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The EVP lens has changed, the vision should be clear

Written by: Andrew Clark
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Leveraging technology, behavioural science, and experience to inspire employees.

Leading technology was already critical in our competitive business environment. As we are living with the reality of physical distancing and having our teams abruptly reorganized from a traditional office environment, social engagement has never been more important than it is today.  

There has been a wakeup call to those companies with engagement and recognition strategies in place to maximize inspiration now! Those who were considering an engagement strategy are realizing now more than ever how important it is and want to implement one as soon as they can. That’s where a strategic partner with experience comes in.

There is no doubt that you need great technology to enable your team in many cases redeployed to remote work – a nimble recognition solution that provides a cool, fun, and easy way to recognize, inspire, connect, and retain employees. Yes, even in the midst of redundancies and furloughs in the current business environment, retention of mission-critical roles is essential.

Your technology solution needs to incorporate social science principles specifically designed for visual impact to execute, measure, and analyze all of the elements of your engagement programs. We may be physically distant, however, we need to empower collaboration and be socially connected.

Relevance and ease of use of technology solutions are essential with micro-targeted content to create awareness and personalized program communications. This is the time to get personal. A view of broad company vision and mission is important, however, the lens your team is looking through has changed and it’s unique for all of us. Clear and frequent communications are essential. The right solution should enable your team to make every moment of their employee journey count.

Technology needs to be brought to life through experience, best practices, the science of applied Behavioural Economics (BE), and constant innovation. The combination is very powerful. The employee lifecycle has critical touchpoints and the journey really matters. We aren’t talking autonomous driving here. Getting from point A to point B without an accident isn’t enough. According to Dr. Brad Shuck, Assistant Professor and Program Director at the University of Louisville, “Culture is built on collaboration and collaboration is built on communication.

Even before joining your company, candidates are assessing your brand in the marketplace to see if it’s a place they want to be and a place to invest their time and energy. Today, the essence of company culture is being demonstrated for all to see on a daily basis as we react to our current situation. And with heightened scale of change in organizations today, your team is paying attention to leadership behaviour more than ever. Companies are pivoting, either ramping up to manage increased demand or contracting to control the fallout. 

Employee inspiration is, in fact, reciprocal. In our New Rules of Engagement global employee research—in addition to defining 12 New Rules of Engagement—we learned that the investment made in inspiring employees had a direct correlation to the intensity of their work and their commitment to the organization – and we need everyone committed right now.

From the moment an employee decides to join your organization your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is essential. An EVP is the perception held by employees about what value they gain by working for your brand. It’s more than a paycheque. It’s all the factors that make an employee want to work for you. Notice, it isn’t about what you think an employee can do for you.  

So why does it matter even more now?

There has been a large redistribution of our workforce and the emergence of a new way that we will interact.  

First Day

On day one, your new employee is saying to themselves “Did I make the right choice?” 

You need to get started early, develop the best First Day experience that will make employees say, “This is the job for me.” Engage managers to actively participate in the process with welcome kits and guides to ensure new hires feel like an important part of the team.

Assign a mentor to make sure that people have a point of contact. They don’t always want to ask the boss simple questions on their First Day. We have all been there. You arrive at your new job and you’re not expected. There isn’t a plan for you, rather a “self-study” program where you are left to fend for yourself. This is a waste of time and the new employee’s efforts may not set them up for long term success.

Comprehensive new hire information and a creative employee welcome kit can make all the difference. Make it personal. It can simply be company equipment set up properly, personalized materials, an agenda, and resource tools. I remember when my son started a new job recently he was welcomed with a few company-branded items, and a written plan for him so he knew precisely what to do. When reviewing the company information and structure, his name was already on the org chart. A small, but significant gesture, he immediately felt like part of the team.

Every Day

Every Day your employees are thinking “Is this a place I’d like to stay?”

Surround your teams with a culture that drives enduring purpose and performance using a robust engagement campaign. When employees see a promising future that supports their professional goals and growth within your company, you win their loyalty. Their work experience becomes more meaningful and fulfilling so they give more and stay longer.

Great examples include peer-to-peer values-based recognition or manager-to-employee recognition with reward points. It’s counter-intuitive but interesting to see how the content is so much more thoughtful and personal when people take the time to send recognition rather than a quick “thanks” in person. When you add in badging or personalized ecards, it creates a more vivid memorable experience for the giver and the receiver. Yes, “it is better to give than to receive”—well almost—receiving feels good too. 

Having the capability to share information that is specifically relevant the user is also important. Too many company intranet sites are bogged down with general information and make it difficult for users to access current and relevant information. We call it Audience Smart design. If it’s not relevant to my job role, I don’t need or want to see it. Make it easy, with tools that allow your team to recognize their colleagues the way they live their daily lives i.e. mobile capability can make a real difference, native apps for contests, and recognition and rewards are essential.

Occasionally, we hear that mobile capability isn’t a key requirement for our organization as no one is allowed to use their phone at work. If you think your team isn’t looking at their phone during the workday, I’ve got news for you.

Achievement Day

On Achievement Day, your employees are thinking “Am I valued and appreciated?”

To keep them engaged, it’s critical to consistently reinforce the value of appreciation and how it aligns your mission, vision, and values with your employees, managers, and leadership.

Length of service awards are one of the most common achievement awards, however, they don’t come around that often. The trend is definitely to recognize length of service of shorter duration. Even if it was yearly, you will need to thank your team more often than that if you want them to stick around.  

Typically, a corporate and leader message is included with a service award. So, how do you ramp things up and make it current, fun, social, and personal? Maximize the impact by engaging coworkers, family, and friends in the celebration with Comment Sharing – allowing friends and colleagues to post notes of congratulations, appreciation, and thanks or even add pictures and videos to liven things up a bit.

Speaking of innovation, in our length of service awards solution, DayMaker Service Awards, we have added Group Doodle for contributors to personalize the celebration with stickers and drawings so they can draw using the mouse, from a tablet or smartphone, and yes it includes a drawing tool to enhance the visual and for easy editing. Have you tried drawing with a mouse?

We’re all about measurable results. If you can measure it, you can build an engagement contest with those Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We’re seeing more and more behaviour and values-based contests as well. Non-revenue generating roles need inspiration too. A popular recognition tactic is the use of badges. This leverages gamification and reinforces recognition, with a visual demonstration company values or achievement of KPIs.

With or without reward points, it’s essential that the sending of meaningful recognition is a quick, easy, and fun experience. It’s really interesting to learn the type of recognition being given, how often, and by whom. So you also need the confidence that the technology can track, transfer, and monitor recognition, budget allocation, and spending. Analysis against business results can be quite revealing.  

In reality, managers are busy and have a lot of demands on their time and sometimes don’t remember to thank their team. Another innovation on our DayMaker recognition solution is Recognition Advisor—a simple and smart “personal assistant”—providing managers key insights, guidance, and encouragement to recognize their employees beginning that First Day and throughout their entire work life cycle.

Using data algorithms and behavioural science principles, Recognition Advisor continually informs managers of the precise point in time at which giving recognition will have the most impact on an individual employee’s satisfaction.

Based on each employee’s personal data and recognition history, Recognition Advisor nudges managers to recognize employees during these opportune times. Either online or via our EZ Thanks App – a fun, fast, and easy for managers to reinforce your company’s EVP by maximizing the positive impact sending recognition has on your employees. 

Managers are pulled in many directions and have a lot on the go. At times, they need some help. Recognition Advisor ensures that recognition is easy and effective – ensuring everyone is recognized at the right moment in three different categories:

  1. Hew Hire - An employee who has joined the organization in the past 30 days and who has never been recognized by their direct manager.
  2. Overdue - An employee who has not been recognized in the past 90 days or more by their direct manager
  3. Upcoming - An employee who has been recognized within the past 90 days by their direct manager

Referral Day

Referral Day begs the question “Am I happy here?”

We know from a recent study of 30,000 program participants that recognition impacts turnover, that it’s 17.7 percent less among employees receiving at least one recognition throughout their eligible program tenure. The frequency with which someone receives recognition also has a positive impact. Employee turnover decreases as frequency of recognitions increases. A 10 percentage point reduction in turnover is seen between low to high receiving rate. A positive correlation existed between employee turnover and recognition receiving rate, driven almost exclusively by those receiving recognitions with points.

Turnover is four times higher among employees with the lowest recognitions with points receiving rates compared to the highest rate of receiving recognition with awards. Leaders play a key role in how an employee perceives their journey and when it ends—and eventually, it will—happy employees will share their experience with others. They are the best public relations (PR) tool that your company has. With the transparency of today’s world, they are a key piece of your employer brand. The creation and communication of a referral program to incentivize your team for getting the word out can be a very effective recruitment tool as well.

Andrew Clark

President, BI WORLDWIDE Canada

As President of BI WORLDWIDE Canada, Andrew's primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and recognition solutions that change the behaviours of employees and achieve measurable results. Andrew is an evangelist for the principles of behavioural economics which are at the core of what BI WORLDWIDE Canada does.