Article: Designing effective R&R programs in the digital era


Designing effective R&R programs in the digital era

The ideas in this article have been curated from the session Maximizing ROI of R&R programs through data science by Arun Nathani, the CEO and MD of Cybage Software.
Designing effective R&R programs in the digital era

With the advent of digital transformation, it has become necessary for the organization to revamp its R&R programs. Here is the summarization of the session which was taken by Arun Nathani, the CEO and MD of Cybage Software, which talked about designing your R&R programs using data science. The session took place at the People Matters Total Rewards & Wellness Conclave 2018.

Arun Nathani talked about how HR professionals are the bravest in the organization because they have so many bosses. And if there is anything that goes wrong from the HR’s end than her dirty linen gets painted in the public. And which is especially why HR needs to rethink about the different ways in which it engages with its employees.

The first step is to recognize that the whole R&R experience can be completely gamified. The second is to realize that the programs can be made available to the employees through mobile apps, or other platforms. Arun Nathani also emphasized that the aim of the exercise is to ensure that the programs which are designed are aimed at helping stretch the ROI of the existing R&R program primarily through bringing down the organizational overhead cost.

Provide opportunities to explore

Nathani talked about the three ‘Es’ which need to be considered while designing the program:

  • Engagement

  • Experience

  • Empowerment

While engagement is about the mind, the experience is about the heart, and empowerment is about the soul.

Apart from the three ‘Es’ which organization need to consider while developing an R&R program, there is also need to take into account the benefits that data and analytics can provide. Essentially, once the program has been gamified and its access has been granted to the employees, there is a set of behavioral patterns that the organization can analyze by studying the data.

It is actually the digital part of the program, which would provide the employees with a greater sense of control and flexibility, and which would eventually lead the effective engagement, delightful experience, and empowerment at the workplace.

However, fundamentally, what has required a complete mindset shift in the organization, because it is only when the employee is put at the center of the organization, will any R&R program bear results. And that requires that the organization understand the employee.

Put yourself in the employee shoes

If an organization wishes to understand the expectation of the employees from a well designed R&R program, then they need to ask these four questions:

  • What do the employees want

  • When do they want it

  • Where do they want it

  • Whom do they want it from

If the gifts and rewards are developed over an online platform, then that solves most of the questions. However, wisdom lies in using the data to analyze the behavioral patterns.

For example, most employees would not want to have the same gift item as the rest. And which is why it makes a lot of sense for the organizations to give the choice to the employees to choose for themselves. And interestingly, Nathani says that considering that they carried out the exercise at their own company, it was found that employees choice less expensive gifts than the one organization wished to choose for them. And this led to lower overhead cost for the organization. Further, that data could be further analyzed for assessing the personal choice of gift. 

Choices are important

Choice ensures that the employees feel empowered. Now, supposedly, somebody would want the gift to be delivered to an uncle in a small town in India. And he would also want to upgrade the gift. Here Nathani says that employees should have the option of either borrowing reward points in the future or paying an additional amount from their own pocket. When you give the choice to the employee, you empower him. For example: If an employee wants to encash his reward points, he might do it on some specific dates in the year and that data about the dates is extremely important for the employee.

And even though, as he pointed out, organizational inventory management is a challenge, and which is why it is required that organization automate that. And now for example, if there is a birthday and it comes on a Sunday, the employee would expect that he be delivered the gift at his place. And that is an opportunity for the organization because then the organization can also involve the family of the organization in as part of their engagement.

The job of every employee in the organization

Social network is extremely important within the organization. And the HR professionals in the organization cannot do it on their own. But once that social network is created in the organization, it gives the employees the opportunity to share reward points with one another. And not just that, employees can also donate their rewards points to the CSR initiatives undertaken by the employees.

Summarizing it all

First is the recognition of the employee at the center of the universe, the second is to ensure that the R&R program is created after answering the four questions with regards to what, where, when and from whom the employees want the reward. Organizations can gamify the program and make it available to the employees through mobile apps and other digital platforms. When it comes to designing the program, it is essential to consider the three ‘Es’ which are empowerment, engagement, and experience. And most importantly, employees need to be given the choice to utilize their reward points as they want to, so that they actually feel empowered.


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Topics: C-Suite, #TotalRewards, #TRWC2018, #appraisalseason

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