I had the honor and privilege of joining Katie Scott, LSI’s director of compensation, for a webinar hosted by HCI yesterday. In the “3 Steps to Accelerating Engagement: The LSI Success Story” webinar (available for replay here), Katie went through their ambition for strategic recognition and the results they realized in just a few short months.
Global Recognition Works
A strongly engineering focused company, LSI is growing globally very rapidly with a very diverse employee population, including a large percentage of employees in India and China. Since one of the questions I’m frequently asked is “does recognition even work in Asia/Pacific countries,” I asked Katie if this was a problem for LSI.
On the contrary, LSI had universal acceptance of the program, though Katie pointed out one area of resistance. Managers with longer tenure were more wedded to their former version of “big bang” recognition – infrequent recognition with a fairly significant cash reward given only for extremely above and beyond behaviors.
Since the new “Catch the Spark” strategic recognition program is more focused on every day appreciation and recognition of employees who live LSI’s values in their daily work, LSI continues to work on re-educating these managers on the power and importance of frequent, timely recognition with much lower-value non-cash rewards.
Non-Cash Recognition Works Better
This approach to non-cash recognition is critical and was a key internal selling point for Katie and her team when presenting their goals for a new recognition program to their executive team. Katie shared a story about that executive meeting. When she was explaining why cash is not king in strategic recognition, one of the SVPs in the meeting said she had just given her subordinate, “Pam,” one of the standard $200 cash awards under the old recognition program (which was distributed through payroll in the regular pay slip). The SVP asked Pam, “What did you do with your reward?”
As is typical, Pam replied, “I didn’t even realize I received it.”
As I’ve said before, cash is transactional, recognition is emotional. They cater to two very different parts of our minds and psyches. Non-cash rewards that don’t disappear in a pay slip create a “stickiness” by creating an emotional, meaningful connection.
Impressive Program Results
The results LSI has achieved in just a few months are very impressive:
- On target to touch 75-80% of employees with recognition in the first year (which is best practice)
- Awards distribution is a perfect picture with the highest volume of awards being distributed at the lowest award level, which allows for more frequent, timely recognition with no increase to the program budget (again, this is best practice).
- “Catch the Spark” has become part of the lingo of LSI and is heard frequently in hallways and meetings when discussing the good work people do.
- And LSI is able to see how their employees are living the company values. I’ve included below one chart from the presentation. As Katie said: “Being able to show the executive team a pie chart like this that clealry illustrates our number 1 value being lived every day by our employee is customer success – how great is that?”
I do encourage you to watch the entire webinar to hear Katie discuss in more detail how the dynamic program UI catered to their very engineering-oriented culture, how the global rewards structure and multi-lingual platform catered to the unique needs of all employees around the world, and how the measurement and reporting tools directly in the program are driving behavior change.
About Derek Irvine
The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.