Fintan Connolly: As Global eCommerce Manager for Globoforce, Connolly leads a team of experts distributed across diverse geographies to manage and build the world’s most expansive and exciting employee eCommerce network. Connolly is currently Board Secretary for the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), and he has served on the IMA Europe Chapter Board.
In today’s ever-expanding global economy, multinational companies with culturally diverse employee groups need to adopt new and creative ways to engage employees and reward performance across their organizations, says a new white paper from the Incentive & Engagement Solution Providers (IESP).
Before addressing some of the specifics of “Overcoming Challenges to Recognizing Performance in a Multicultural Workforce,” it’s helpful to look at the dramatic transformation happening in today’s workplaces.
Organizations need to win the hearts and minds of employees by providing positive experiences where they feel inspired to do their best work. This “human era” embodies a time when work has the potential to be a more rewarding experience for employees.
Seeing firsthand how this battle for their hearts and minds is played out daily through their workplace experiences, organizations are quickly re-examining their employees’ experiences at work as a path to improved job performance and sustained competitive advantage.
Well-designed recognition programs can be a significant contributor to a rewarding work experience. Providing reward options that are relevant to specific cultures and geographies helps employees feel more respected and appreciated while also gaining a greater sense of how attuned the organization is to their needs.
Companies should be prepared to address several questions when mapping out an international recognition program.
The IESP white paper also addressed adherence to government regulations. It’s important for global program managers to ask about tax compliance when developing their programs. If the program is audited, proof of compliance will be needed.
Another key element of achieving a human workplace, through positive employee experiences lies in social recognition. An important finding outlined in the 2016 Employee Recognition Survey, published by Globoforce and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation, is that social recognition programs tied to organizational values can outperform other programs in terms of delivering a return on investment, reinforcing corporate values and maintaining a strong employer brand. When it comes to achieving a more human workplace through the power of social recognition, it’s important for organizations to consider the following.
The Employee Recognition Survey, which surveyed nearly 800 HR leaders, indicates that organizations that dedicate 1 percent or more of payroll to values-based rewards and recognition are more likely to perceive greater impacts on retention and financial outcomes. Additionally, HR leaders with values-based recognition programs in place are three-and-a-half times more likely to say their program helps HR professionals attract new job candidates, and two times more likely to help retain employees (88 percent vs. 44 percent).
Well-designed recognition programs can be a significant contributor to a rewarding work experience.
In contrast, companies that do not invest in values-based recognition are five times more likely to rate their recognition program as poor, compared to companies that spend 1 percent or more.
The challenge many companies face today is how to make core company values practicable. Considering social recognition is designed with awards that specifically map back to each value, it integrates those ideals into employees’ everyday thoughts and actions. Ultimately, giving and receiving visible recognition throughout an organization helps establish connections between employees, while also reinforcing behaviors that drive the culture of an organization.
While managers play a prominent role in employees’ performance and growth, the reality is an employee’s colleagues are often more knowledgeable about their co-workers’ contributions, behaviors and achievements than senior leaders. That’s why it’s important to provide employees with the power to recognize, praise and appreciate one another in meaningful ways. According to the Employee Experience Index, 83 percent of employees report a positive employee experience when they feel recognized through awards and other means for the good work they do.
Fostering co-worker relationships is one way to empower employees to recognize each other. In fact, when those relationships are present in the workplace, employees report a much more positive employee experience than when that support is absent (77 percent compared to 35 percent). Co-worker relationships start with common connections and similarities between colleagues, but can be amplified through company outings and social events, and even company-wide celebrations. Years of service anniversaries, for example, offer the opportunity for an entire company to take part in celebrating their colleagues’ contributions, creating powerful moments of inspiration, gratitude and recognition.
As managers and team members increasingly travel and work remotely, there is often a time gap following a recognition moment. The result is a squandered opportunity to reinforce the desired behaviors and employee performance that enhance and transform a company’s culture. By utilizing mobile social recognition solutions, managers and peers can give, receive, approve and redeem recognition awards — anywhere and anytime — thereby ensuring strong performance and desired behaviors never get missed or remembered incorrectly. Through recognition that is timely, values-driven and open to all employees, companies can build more connected and fully engaged workforces.
Further guidelines for addressing the needs of a multi-generational workforce include:
Make it matter — Help employees see the meaning and purpose in their work by uniting them behind the company vision and inciting passion to achieve company objectives.
Reward frequently and in a timely manner — Make sure the recognition moment closely follows the act that is being recognized to ensure the act is top-of-mind.
Give the reward of choice — Cater to the demographic of a global, multigenerational workforce and their unique needs by letting them invest in their communities with broad, local choice.
Involve everyone — Move beyond traditional elitist programs that only target the top 10 percent to involve up to 90 percent of employees in a culture of recognition.
Measure results to ensure success — When measured appropriately, recognition can reveal patterns of behaviors and understanding of company values and objectives.
Feedback and recognition of performance are critical to positive employee experiences, as well as opportunities for professional development and growth. The Employee Experience Index shows that 83 percent of employees who receive recognition for their performance, and 80 percent of those who receive feedback, report a positive employee experience.
Employees’ attitudes toward change and optimism for the future correlate with both recognition efforts and efforts to build a more human workplace. Employees trust colleagues most, but it is trust for leaders that most impacts culture. C&IT