Archive for the "Customer Stories & Insights" Category

Work Worth Doing with Quintiles

If you enjoyed the DHL webinar, you may also want to view the webinar with Quintiles on their Work Worth Doing strategic employee recognition program.

IN 2004, new hire retention was a major priority for improvement for Quintiles. Leadership saw employee recognition as a away to achieve that objective. Even though 63% of employees in 2004 said managers gave adequate praise and recognition, Quintiles by no means felt this was a satisfactory level of achievement. Given the global footprint of Quintiles, leadership also realized recognition demanded a globally consistent solution and teams that spanned across many regions. Internal studies also showed more engaged groups had higher customer loyalty making engagement of strategic importance.

Recognizing exceptional behaviors that demonstrated company values to foster engagement led to the name of the recognition program: Work Worth Doing. And employees are responding with a four-fold increase in usage of the new recognition program over previous version. All employees are eligible to participate in all five award levels, which is effecting positive change and greater engagement across the company. The ease of use of the program and individual choice of reward experience is also highly valued with employees able to choose the experience they want – shopping, dining, playing – anywhere in the world.

In just 13 months, Quintiles has seen dramatic success with Work Worth Doing:
• New hire retention is up to 90%
• Managers providing recognition increased to 78%
• Employees in all countries have been touched
• Averaging over 2,300 awards per month – a five-fold increase from the previous program – while reducing cost per award by half

If you’d like to see the full webinar with Quintiles, please register to download the webinar.

First Choice Honors with DHL

DHL Global Forwarding’s Senior Director of Talent Management, Brent Biedermann, recently joined me for a webinar on how they’ve applied the five tenets of strategic recognition within their First Choice Honors program, which was designed to improve the overall experience of DHL customers and employees.

DHL wanted to create a consolidated employee recognition program based on a foundation of behavior, essentially getting people to understand what they can do and how they can behave to bring value to the organization. In creating this new structure, DHL wanted to move away from their old disparate structure in which not all employees were eligible to participate, detracting from the ability to create a culture of appreciation. DHL also wanted to eliminate the catalog approach to rewards as the selection was not connecting with employees on a meaningful level. A critical aspect to include, however, was a strategic, global approach that could translate easily across multiple geographic regions.

With Globoforce, DHL was able to foster a culture of recognition based on performance excellence. Very easy to use, the First Choice Honors program ties every employee recognition to a strategic and operational goal and the behaviors that bring results to the business. Employees are particularly excited they can nominate other employees for recognition.

The global reward choice available through Globoforce gave DHL’s employees the flexibility and choice they wanted. Brent shared the story of one employee who came to him to show a new camera accessory she had selected, saying: “Look what I got with my award. I wanted to show you because I’m thrilled I got to choose this for myself. I’m so glad we’ve opened the program to everyone.”

Recognizing Fairmont

Workspan magazine, the member publication of WorldatWork, recently published an excellent case study on Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ Strategic Employee Recognition Program. A few highlights from the article:

In the hospitality industry, service is directly tied to the bottom line, so innovative companies must create an employee engagement strategy that is motivating and meaningful to all employees. Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has done just that with its Serviceplus Colleague Recognition Program. The one-of-a-kind strategic program embraces and communicates the company’s core values while helping create an engaged culture where its 30,000 employees — also called “colleagues” — deliver on the company’s mission and are fully committed to their day-to-day work, team, management and organization.

Since launching the program in May 2007, Fairmont has seen impressive improvement regarding employee recognition. In fact, according to the company’s most recent employee engagement survey, the following survey items have shown significant increases:
• I’m recognized for a job well done.
• The best performers receive the greatest recognition.
• I’m recognized in ways that have special meaning to me.

In addition, since the program’s launch, employee surveys and qualitative feedback have shown that employee engagement at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has increased significantly.

Of note from the employer perspective: In a recent BusinessWeek and J.D. Power & Associates survey, Fairmont scored third place overall out of the 50 best providers of customer service across a variety of industries in the Customer Service Champions survey. And Maclean’s magazine has rated Fairmont as one of Canada’s top 100 employers for eight years running.

Fairmont continues to see vast increases in the use of Serviceplus, and the engagement factor of employees continues to rise. Serviceplus has helped Fairmont extend its global presence beyond Canadian borders and encourages employees worldwide to celebrate the exceptional work their colleagues do every day, whether it’s given right on the spot, weekly, monthly or annually.

We’re pleased to be in partnership with Fairmont and wish them continued success.

What’s All the Recognition Fuss About?

Quite a lot, actually. The news headlines around the world in the last couple of weeks have been nailing bailed-out banks to the wall for trying to continue with traditional employee recognition junkets, senior executive bonuses and other schemes that are ill-conceived in the best of times but in this economy show how truly out of touch these executives have become.

A quick listing of just some of the latest headlines:

• Major U.S. bank Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf actually took out a full-page advert in several major U.S. newspapers (text available here) to justify its since cancelled Las Vegas junket
• A bank in Wisconsin, USA, planned a trip (since cancelled) for 100 employees to a Puerto Rican resort after receiving half a billion dollar in federal stimulus funds.
• The Royal Bank of Scotland “bowing to government demands” to reduce investment banker bonuses from £1 billion to £175 million and cancel future bonus schemes.

Do hard working, dedicated and productive employees deserve to be recognized for their efforts? Of course, but firms must be more judicious in their use of recognition. Massive junkets offered in the name of recognition, regardless of tradition, are not wise in the current environment and, I would argue, are not wise at any time. For truly effective recognition, employees should be recognized when they do something worthy of recognition, not months later. This is critically important to driving home fundamentals such as company values or strategic objectives that you need to reinforce through recognition of behaviors that reflect those values and objectives. This must be done in the moment for full impact.

And employees should be given a choice of how they want to be rewarded for that recognition. Public acknowledgment is anathema to some, desired by others. Some may prefer to choose a vacation with family over a glorified business trip with colleagues. Others may not choose travel at all. My point is, to be meaningful, recognition should be personal.

And in regards to bonuses for bankers and financiers who oversaw mass failure in 2008, I like how John Hollon, editor at Workforce Management, put it:

“Regular Americans believe that Wall Street bankers are largely responsible for the financial mess the country is in right now. Whether that perception is right or wrong, Stumpf and his CEO friends need to buck up, shut up and be more sensitive to how their business practices might be perceived by the folks on Main Street. This is hardly the time to defend business as usual, no matter how legitimate it might ultimately be.”

Let’s look at a couple of examples of those who got it right.

First, there’s the Miami banker that gave $60 million of his own money to his employees and even former employees. “After selling a majority stake in Miami-based City National Bancshares last November, all [Leonard Abess Jr.] did was take $60 million of the proceeds — $60 million out of his own pocket — and hand it to his tellers, bookkeepers, clerks, everyone on the payroll. All 399 workers on the staff received bonuses, and he even tracked down 72 former employees so they could share in the windfall.”

While I typically advocate against cash-based bonuses, this is entirely different. This is a man who looked at the profits of his business and realized he could have never realized that value without the effort of all his employees. This is more a profit-sharing plan, albeit a surprise, than a cash bonus. And it’s that surprise factor – a reward in recognition of years of dedication, loyalty and hard work – that sets this story of banking bonuses far apart from those I discussed above and elsewhere.

And second, there’s our client, Nortel Networks, who fought in bankruptcy court to keep its strategic recognition program for its employees. As reported in the Globe and Mail:

“The company has asked for court permission to keep the recognition program, known as Excellence@Nortel. In court filings, Nortel argues that these programs are critical to boosting morale and making sure its 26,000 employees don’t spend their time looking for work elsewhere. Nortel and its subsidiaries ‘believe that in this difficult time it is essential that they be permitted to continue their practice of providing limited awards in recognition of the exceptional and outstanding work of their employees,’ the company said in a filing in the Delaware bankruptcy court last week.”

Employee recognition has proven to be so strategic to Nortel, it is specifically requesting funding to continue the program. This shows beyond a doubt Nortel understands it can recover under bankruptcy protection and emerge to again lead its industry, but it cannot do so without the commitment and hard work of its employees. This is also true for many companies struggling in today’s tough economy.

Our CEO at Globoforce, Eric Mosley, recently wrote an article in Chief Executive magazine that concluded with this observation and challenge:

“In today’s challenging economy, companies are looking for new and creative ways to enhance performance within the organization. Realizing employee engagement through strategic recognition efforts holds the potential to be the next significant ROI opportunity. These programs empower companies to create a unified, global workforce, aligning employees from multiple generations and multiple cultures around the very essence of the company, its core goals and values. What was once relegated to a tactical task that usually sat at the bottom of a priority list now sits squarely on the desk of the CEO. Are you ready to heed the call?”

I ask you, the readers of this blog – are you ready? Are you ready to get recognition right? What steps are you taking to keeping your employees engaged, motivated, and focused on your critical tasks? Join the discussion.

Recognition & Reward * How to Get It Right

A conversation starter from Harvard Business Publishing on rewarding and retaining people when money is tight recently did inspire several excellent comments. It is encouraging to see so many people who “get it” when it comes to the importance of recognition.

A couple of key conclusions were:
1) “Recognition inspires not only the recipient but also others.” – This is certainly true. Recently, the Stanford Graduate School of Business asked us to participate in a study that has now become part of their curriculum on the importance of effective recognition. We confirmed through that study what we had believed to be best practice – when employees are recognized at a rate of 5-8% a week, a culture of recognition takes off in that employees throughout the organization begin to encourage each other and notice actions and behavior deserving of recognition. What a powerful motivator for positive change!

2) “Different people see value in different things, so one should strive to understand what is important to individuals working for you. This is especially critical when working in an unfamiliar cultural environment.” – Again, this is very true. Old-school catalog programs limited reward choice – making it difficult, for example, for a manager with globally scattered team to choose an appropriate and equivalent reward for all team members. We’ve heard horror stories of clocks being sent to Chinese team members, where such an item symbolizes death! Or fleece jackets sent to staff working in countries where the average temperature is 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Farenheit)! The importance of giving the reward of choice is another key tenet of strategic recognition.

Are you creating a culture of appreciation with valuable rewards? What is valuable to you?

Global Crossing's Strategic Recognition Success Makes the Cover!

Check out the cover story of the latest issue of HRO Europe! Engagement Worth Celebrating: Global Crossing Needed a Tailor-Made Recognition Program. Globoforce Was a Perfect Fit.

Global Crossing launched their global strategic employee recognition platform recently and are already seeing excellent results. This cover story digs deeply into Global Crossing’s experience with Strategic Recognition.

Bruce Colligan, vice president of human resources at Global Crossing, is quoted in the article, “Recognizing employees for their contributions to our strategic initiatives has proven its mettle. When people feel they’re valued, they become more motivated, and that drives better overall performance.”

And as Russ Banham, the reporter, concludes, “By fostering a ‘thank you’ culture in an organization, motivating employees to take pride in their work, and encouraging workers to recognize the service of their peers, recognition programs are differentiating companies from the competition. Senior executives may get the big bucks and much of the kudos, but it’s the rank and file that truly make a difference.”

So, what are you doing to recognize your “rank and file” and engage them in your company’s strategic initiatives?

Retain Workers with Employee Engagement * Stanford Business School Case Study

Employee rewards and retention typically brings to mind office parties and one-off gift certificates – efforts that often involve discretionary spending and no measurable outcomes or business impact. In a global context, the effort is even more fragmented and tactical, with each country or division offering various types employee recognition – none of which roll up under a strategic corporate initiative that has the potential to motivate employees, shape an organization’s culture and influence its bottom line.

As I’ve blogged before, this type of tactical employee recognition is precisely the model that Globoforce has turned on its head with our approach to global strategic recognition. And now research out of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business is proving the value of the strategic approach.

Intuit’s management viewed employee recognition as a major opportunity to create excitement and momentum within the organization’s culture and ultimately impact the company’s performance. After scuttling a catalog-based rewards program that failed due to the inflated costs of catalogue items, outdated electronic products, broken merchandise, long delivery time, and an inability to effectively deploy the system outside the U.S., Intuit chose to make recognition strategic at all of its global locations.

Adoption of “Spotlight” immediately went through the roof, soaring to 20,000 rewards given in the first year and 26,000 the following year. The program touched 90 percent of Intuit’s employees each year, and employee opinion surveys showed that employees felt their accomplishments were recognized by the company.

Tell me, do you have an employee recognition program in place? Is it tactical or truly strategic?

Building the Business Case for Strategic Recognition

Avnet’s Vice President of Operational Excellence Terry Cain recently joined me in a webinar to explain how to build the business case for strategic recognition programs.

In this webinar, we discuss how to bring recognition programs to the level of a strategic investment that changes the very culture of a company – and how Avnet achieved just that.

The first step to building a business case for recognition is to set the right AMBITION for global strategic recognition to achieve: • Culture ChangeSupport for the Company’s Mission and ValuesEmployee MotivationEmployee Engagement

Avnet’s main challenge was figuring out how to keep a growing and culturally disparate global workforce united through times of drastic growth and acquisitions in the electronics market. In the last 10 years, Avnet has grown through 59 acquisitions to more than 12,000 employees in over 300 locations in 73 countries.

Avnet set their recognition ambition to create a unified company culture with recognition and rewards based on a desire to improve the company, increase innovation, foster a consistent employee experience, and unite all employees globally in a locally relevant way.

To build the business case for strategic recognition and achieve this ambition, Terry Cain knew – as with any strategic operational excellence initiative – executive buy-in and sponsorship was critical to bring this program to a high-level, strategic business and ROI opportunity for Avnet. Key to securing executive buy-in was changing the belief system of the C-suite, management and the company. In the webinar, Terry discusses in more depth how to ask the right questions so that these key executives and leaders come to desired belief system themselves.

Terry also describes how he and his team worked to balance the needs of all the stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders – to achieve this ambition for strategic recognition.

Terry and I wrap up with a discussion of how Avnet successfully applied Globoforce’s Tenets of Strategic Recognition: 1. Clear, Global Strategy 2. Executive Sponsorship with Defined Goals 3. Alignment with Corporate Values 4. Opportunity for All to Participate 5. Power of Individual Choice

Feel free to download the recorded webinar. I’d like to hear from you about your ambitions for recognition in your company. What would you like to see happen in culture change and employee engagement?