In today's dynamic business landscape, the role of Human Resources (HR) leaders is evolving to meet the changing needs and expectations of employees. One crucial aspect is rewards and recognition and its role in talent acquisition, which goes beyond traditional methods and requires a forward-thinking approach.
Debra Corey, bestseller author, HR leader, consultant, and keynote speaker at the People Matters Total Rewards and Wellbeing conference held recently in Gurugram shared insights on designing effective HR strategies on the importance of adapting to industry trends and challenging the status quo.
Understanding what recognition is
Debra emphasised that recognition extends beyond traditional trophies and plaques. Drawing on personal experiences, she recounted a story of redesigning a program for delivery drivers. The initial focus on speed and efficiency failed to resonate with drivers who were passionate about delivering on time. A shift to a customer service-centric incentive program, demonstrating care for both the company and its people, yielded more significant results.
Furthermore, Debra highlighted the need for personalised and meaningful recognition. She provided examples, such as naming a star after an employee or implementing a "Wheel of Wonders" for random acts of kindness, your boss making coffee for you. Another unique example involved featuring employees' pictures on airplanes as a form of recognition, showcasing a creative and thoughtful approach.
Benefits beyond tradition
She further delved into the realm of employee benefits, challenging the myth that benefits are solely about traditional offerings like medical insurance and retirement plans. Debra argued for a broader perspective, urging companies to consider benefits that address employees' daily needs and show care at the moment.
Sharing examples, Debra said that companies can allow employees to take time off when they get a new pet and provide flexible public holidays to accommodate diverse cultures and beliefs. “By extending benefits to cover unconventional needs, organisations can demonstrate genuine concern for their diverse workforce,” said Debra.
Crafting a strategic approach
Debra stressed the importance of developing a comprehensive HR strategy aligned with the company's values, mission, and culture. Sharing an example of a technology company with a diverse workforce that established a benefits and rewards strategy based on fairness, connectivity, balance, choice, and ease. This strategic approach helped guide decision-making and ensured a cohesive and employee-centric benefits program.
Holistic well-being initiatives
As well-being takes center stage in HR strategies, Debra advocated for a holistic approach. She talked about a case where employees were given an allowance to spend on various well-being activities, allowing for individualised choices. The emphasis was on understanding employees' preferences and tailoring well-being initiatives to address all aspects of their lives.
Fairness in incentive programs
Debra concluded with insights on fairness in incentive programs. She highlighted the often-overlooked issue of fairness when designing programs, using the analogy of a basketball team where not all players receive equal recognition. Addressing this disparity ensures that all contributors feel valued and motivated to continue their efforts.
Overall, Debra advocated for a paradigm shift in HR strategies, urging leaders to embrace creativity, personalisation, and a holistic approach. By challenging the status quo and aligning strategies with the evolving needs of employees, companies can foster a culture of care, engagement, and success.