Partha Neog is the CEO and Founder of Vantage Circle and has over two decades of expertise in product and executive management. His leadership has seen Vantage Circle emerge as a recognised HRTech company in Asia and one of the fastest-growing recognition brands in North America and Australia. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Partha shares critical insights on designing impactful recognition frameworks, empowering a people-centric workplace and how Vantage Circle supports organisations in this endeavour.
Vantage Circle recently launched its AIRe Benchmarking report, which quantitatively assessed recognition programs. What were some of the key findings from this report that could support employers today in designing more impactful recognition frameworks?
Most companies dive blindly into modifying their employee recognition program without understanding what needs to be changed. Firstly, leaders make the mistake of failing to assess the impact of their employee recognition program. Secondly, in order to address the shortcomings of their recognition program, leaders imitate the solutions used by other companies to solve completely unrelated problems.
After seeing these specific problems repeated in various companies where Vantage Circle provided their rewards and recognition platform over the years, they decided to build a tool that assisted businesses in improving their current recognition program by identifying the flaws in their recognition program's design. Hence, the AIRe Framework tool was developed.
But, like any other tool, the AIRe tool needs a step-by-step guide on how it can be effectively integrated into a company's workflow. That is why, after hours of research, analysis, and cross-verification, Vantage Circle launched the AIRe Benchmarking Report. This is not your average report. This comprehensive report details the findings of a study conducted by the Vantage Circle team into how companies can use the AIRe Assessment Tool to quantitatively assess the design of Recognition programs and measure their effectiveness.
According to the AIRe Benchmarking Report, highly successful recognition programs received an average AIRe score of 70%, whereas recognition programs with AIRe scores less than 50% were considered to be unsuccessful. In reality, a badly planned recognition program may have unforeseen negative effects, such as attempts to "game the system" by employees or feelings of prejudice or nepotism. Furthermore, the report highlighted some startling statistics, such as the fact that only 25% of global recognition programs received an AIRe score of 70% or higher. That is, three out of every four recognition programs are not even designed to be effective.
Given the urgency of recognition frameworks today to drive employee engagement and increase talent retention, how does Vantage Circle support its clients to enhance their employee experience? What are some of its key offerings?
Since improving the employee experience in organizations is what Vantage Circle’s mission stands for, the team is dedicated to the client-service approach, ensuring that no user on the platform is left stranded and perplexed about what to do. The Vantage Circle team used the following functionalities to guarantee that all of their solutions can be quickly incorporated into an organization's culture and workflows:
- Award nomination system: It essentially means that an employee must be nominated for a monetary award and will only receive it if it is approved by a panel of approvers. This process is made easier to manage, assign, and run with Vantage Rewards' Panel Awards. When a nominator chooses an employee, they have the option of selecting up to five-panel approvers, who will be notified via email along with the award recipient.
- SOLI-based rewards: The SOLI framework, on the other hand, is how HR leaders can ensure that employees are fairly rewarded and recognized. The SOLI framework from Vantage Circle ensures that global organizations or distributed teams can carry out a fair employee-rewarding process. The SOLI framework allows managers and administrators to convert reward points to another currency, allowing them to reward even their global employees quickly and equitably.
- AIRe Framework: The AIRe Framework is Vantage Circle’s proprietary methodology for qualitatively assessing the design of employee recognition programs and helping leaders make better decisions on how to enhance the effectiveness of such programs. The AIRe framework defines recognition along 4 core themes— Appreciation (A), Incentivization (I), Reinforcement (R), and Emotional Connect (e).
- Peer-to-peer recognition practices: By empowering employees to recognize their peers and colleagues through the Social Feed actively, Vantage Circle departs from the top-down-only recognition practices. It makes sure that no work is overlooked or undervalued. Every employee gets their due moment under the spotlight.
- Service Yearbook: Service Yearbook, a small but useful feature, will prove to be the ideal recognition idea to facilitate and encourage peer-to-peer recognition in the organization. The Service Yearbook is an automated Vantage Rewards feature that allows peers to collect and share memories in a personalized online yearbook format before someone's work anniversary. The Service Yearbook will be delivered to the recipient on the day of their work anniversary, allowing them to review and reflect on their years of service through messages shared by their peers and leaders.
- Milestones Rewards: Celebrating significant years of service (such as 5 or 10 years) is an important part of an employee's work life. Vantage Circle assists companies in recognizing and celebrating such significant milestones through Milestones Rewards, which are rewards that are as amazing (and large) as the person being rewarded.
One of the latest products that you have come up with is Vantage Fit, an AI-driven wellness solution. How does it support organisations today in designing a people-centric workplace? What has been the impact so far?
When we started Vantage Circle, an employee wellness offering was always something we planned to introduce. But we knew that to venture into this high-demand market; we had to create a solution that ticked all the boxes in today’s technology-driven world. And as highly sought-after as employee wellness is, employers have always struggled to choose the best approach.
Once we researched all the factors, we concluded that we could not fulfill employee engagement without employee health, which paved the way for Vantage Fit.
Vantage Fit was conceived to encourage good health habits and reward users for healthy lifestyles. As you know, rewards are the best way to drive engagement and participation. And top that up with an intuitive admin dashboard, state-of-the-art health tracking features, and, most importantly, a seamless user experience, we make it easy for employers to trust us with their employee wellness programs.
One of our biggest highs came when Apple selected Vantage Fit for their App Accelerator Program in Bengaluru. And last year, thanks to the overwhelming response from our clients, we launched the Global Corporate Virtual Walkathon. With more than 3700 participants across 24 countries, we helped organizations engage their employees towards better health and happiness.
We recently completed the second season of the walkathon successfully, with the added initiative of planting trees for a more sustainable environment. And now, we are looking to further our efforts to make organizations healthier and the world greener.
Adoption is critical to the success of any solution and strategy devised. In line with that, how is Vantage Circle supporting their 600+ clients in adopting and implementing its services?
Rewards and recognition are only meaningful if they are given fairly, without favoritism, and not limited to yearly appraisals or awards. Unlike commonly held notions, Vantage Circle believes that appreciation extends well beyond the top-down approach. To fully promote a culture of appreciation, Vantage Circle’s solution focus on making appreciation easy, integrable, inclusive, and flexible enough for distributed teams.
Vantage Circle is dedicated to ensuring that the client’s experience— both employee and employer— is as seamless as possible. Here’s how Vantage Circle accomplishes this by incorporating flexibility, customization, and integration into its solutions:
- Multilingual Options
- Certain Disability Support: Aside from multilingual options, Vantage Circle has made its platform more accessible by adding the "Talk Back" feature.
- SOLI Framework
- Around-the-clock Tech and Client Support
- Expert Guidance and Support
- Multi-Currency reward catalogs: Employees from multiple countries can access Vantage Circle's global catalog, which is valid in multiple currencies and displays country-specific items.
- Basic Language Translation via Localise API and automatic selection of default languages based on user location: The Localise API automatically converts the Vantage Circle site to the user's default language based on the user's location.
- Account Manager: If the company has a strength of more than 2,000 employees, Vantage Circle assigns a dedicated account manager to help navigate, plan, and implement the solution.
- Multi-platform Accessibility
- Collaboration & Communication: Vantage Circle understands how integral a good communication flow is to a distributed workforce. That’s why, to cater to a remote-first world, Vantage Circle can be easily integrated into team collaboration applications such as Slack, Microsoft teams, or Workplace by Facebook, allowing employees to appreciate one another on the go.
- HCM/HRI Platform Integrations: Integrations are a powerful and efficient way to create a unified view of the organization's data across multiple applications. To remove connectivity barriers with a company’s current HR systems— such as Freshteam, Zoho People, SAP, People Strong, and others— Vantage Circle offers custom integrations with their reward and recognition solution.
- Single Sign-On (SSO) Options
- Browser Extensions