Article: Keynote: Enhancing the Employee Experience with the right tools and frameworks for recognition and wellness

Benefits & Rewards

Keynote: Enhancing the Employee Experience with the right tools and frameworks for recognition and wellness

In an insightful keynote at PMTRWC 22, Partha Neog of The Vantage Circle highlights the recognition paradox in organisations and shares critical strategies to redesign employee frameworks with a more strategic lens that closes the current gaps.
Keynote: Enhancing the Employee Experience with the right tools and frameworks for recognition and wellness

Organisations today are always thinking about how to get employees engaged and motivated. Present-day motivation is about meaningful work, getting heard, getting seen and getting impactful recognition. This seems to be straightforward, yet how to do this is a discussion every company must have by applying their own context. Some concerns are, 

How do you create tools and policies which are in tune with the times?

How do you make life at work easier?

How do you ensure hygiene factors such as salaries, security in office, etc. ?

To answer these burning questions and more, Partha Neog, CEO and Co-Founder, Vantage Circle, at People Matters Total Rewards and Wellness Conclave 2022, shares strategic insights to enhance the entire employee experience through recognition and wellness tools and frameworks. 

Recognition and wellness as a core engagement factor

One survey states that engagement is influenced by 8 percentage points, if you have the right recognition. A second survey highlights that recognition is one the 9 key pillars of increasing productivity. Yet another McKinsey survey talks about how recognition is increasing. But the statistics say that only 1 in 3 employees feel recognized. This is the recognition paradox, wherein everyone knows that recognition is important, yet the recognition model is under leveraged. Every company in the world has some or the other recognition programs, whether ‘Salesman of the Week’ or ‘Employee of the Year’. “You do not need data to say that recognition works or does not work, who does not like recognition?”, quips Partha. 

Wellness has picked up strongly in the past two years, yet organizations are still deciphering, “What exactly is wellness about?” One survey shows that if employees participate in wellness program, they are well. Yet another survey shares that if employees are well, they score high on engagement, retention, etc. so it has a significant impact on business parameters. Clearly, wellness also plays a significant role in business value creation. 

Challenges in driving recognition and wellness

HR also knows about the importance of recognition and that it is a low-hanging fruit, but the fact remains that investment in this space from the corporate side has been sub-optimal due to various reasons: 

  • Objectives not clear to employees and line managers. 
  • Low adoption and usage by target audience: Getting people to engage on R&R and wellness programs is an ongoing struggle. Wellness is a function of habit, so one cannot have one Yoga session and expect people to be interested in Yoga. “Habit formation is lacking in today’s corporate wellness programs”, shares Partha. 
  • Outcomes not measured and metrics not defined: Lack of insights and usage leads to a huge gap between what the company decides what employees want, and what employees truly want.
  • Multiple programs running parallely with no comprehensive policy: Today’s offerings are very primordial and create different and disparate experiences. Employees want a single experience through their entire R&R and wellness journey.  
  • Lack of communion: The power of communion has to be leveraged for both recognition and wellness, because the biggest community outside of family is a person’s corporate colleagues. For example, if someone has a group of like-minded people for a morning run, they can feel motivated. Vantage Circle provides an enterprise framework with networks, content and chat groups where people can share their wellness activities. 
  • Inappropriate tools are another laggard: There is a need for overhauling recognition programs and wellness offerings using digital technology. It must be personalized i.e. recognizing each employee at an individual level and personal level, and this is possible only by building a digital solution and platform. 

How to build a recognition program? 

Design the program: Vantage Circle created an AIR framework to make recognition consumer-class, easy to adopt and use, and multi-channel: 

  • Appreciation: Recognizing a person’s inherent value will help decide coverage, frequency, etc. Employees should be clearly communicated on what they need to do to get recognized. 
  • Incentivisation: Employees should get the feeling that the program excites them, just some random award will not make people care about the reward. 
  • Reinforcement: Designers must think about which are the specific behaviours the company wants to drive in employees, and how to align these with company values? Basis this, how personalized is the design?

This framework helps in thinking about the emotional value of R&R and wellness.

Agility through analytics: HR has to measure the impact and tweak the program to suit the target. Hence analytics insights are very important and an intuitively designed system and dashboard are imperative to success. 

Execution: HR must constantly analyse from an execution point of view as to how successful the program is. Collecting manager views, HR reports, giving leadership deep insights on how people were recognized and how it impacted the company standards. 

HR has to create a personalized approach when it comes to recognition and wellness. Moreover, the onus is on the employee. HR can introduce people to a host of activities, but beyond that it is up to the individual. “What will an individual do if HR is not organizing any events?”, asks Partha. The AIR framework helps employees find and carry on with their own wellness activities beyond corporate initiatives and create a happy foundation. Even with this in place, leaders must gauge the ROI by using comprehensive tools on recognition and wellness. 

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Topics: Benefits & Rewards, Corporate Wellness Programs, #PMTRWC, #HRTech, #EmployeeExperience

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