One of the fundamental human needs is of recognition. We are social animals and recognition both intrinsic and extrinsic is critical for our survival and growth in the world, especially so at work.
With the advent of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) while most aspects of business have been impacted, one of the area that we are all struggling with is rewards and recognition. Suddenly with the advent of social media we found employees posting their pictures at internal or external award functions on social media like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. We saw that people started demanding more options with the advent of ecommerce as they now had more options to use their disposable incomes.
The consumerisation of various aspects of HR in my opinion stared with rewards & recognition as people started to demand the same level of flexibility and autonomy as available to them in the consumer market.
This is when organizations started to look at technology solutions that are scalable and offer flexibility to employees. Since then we have seen a large variety of programs and solutions being launched by various organizations across the globe. In this article we will look at the business drivers for such trends and also talk about some global and Indian players in this space.
The Design Considerations
VUCA World – was a terminology used by American Military to describe the extreme conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq. VUCA is used as an acronym to describe the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity of general conditions and situations.
Today’s business environments are often described using this acronym. It is expected that business and HR leaders alike come up with winning strategies for various business challenges in this environment. The challenge of talent being one of the critical aspects of all businesses.
So if you are looking to design your Total Rewards program I recommend you take a look at some of the following resources. These models and best practices will help you to determine your organization specific Total Rewards program. The aim of the article is not to present to you a comprehensive list of resources in this journey but get you started. We would look at exploring the technological solutions available to you in the later part of this article.
• The WorldatWork Total Rewards Model is one of the frameworks that companies can use to assess and design their total rewards program.
• The EY Rewards Survey 2016 – also gives some very clear indications of what’s really missing in most companies reward strategies. It’s interesting to see the perception gap between Employers and Employees on the Total rewards program.
• If you are looking to talk to your board for this & want some best practice view then look at this article: Boards Eye View
• One of the leading service providers in this industry- O.C.Tanner puts it beautifully in this infographic when they capture – Then & Now.
The RNR Technology Landscape
Once you have decided to implement the total reward program then begins the journey to look for the right partner and while this HR Tech space does not attract too much attention from an investment point of view as compared to recruitment tech this is still a very active space within HR Tech.
The service providers here are typically combination of large global organizations and interesting start-ups both global and Indian. Our attempt here is to give you a flavour of most of these players.
The Global Players
BI Worldwide is global leader in engagement solutions that drive measurable results. They have a wider solution portfolio which extends from employees to customers. What I personally like about them is that they design unique employee engagement solutions grounded in Behaviour economics. Their focus on such programs to drive measurable business result is another plus for me. The fact that they can play on both sides of the organization – inside and outside – will put them in unique position to determine which employee behaviours on the inside will impact the customer behaviours on the outside. This can actually create a great value and result in itself for most businesses. With their tie-up with IBM Watson on analytics one can expect great insights on data gathered from within and outside the organization.
O.C.Tanner is one of the world’s oldest and largest pure play service and Technology Company in Global rewards and recognition.. They have a comprehensive service & technology suite coupled with proven expertise in this specialized area. Their marquee client list is another great testimonial in their favour. I personally loved the idea and concept of Yearbook TM, which one amongst the many products they have for companies to choose from. What I like most about them is their unique positioning in this market and their deep expertise coupled with data driven approach, in this highly specialized field.
Mercer recently announced the acquisition of Thomsons online Benefits, a leading global benefits software business powered by its award winning DarwinTM platform. With this acquisition world class consulting of Mercer is now combined with an award winning benefits platform to deliver greater value to either customers. I reckon this merger will take up additional mind-space of the buyers especially with Mercer’s deep consulting experience and expertise.
Sitting very pretty in company of these large global players is one of my favourite in this space. Founded in 2012, this company is much younger and smaller than its predecessors, yet it packs a punch via its execution and positioning as an expert in this field. YouEarnedit TM. In this short span of time they have worked with small companies and Fortune 500 businesses. The main reason I love them is the simplification of concepts and applicability they provide in this space.
What's happening in India
The 3 big players mentioned above have an India presence – which in my opinion is indicative of the fact that Indian market is maturing to these global concepts and ideas. This also underlines the consumerization trend as many global aspects of product & service experience are now available to Indian consumers, its natural extension thus coming within the organization.
One of the early entrants and using India’s tax laws to offer employee benefits was Sodexo. The idea of meal vouchers that provide tax benefits and can be used at company discounted canteens and grocery stores alike was an instant hit with Indian corporate. As per market estimates, Sodexo hence has about 80% of the market share of the corporate benefit space which is estimated to be INR 6000 Crore and growing at CAGR of 20-25%
Such attractive numbers and the fact that Sodexo was largely a paper based meal coupon player in a digital economy opened doors for competitors like Edenred, Zeta and Udio, these players have tied up with payment switches like MasterCard and Visa, thus making the entire payment & settlement process online via smart phone. The value proposition here is very simple, simple administration & ease of use across multiple points of sales.
Apart from these players, who used the tax benefits to offer a unique service, there are players like TruWorth Wellness , The Fuller Life and HOD.Life, who are changing the wellness programs for companies. Each of these companies offers a very unique value proposition to corporate with respect to their wellness program and also combines the same with metrics and analytics.
One of the micro trends within the overall wellness program is specialized players who exclusively focus on fitness with a mobile first approach. Here players like Justmoveapp, Healthifyme and EngageFit have created mobile apps through which employees can define fitness goals and get recognized and rewarded for the same. Many organizations are looking to integrate such programs into their overall wellness program as they look to arrest various challenges related to employee health and insurance costs associated with the same.
Companies like Giftxoxo are offering unique experiences as benefits for corporate employees and with the variety of such experiences being stitched together have been able to grow at a very fast pace. Giftxoxo also offers a rewards management platform so that you can ensure all your employee reward and wellness program get integrated into a single platform.
Companies like Qilo are taking a completely different approach in such a marketplace, considering building culture as the cornerstone they have created a model based on their internal research which helps companies build their unique culture via performance management & recognition done via their platform. While the platform has the model designed by Qilo at the background the company can customize the whole process to suit their internal processes. This is a unique solution for companies who are at some level of maturity with respect to performance management process.
With so many options to offer to employees companies find it difficult to manage these multiple options. Employees also expect a choice out of all the possibilities of vouchers, coupons and other such options. This is where recognition platforms like Kwench, PeopleCart come into play. These companies have essentially taken out the burden of managing various reward programs from HR and put that on the platform. Thus freeing up HR to design innovative reward programs and then ensuring that the platform makes it gamified and social, thus driving better engagement and utilization of available options.
There are pure play services companies like Engage4more, who have created a very unique delivery model of employee engagement and recognition. Having created their own corporate event like any other big reality show this company has now established themselves as a leading company in this space. Their comprehensive offering from Consulting to events around this space puts them again as a very unique service provider in this space.
You would have multiple options when choosing to design your total rewards program and integrating these various options onto a platform for smooth delivery across multiple locations. However as compared to other HR Tech categories this is still not a very crowded category with too many players and that is an advantage to both the buyers and sellers. Expect this to change over the next 2-3 years as one can expect the large global players to create offerings specifically for Indian companies in general and SMB sector in particular. The other feature I expect to happen in the Indian market is companies with deep expertise in this area to come up with end-to-end solution along with technology, so to bridge the gap between these large global players and SMB’s. The buyers will also have to mature to that stage for these companies to make those investments. Just like most other HR Tech categories this is ripe for action at various levels.