to come.

CommIcon-01CHAPTER 21: COMMUNICATION

Communication Tools for Your Recognition Program

Congrats! You've made the decision to design and implement an employee recognition program. In that case, you probably don't need to be sold on the many benefits a well-designed program will bring to your team. But, your recognition program is just like a beautifully-designed product: if nobody knows about it, it will languish in obscurity.

So, you'll need to market it, promote it, and nurture buy-in across the organization. In order to do that you'll need a stellar recognition program communication plan and you'll need to execute that plan using the right tools for the job.

Just as your company has its own individual culture, your company will want to use a unique mix of communication tools based on that culture. What works for you may not gel with another company and vice versa. Let's take a look at a handful of communication tools and vehicles you should consider:

  • Intranet
  • Employee Handbook
  • Internal Newsletter
  • Town Halls
  • Stand-ups and Team Meetings
  • Chat App
Intranet

If you have an intranet, it likely serves as Grand Central Station for your employees to store important information, communicate with one another, streamline standard processes, and encourage engagement.

Leverage that visibility to share the core tenets of your recognition program! Make sure your mission, vision, and values are reinforced every time an employee visits your hub for any reason.

Create a section on the intranet to encourage peer-to-peer recognition, celebrate recent accomplishments, and recognize years of service. Every opportunity you have to make your program visible will result in buy-in, participation, and contribute to success.

Employee Handbook

Almost every new team member will get a walkthrough of the employee handbook during their onboarding and training process. Be sure to include information about your employee recognition program in your handbook to get new hires off on the right foot.

Make engagement with your recognition platform a step in the onboarding process itself. Consider having a "Welcome to the Team!" message waiting for the new hire from their boss on the platform to set the right tone and to give them a chance to see a piece of your recognition program in action!

Company Newsletter

Whether your company still produces a print version of an internal newsletter or it's purely digital and shared via email or an intranet, capture some of that space each week, month, or quarter to spotlight components of your employee recognition program:

    • Highlight birthday’s
    • Congratulate service anniversaries
    • Feature stories on employees who live your values
    • Conduct a survey or poll
    • Announce special programs and events

Take it a step further and brand your newsletter in a way that reinforces your mission, vision, and values!

Stand-ups and Team Meetings

"Don't tell me. Show me."

Morning stand-ups and regular team meetings are the perfect venue to communicate the value of your recognition program by putting it into practice.

If someone did a great job, celebrate it! Model peer-to-peer recognition to show members of the team how it works. To ensure it's being practiced across the organization, provide managers with a few simple examples or scripts to help them get moving.

Town Halls

Again, your organization's culture is important to consider here as well as how comfortable employees and managers are with public recognition. In some cases, nothing could be more meaningful than an acknowledgement by the CEO in front of the entire company, and in others, nothing could be more terrifying.

But, when an individual or team has made a monumental contribution to the organization, don't waste the opportunity to shine some light on them during a town hall. Not only does it show those employees how much they're valued, it shows everyone in attendance that your organization is a place where contributions are recognized and celebrated!

Chat App

Whether your company uses Slack, Teams, or another real-time chat application, find a few ways to integrate your recognition program and your culture of recognition into the app.

Create a #celebrate channel to share peer-to-peer and service recognition milestones. Allow team members to pat each other on the back and share their wins.

Be sure to pin a link to your employee handbook or a page on your intranet with more details about your employee recognition program to make it easy for team members to learn more.

Recognition programs are a great way to acknowledge employees when celebrating a service anniversary or acknowledging an employee’s great contributions, but such programs can encompass so much more.

According to WorldatWork’s Trends in Employee Recognition:

    • Create: 77% of respondents use recognition to create a positive work environment.
    • Encourage: 71% of respondents use recognition to encourage high performance.
    • Support: 64% of respondents use recognition to support their organization’s mission.

“Recognition is an opportunity to reinforce the things that are important to a company, the clients that they serve and how they would like people to behave with one another in the organization,” says Theresa Harkins, senior vice president of customer experience.

No matter the phase of your organization’s current recognition program, there are a few ways to help your program become even more effective over time. Here are three ways you can step up your organization’s recognition efforts.

Communicating your larger purpose

Being able to convey your organization’s larger mission and using a recognition strategy to link employee achievements back to a bigger purpose helps align employee behavior with company values. An effective way to keep communications and your larger mission on the same page is to develop a communications strategy that’s tied to your recognition program.

An effective strategy can be developed by:

    • Creating a simple message
    • Pinpointing opportunities to convey this message on a consistent basis
    • Finding influencers in the workplace that can help spread the word

When employees display company values, it’s important to find opportunities to recognize them and to highlight their example for others to follow. In some industries, it’s not uncommon for organizations to make customers aware of employees that have gone above and beyond. For example, many airlines will highlight company employees’ service to others in a section of their in-flight magazine.

Creating a digital and experiential component to recognition

Using a multi-faceted approach to recognizing employees for length of service or substantial achievements can resonate with employees long after their award is received. Digital e-cards or a fun video message can be a great way for an employee’s peers to participate in a recognition event. A physical award can be provided during the event and additional mementos can be personalized afterwards. “I can remember an award I received and during the event, a colleague took a photo during the ceremony and framed it in a Lucite frame, along with a hand-written note,” says Harkins. “I think being able to carry that through is meaningful and gives a great opportunity to reinforce the moment again. It’s also a physical keepsake that can be displayed and shared with others.”

Employees can be recognized not only for the support they bring to an organization, but also for contributions to the local community. This can be done by creating memorable experiences and volunteer opportunities that lead back to the company’s mission and values. Employees who facilitate a campaign for a local food bank or help build a home through Habitat for Humanity can be commended by co-workers and managers with a personalized digital e-card message that highlights their service to others.

Measuring results with metrics and analytics

It’s also critical to track the results of your program. Develop key performance indicators that measure your current program offerings. Analytic reports display real-time data allowing you to determine which program components are helping to drive engagement as well as pinpoint where improvements can be made.

Metrics can allow you to see which employees and which departments are using program features like sending recognition, redeeming points, or signing up for events most often. For example, if data shows that some managers are not fully utilizing a program’s features within their department, it can be an opportunity for training on those specific program features.

When your company is ready to take its engagement platform to the next phase, the change doesn’t need to be drastic. Starting out with communicating a program’s larger purpose, providing a variety of engagement options and measuring results can work wonders to keep employees remaining engaged and involved in your recognition program’s efforts.

Some employees thrive in a bustling environment where there’s always excitement, team collaborations and discussing new ideas in a group setting. Others prefer a quieter setting where they can focus on the details of a project they are working on, talk one-on-one with a colleague or gather their thoughts ahead of a meeting.

Both extrovert and introvert personalities bring unique attributes that benefit the workplace, however there are characteristics that are more associated with each personality type. Generally speaking, extroverts are revitalized by spending time with others, whereas introverts recharge through taking some time for themselves. With that said, many individuals don’t fall distinctly in one category or another, but are often a blend of the two to a certain degree.

It’s important for managers to consider the role personality can play in how an individual prefers to be recognized and rewarded. For example, an introvert may be more comfortable with being acknowledged for a large accomplishment in front of their team, as opposed to the entire company during a meeting (whereas some extroverts might be thrilled with the latter option).

By taking time to get to know your employees’ personal preferences for being recognized, you’ll validate their achievements in a way that makes them feel valued and understood. You may also find that many employees like a blend of both introverted and extroverted recognition styles, depending on the situation.

When recognizing people, remember to make statements about specific accomplishments or contributions instead of obvious traits. If the recipient is a graphic designer, everyone knows they’re creative, but they may not know about the recipient’s keen attention to detail or how they specifically helped on a project.

Here are four opportunities to tailor your recognition to align with your individual employees.

Work Achievements

When an employee does a spectacular job on a project or goes above and beyond to help the team, there are multiple ways you can let them know that you noticed and appreciate all of their hard work.

Introvert: May prefer being recognized during a weekly status meeting amongst their closest colleagues or receiving a personalized memento to keep at their desk.

Extrovert: May enjoy being recognized in front of a larger group, such as during a department meeting, and may even be comfortable getting up in front of the group to say a few words as well.

Birthdays

How people chose to celebrate their birthdays can be as unique as the individual. Once you’ve determined if an employee wants to celebrate their birthday at work, the options can range from a group card and balloons to an after-work outing.

Introvert: May prefer keeping it simple, where a group card with a gift card to a favorite restaurant would suffice. They may also like having their birthday celebrated along with others who share their birthday month with cake or a catered lunch for the office.

Introverts may like:

  • Personal recognition message via email or recognition platform
  • Being recognized one-on-one or with their immediate team
  • Receiving recognition from peers on a recognition platform
  • A thank you card with gift card to a favorite coffee shop or fast casual restaurant
  • Being treated to coffee or lunch

Extrovert: May prefer a surprise, such as a decorated desk or office before they arrive in the morning, having flowers delivered to the office or having a surprise lunch or cake in their honor.

Extroverts may like:

  • Recognition in front of a large group
  • A team lunch or after-work outing
  • Direct recognition from leadership
  • Being awarded a gift card or award during a meeting
  • An interactive or video message from the whole team
Service Anniversary

An employee celebrating 10 years with a company or retiring and starting their next chapter are major career milestones that can be commemorated in ways that are both personal and congratulatory.

Introvert: May prefer personalized messages from their team and co-workers, a personalized award, and being allotted extra PTO or points to pick out a memorable gift to acknowledge their years of dedication. Those retiring may prefer a casual get-together planned off-site or a mini-party with afternoon cake and coffee served.

Extrovert: May prefer something more interactive such as a video compilation of messages from their co-workers, recognition during a company-wide meeting, or a planned team activity to honor their milestone.

Recognition can (and should) be reflective of the preferences and personalities of the individuals that make your team dynamic. Discovering how your employees like to be acknowledged and rewarded not only brings more meaning to the act of recognition, but also fosters a greater understanding of the diverse talent that contribute to your organization. By taking the time to get to know employees’ recognition preferences you’ll be able to honor their achievements in ways that authentically resonate with them.

What’s a common factor in boosting employee engagement, retention rates, and overall culture? Employee appreciation.

When employees feel appreciated, it can significantly boost morale and engagement. A study by EY found that 31 percent of employees would look for another job if they felt excluded [1]. Even simple gestures like saying “thank you” or publicly acknowledging a job well done can boost retention. According to one study, this is more important than a salary increase!

Most importantly, showing appreciation through recognition or points program best practices aligns employees around the values of your company. Employees can see what’s important to you, and consistently model these values in the workplace.

We’ll explain how leaders or managers can show employees that they’re valuing what you value in your organization’s culture. But first, let’s look at the current state of the workforce and what to do about it: current engagement figures, what employees’ value, and how you can help satisfy their needs.

How Recognition Increases Engagement

Employees’ engagement in the US has hovered around 30 percent for nearly the past 20 years, as long as Gallup has been tracking the figure.

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FinanceBudgetIcon-01CHAPTER 25:  FINANCE & BUDGET

Making the Business Case for an Employee Engagement Program

Employee Disengagement has Financial Implications

Employee engagement has grown in awareness and importance over the past decade, beyond human resources and into the offices of executives and organizational leaders. Why? Because extensive research by Gallup found that, on average, 17.2 percent of an organization’s workforce is actively disengaged. Gallup describes an actively disengaged worker as someone who is “unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers.” In other words, they are people who don’t like their job and aren’t afraid to let others know about it.

Gallup also found that an actively disengaged employee costs their organization $3,400 for every $10,000 of salary, or 34 percent. That means an actively disengaged employee who makes $60,000 a year costs their company $20,400 a year! Couple that with Gartner research, which found a 13% increase in the number of high-potential, disengaged employees desiring to leave their current companies and you'll see why engagement, or lack thereof, can impact a companies financial health. 

According to Gallup's Employee Engagement and Performance Study (2020), developing highly engaged teams results in fewer negative outcomes, more positive outcomes and greater business success:

81% less
absenteeism

63% decrease
in employee turnover

18% increase
in productivity

23% increase
in profitability

So, let's connect the dots and build a case for an employee engagement program. 

From Concept to Action

It can be tough to go from awareness of employee engagement to actually addressing it. The answers aren’t always clear, especially for an issue that spans the entire workforce. It’s perfectly natural to struggle with important questions, such as:

  • How do we know what employee engagement activities create the right path for improving engagement across our organization and with respect to our unique needs?
  • Where do we start when it comes to navigating a market full of confusing technology products and we aren’t making major technology purchases every day?
  • How do we change attitudes about the importance of employee engagement and build leadership accountability?

Employee engagement is too important to ignore, for employees and company leadership. That’s why we’re here —  to help you understand the advantages of an engagement platform, learn best practices for employee engagement strategies that will get leadership to buy into a plan, and guide you step-by-step to build your case.

How an Engagement Platform Can Solve Engagement Issues

Most organizations are already addressing engagement in some way. Your organization is probably in that same position, too. We find it’s typical for multiple engagement programs and employee engagement activities to be spread across different areas of the same company.

There is a perfectly good explanation for this. For example, well-being might be closely tied to a benefits program. Rewards and recognition has often been the domain of compensation experts. Learning and safety programs often fall under completely different areas of the organization. The technology that supported all of these programs were siloed, so even if you wanted employee engagement under a single area of the business, it would be difficult to manage.

As you’ve probably experienced, these disparate programs make it difficult to get your employee engagement strategies moving in the same direction. Even if you do get everything moving in the right direction, programs very rarely interact well with one another and it’s nearly impossible to measure the effectiveness and make adjustments to them.

That’s why putting your employee engagement programs under a single platform is such a relief. It helps organizations:

  • Unify people, engaging them across multiple programs with a single easy-to-use platform
  • Unify processes, so you don’t need to work across silos and disparate technologies to make adjustments to engagement programs
  • Unify technology, with one place for your employees to access all of the programs that matter to them and one platform for you to manage

With a unified engagement platform, businesses have a simpler way to fully manage all the programs that touch employees and encourage performance.

Getting Executive and Leadership Buy-in

It’s easy to see why people are so excited about the advantages of a comprehensive engagement platform. The first step to implementing it is to start getting buy-in from the rest of your leadership team.

An engagement platform is more than just a technology pitch. It’s a people and process pitch, too. If people see that organizational leaders aren’t using an engagement platform and don’t see the importance, it won’t matter how many bells and whistles it has. So, hHow can you start engaging with your executive and organizational leaders? Well, it all depends on where your organization is as a whole.

For example, if the rest of your leadership team doesn’t agree that engagement is an issue for the organization, you aren’t going to start by pitching them technology. You’ll have to take a step back with those leaders and show them that engagement is something that can and should be managed — even if they feel it’s under control. This is often a conversation that really focuses on the type of culture you want your organization to build. It can be slow going, but you can share a success story about what Southwest Airlines has done to show the results of those efforts.

Other executives might argue that technology doesn’t play a significant role. In most of the business world, technology helps guide your people and processes. Although technology solutions like Outlook and sharing platforms like SharePoint aren’t absolutely necessary, not many could argue that they don’t help encourage communication and collaboration. Engagement platforms work the same way — they combine multiple, formerly disparate programs and encourage engagement in a strategic way.

If there is an openness to an engagement solution, the time is right to put a solid business case in front of your executives that helps illuminate key issues and bring a possible solution to light.

Step by Step: Building a Business Case for Engagement

If you’ve made it this far, that’s great. You’re ready to build a business case that will get your leadership team as excited as you are about creating better employee engagement and investing in a platform.

If you haven’t built a business case for a new technology purchase — or if you’ve never had to do it formally — there are five critical components to include. You can present a business case as a written document, or you can use this format as the basis for your presentation.

Regardless of the format, you should build out these five components so you can successfully articulate why a unified engagement platform makes sense for your organization. For each section, we’ll also give you a brief example of what you might cover as part of it.

1. An executive summary

In two or three paragraphs (or one or two slides, if you’re doing a presentation), you’ll want to summarize your proposal. This should include a succinct argument for the critical business drivers, the benefits of engagement, potential risks and a possible solution. As you create this summary, you should keep your audience in mind. If they were to read only this summary, would they understand the problem you are addressing and the solution you are proposing?

Example:

ACME Co. has long been a leader in our industry. Over the last five years, though, it’s been more difficult to recruit new employees and our voluntary turnover rate has increased. When we investigated core reasons for this, we found that employee engagement is a major issue. We believe that unifying our existing engagement programs under a single technology platform will help us encourage engagement, lower costs, increase productivity, reduce voluntary turnover and ultimately help ACME Co. become more profitable.

2. Addressing the overarching issue

This isn’t about your problems or what you’re trying to solve for yourself. This section is about focusing on the business and workforce drivers that are pushing you to recommend a shift in technology. A good example of a workforce driver might be higher turnover or low engagement. A business driver might be increased productivity or decreased staffing costs. If you’ve done internal research on these issues, this would be a valuable place to share it with your leadership team.

Example:

Over the last five years, the median age of ACME Co.’s workforce has increased dramatically while our voluntary turnover, especially among midlevel employees, has shot up more than 10 percent. Our training and recruiting costs have increased as a result of this challenge. In our latest survey to our employees, we found engagement to be an issue, with only 25 percent of employees identifying as engaged. The possible disruption to our business and an unsustainable cost increase are inevitable unless we take action.

3. Current state of engagement technology in your organization

In this section, you should be covering the landscape of technologies that currently touch the workforce in engaging ways. Your audience may not know how big and disparate all these technologies truly are. Address the ways that they are working today and the ways they could be improved. Specific examples of strategy or execution frustrations and challenges are important to highlight here as well.

Example:

When we looked at how we were engaging employees, we saw several issues. Our current rewards and recognition solution is really only focused on milestone celebrations, and with 59 percent of our employees not even reaching the first major milestone at five years, they were never formally recognized. Other solutions that we know drive engagement, such as well-being and learning, are focused primarily on cost containment and compliance, respectively. The engagement of employees really rests on the shoulders of managers, and the results are rightfully inconsistent across the entire organization.

4. The proposed solution

A proposed solution isn’t just an engagement platform technology. You’re also proposing a people and process change that needs to accompany it as well. This section should explore the potential benefits, downsides, costs and risks of rolling out a new engagement platform. This is also the appropriate section to cover the cost and risks of the alternatives, whether that’s continuing to use your current technology platforms or doing nothing.

Example:

My team and I began to investigate solution alternatives and found a compelling choice with Inspirus’ employee engagement platform. The platform will replace our existing recognition and well-being solution, and add formal safety and performance programs, which we had investigated separately. The cost structure doesn’t change significantly and we see minimal risk, given the low current usage of existing technologies. We believe that alternative solutions aren’t as comprehensive and that doing nothing will lead to continued inconsistent engagement results and steadily increasing turnover.

5. What outcomes to expect from an engagement platform

This is the last part of the presentation or document where you lay out the specific timelines and ways a better engagement solution can help improve your programs. Leadership teams care about one important thing: results. So make sure you don’t shy away from the outcomes you’re expecting, whether it’s ROI, expected impact on engagement, costs, or reduced business or workforce risks.

Example:

In talking in depth with the Inspirus team, they’ve been able to roll out similar projects with companies our size in approximately nine months. Once fully implemented, we expect the platform to reach 80 percent of the workforce on a monthly basis, with nearly 100 percent participation over the course of each quarter. We’ll create a rollout plan and manager training program — and it will require all of our leadership to participate as well. After one year, we expect our engagement scores to increase by at least 10 percent and we project five-year turnover numbers to drop by 8 percent. Assuming we’re able to do this, we hope to decrease the use of outside staffing resources by 5 percent in as soon as two years.

As you’re going through this process, you can always contact Inspirus if you have any questions. We’ll be able to connect you with the right resources, and if you need them, possible references to help you tell the right story to the rest of your leadership team.

We understand a unified employee engagement platform better than anyone since we offered the first truly comprehensive solution. We can tell you the ways our customers have been successful, and guide and support you in your quest for better employee engagement.

Additional Resources to Help Build Your Case

Unifying Employee Engagement Technology — How can your organization unify engagement technologies? Understand the inherent issues with unifying so many disparate employee engagement technologies and explore the possibility of uniting them under a single technology platform.

Employee Engagement: Getting a Complete Picture of the Employee Experience — Engagement is about the entire employee experience. Business leaders and C-suite executives put employee engagement at the top of their to-do lists. But executing on that idea requires a holistic look at the employee experience and a solution that spans multiple touch points.

Case Study: Southwest Airlines — How do you link company values to every recognition and incentive program? Inspirus created a platform for Southwest Airlines that allowed the company to consolidate all of its recognition and incentive programs into one enterprise-wide system.

 

FinanceBudgetIcon-01CHAPTER 26:  FINANCE & BUDGET

Measuring the True ROI of Your Recognition Program

Recognition is crucial to an organization’s engagement strategy. Like most leaders, you intrinsically know recognition supports your organization’s productivity and top-line growth. But, how do you prove it to other executives who are looking for a return on the investment in a recognition program?

While no organization is the same, there are four key areas to consider as you look to quantify the value of your recognition program.

Recognition fosters a sense of belonging that unlocks employee potential

In EY’s Belonging Barometer study, the authors write that employees are increasingly looking for belonging at work. “In fact,” the report states, “research shows that when people feel like they belong, they are more productive, motivated and engaged and are 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their full, innovative potential.”

Public recognition is one action employers can take to increase this sense of belonging. Employees feel like they belong when their managers publicly acknowledge their contributions, but it doesn’t have to be just managers. Small acts of praise can happen anywhere and by anyone, from leaving a sticky note on someone’s desk to leaving a comment on an engagement platform.

These everyday acts of public recognition enhance the employee experience and create an inclusive workplace culture. In the Belonging Barometer study, 34% of respondents also said they feel they belong most when their unique contributions are valued.

One important point about recognition is that acts of recognition must be tied to company values in order to build a sense of belonging that matters for organizations. For example, a program that embodies company values — such as going the extra mile for the client, being a team player, or suggesting an innovative idea that helps the company — will ensure alignment across the organization on its mission, driving value over time. If organizations focus on listening to employees and using that input to create a positive workplace culture, they will deliver on the promise of employee fulfillment and business success.

How to Create a Sense of Belonging

There are several ways you can create a sense of belonging through a recognition program.

    • Share the success. Researchers at MIT’s Sloan School of Management found that leaders who take credit for successes kill the culture. Instead, share the project’s success by inviting the team into the process. “One leader,” they write, “brought team members to a high-profile client meeting, allowing employees to see firsthand the impact they were making.
    • Have weekly video calls with your remote workers. Recognition is often informal, over drinks or in the halls between meetings. But because workers are distributed to many teams in many time zones, remote workers don’t get that same level of attention. By setting up weekly video calls with your remote (or office) workforce, you’re able to give more consistent, informal feedback to empower your team.
    • Start a shoutout wall. Many companies use digital “walls” for posting social feedback and recognition, but a physical wall is a great way to get smaller teams and departments involved. Post sticky notes with your team member’s name on it, write down their contribution and which company value it’s tied to, and post it on the wall to publicly show how valuable that team member is to you.
Recognition can help lower employee turnover

By creating a culture of trust and belonging, and then keeping your employees motivated within that culture, you can see real ROI in your workforce. A sense of belonging through recognition is more important than ever because turnover is on the rise.

In 2018, over 40 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in the US, a number that has increased for the ninth consecutive year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, data from the Work Institute shows that 77% of this turnover is preventable.

One way to curtail turnover is through recognition. The American Psychological Association (APA) identified six organizations with healthy workplace practices. In those organizations, 91% of employees said their employers valued recognition.

Recognition can encourage employee trust and drive revenue growth

Everyone knows creating value in an organization is mostly about ROI. Leaders at McKinsey wrote a classic book on value creation, in which they said, “The faster companies can grow their revenues and deploy more capital at attractive rates of return, the more value they create. In short, the combination of growth and return on invested capital (ROIC) drives value and value creation. ”

This applies to your talent and culture as much as anything else. For example, research by Accenture has shown that a decrease in trust has a negative impact on revenue growth.

By recognizing employees for their achievements objectively — and tying it to organizational goals — you can build a culture of recognition that increases trust, enhances the employee experience, and encourages growth. A positive employee experience matters more for companies who look to make an ROI case for recognition.

Research from Accenture has shown that companies with great employee experience outperform the S&P 500 by 122%.

Recognition increases motivation, productivity, and engagement

One further step in driving value in the company through recognition is to increase motivation at the individual employee level. Many studies have shown that increased engagement rates lead to increased motivation, which leads to increased productivity.

A salary is traditionally seen as the biggest motivating factor for employees. Yet employees are motivated by many aspects of their work outside of pay, like culture and values of the organization, leadership quality, and career opportunities at the company.

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FinanceBudgetIcon-01CHAPTER 27:  FINANCE & BUDGET

Motivation You Can Measure™: How to Calculate ROI

More and more organizations are moving toward centralized reward and recognition programs for greater program efficiency and effectiveness. Yet, far too many are failing to take what may be the most important step toward reaching these goals. That crucial step is proving their program’s return on investment (ROI) through a process that is specific, well-designed, practical and ultimately converts the results of the program into monetary values that the company’s executive team and program leadership cannot only support, but embrace.

Business impact data must be converted into monetary values and presented in a compelling format to have an effect on leadership. Inspirus—a company that offers recognition and rewards solutions that combine professional services with unmatched rewards designed to not only inspire employees, but also drive measurable performance results—knows this to be true.

Too often, C-suite executives and program leadership never get to see the kind of business-driven data they can convert them into active proponents of recognition and rewards programs. They simply don’t get the documented evidence they need to support program managers who know recognition has a meaningful impact on the bottom line of the business.

But even without formal training or experience in this area, the recognition program manager can pull together a business case—if they have a partner to help them and a map showing them the way

This paper offers an innovative approach for assessing the ROI for recognition programs. It is an approach that provides a picture of recognition ROI that is meaningful, defendable and able to support the development of any organization’s recognition program.

Page 75

The paper is divided into four sections:

  1. Return on Investment and Return on Recognition (ROR) Defined
  2. The ROI Process: Implementation and Barriers
  3. Best Practices
  4. Measurement Model
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