Rewards and recognition is a key pillar of HR strategy, touching on all aspects of business operations, ranging from digital transformation (how people access rewards) to diversity and inclusion (whether rewards are equitably shared) and employer branding (if rewards are attractive enough to help talent acquisition and management).
It’s not a matter to be taken lightly; according to Bersin by Deloitte, engagement, productivity, and performance are 14% higher in organizations with recognition.
Additionally, businesses are seeing positive results from well-executed rewards and recognition strategies; last year, Gallup found that the percentage of “engaged” U.S. workers reached 35%, the highest level recorded since tracking began in 2000.
However, with new stressors for employees and businesses alike, including the widescale adoption of remote working, economic uncertainty, and the disruption of long-term plans, HR leaders must assess whether these gains can be held and improved on to ensure competitiveness.
With this in mind, reward strategies can struggle to be relevant across borders, generations, and priorities of workers. With a goal of motivating all employees, no matter their life stages, different circumstances or personal goals, reward strategies need to be flexible, compelling and aligned with business needs and markets, nationally and worldwide.
Following on from his presentation Creating a Global Strategy for Universal Reward and Recognition at HRD: A Virtual Experience EU, Jorgen Pedersen, VP Compensation & Benefits, Saint-Gobain Group discusses rewards and recognition strategy in contemporary businesses.
He delves into the hallmarks of a successful strategy, the changing nature of its delivery, and the work undertaken at Saint-Gobain to benefit its employees and business goals.
As such a key factor in working life, what do you feel are the main considerations of successful rewards and recognition strategies today?
Let’s not just look at rewards and recognition strategy in of itself and HR strategy in of itself, but combine the two things. We really need to think about what it is that our customers need, and our customers can be our employees and external stakeholders equally.
I think rewards and recognition strategy is often seen too much in isolation. When you look at rewards, you need to make sure it’s aligned with what the business wants the team to deliver.
How has the recent shift to widespread remote working affected how strategy is delivered?
It creates some very special demands for employee benefits; whereas before, maybe things like transportation benefits would have been very much of interest to employees. Now, frankly, many more employees are looking at how they can have a good home office, rather than thinking about transportation into the office.
Due to technology, you can offer a different reward package than you could before. In earlier years, if you wanted to give your people choice or flexibility, it would be administratively challenging. Today, there are plenty of good choices out there that can help you, so it’s pretty much self-service and it’s pretty much automated. So, as long as you set it up in a proper way, it’s really not giving more work to your human resources, but it’s giving a lot of things to employees.
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You really need to look at each individual as a customer, you can’t put customers in boxes because each customer wants their own products and services. Let’s give them a choice and they can make that decision. Between young people, people with families, and people who are getting closer to retirement, the needs are different. So, let’s try to be as individualized as we can when we talk about this.
Could you outline some of the initiatives Saint-Gobain has worked on?
A year ago, we launched a new program called CARE by Saint-Gobain. We act as a responsible company, and luckily more companies are going in this direction these days. We want to make sure that all our employees, no matter which country they are in, no matter their position, no matter their manager, plus their families, have a certain base level of employee benefits, across the group.
Frankly, it is important for us as part of our employer branding, in order to attract new people. I mean, isn’t it great to say, well, no matter which party you talk to, you can be sure that he or she has got these benefits. We are extremely proud of what we’ve put in place.
How do businesses benefit from an effective strategy?
It helps with improving employee motivation and making sure people are not spending too much time considering their financial issues. I ask ‘how can we help them?’
From a rewards perspective, we can make sure that yes, our workforce is as productive and present as possible these days. The world is not what it was 12 months ago.
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