7 Things to Consider when Choosing a Global Employee Recognition Program

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HR professionals have a lot of responsibilities, keeping the organization’s employees happy being one of them. In this article, we’ll look at the importance of employee appreciation and recognition. We’ll also share 7 elements to take into consideration when choosing a global employee recognition program. Here goes!

Contents
What is an employee recognition program?
1. Recognition strategy
2. Local partnerships
3. Multilinguality
4. SOLI (Standard of Living Index)
5. Gamification
6. Workforce metrics
7. Leadership engagement
Wrapping up

What is an employee recognition program?

Appraisal and recognition lead to high self-esteem and better productivity. Nobody wants to work in an environment where there is all work and no acknowledgment for all the hard work one puts in. Recognition implies that the company values the employees’ performance and dedication towards the organization.   

To show their appreciation, many employers implement ongoing recognition programs designed to thank employees for a variety of achievements.

There are both formal and informal types of recognition programs. The former can include awards, bonuses, gift cards, etc., and the latter can, for example, be a verbal or a handwritten note of appreciation. A combination of both is, of course, possible too.   

When you are dealing with a global workforce, however, designing a recognition strategy can become more complicated. Local differences in languages, standard of living, and ways of showing appreciation make the creation of your employee recognition program less straightforward. Here are 7 things to take into consideration.

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1. Recognition strategy

Deciding to recognize employees is a great thing, but it comes with its obligations. Before going forward with the recognition programs, an HR professional has to take various things into account:

  • The employees need to be informed about the business impact these programs would have on the company and the kind of expectations you have from them to work on it.
  • Also, setting up guidelines per location, on, among other things, the eligibility criteria, frequency, structure, and rewards is key. This makes the recognition program transparent to the workforce and avoids confusion about the way employees operate in different parts of the world.
    It also ensures that employees are well-prepared and know whether there are gift cards, cash, other points, or a combination of these present as rewards in the programs. 
  • Fixed criteria should exist for winning. The candidates deserve to know how the winners would be selected or nominated, in the case of which, peer-to-peer recognition can be useful.
  • Most importantly, setting a budget of the resources – both financial and human – required to conduct these events is crucial.

2. Local partnerships

If your company runs globally, recognition platforms are undoubtedly a matter to ponder upon. Employees working from various countries will not be motivated by the same programs.

Different cultures and different mindsets look for different recognition patterns. So, before going ahead with the programs, you need to do global research on how the places function.

Often, problems may arise in instituting and managing these programs, for you have to introduce diverse, culturally relevant ideas when each culture is different from the other.

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Faced with such a scenario, you need to be ready with ample global rewards and recognition ideas to suit the various locations’ requirements. Creating a partnership with local suppliers can come to the rescue during these times as they will know what your employees prefer and what not. 

Local partners can also assist in distributing the rewards and they’ll usually invoice for the goods’ fair market value in those countries. 

3. Multilinguality

Language can, at times, create barriers. On a global platform, errors are bound to happen, especially when the language used is not uniform.

While creating global recognition programs, organizations should categorize them in different languages. Because of the many languages spoken in other countries the incentive programs’ pattern can vary.

To set up a global employee recognition program, you need to shift to a virtual platform. This virtual recognition platform needs a built-in language conversion feature that will make employees switch to any comfortable language.

Once this is done, the entire structure gets more manageable for you and them. The availability of non-virtual language catalogs is a great thing too as it adds to the clarity leading to an untroubled recognition program experience.

4. SOLI (Standard of Living Index)

While implementing a global recognition program, a lot of confusion can occur regarding the employees from different corners of the world. The standard of living varies from country to another, so, forming a patterned recognition structure that is fair for everyone, is necessary.

It doesn’t make sense for two people from two separate places to receive the same amount of cash reward. For instance, say you have two employees, L and M ‒ the former lives in the USA, and the latter resides in India. Paying them both a sum of $10 as a reward would not make any sense now, would it?

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The $10 would be converted into 700 INR for the Indian individual and would benefit him or her more as their purchasing power would increase more than that of the American employee.

SOLI, also known as Standard of Living Index, is nothing but a measure of living expenses in a place determined by the market prices. It differs from place to place ‒ in countries with a high SOLI people will have to pay more for goods and services than in countries with a low SOLI.

Your employee recognition program should run on the SOLI framework, for it guarantees fairness and equal distribution of reward points against local currencies for global employees. 

Nonetheless, as per SOLI norms, the company decides on converting currencies as per the standard of living in the particular countries.

5. Gamification

Many people today are familiar with the concept of gamification (the application of game elements in a non-game context such as for instance, the workplace). Gamification can also be used to enhance employee engagement and we see many examples of game elements in for example employee training and e-learning.  

In the same way, adding game elements to your recognition program can turn out to be a smart decision. Gamification will come with its perks in the form of active participation and competition.

You can motivate your employees by rewarding them with badges or points and persuade them to enhance their performance and deliver better results.

Employees engaged in gamification programs will contribute to their company by winning something for themselves at the same time. The application is also virtual, which can easily be accessed by all the employees sitting in any part of the world. Isn’t this what we call a win-win situation? 

Thus, HR leaders should consider designing their organization’s employee recognition software to boost the teammates’ right behavior. 

Employee recognition program

6. Workforce metrics

The value of a reward to a 30-year-old won’t be the same as to a 50-year-old. This is why you have to plan your employee recognition program in an innovative way. The recognition and rewards have to hold equal worth for every employee.

Making multi-age groups come together towards achieving a common goal can indeed be a bit of a challenge. But once you understand what factors boost each age group, the work gets more comfortable. Now you can keep the programs open to customization allowing your employees to select the rewards they feel are suitable for them.

Many times, gift cards are given away in recognition programs where they choose from a catalog. For every location, different versions of logs can be made available according to the preference.

Some individual employees are more satisfied with a verbal or written acknowledgment of their knowledge and skills instead of gifts. They like it more when they are respected for their hard work and commitment towards the organizaiton.

With the sole motive of retaining and motivating employees, you have to give them a choice ‒ a private recognition program or a public one ‒ choosing to be rewarded in the form of cash, gift cards or appreciation, or a combination of these. Therefore, you need to learn about your employees’ metrics first and then go forward with the planning.

7. Leadership engagement

Your entire workforce should jump on the bandwagon in carrying out the global employee recognition programs. Together with the employees, however, all the leaders and managers need to be involved as their roles are vital.

A leader’s presence is mandatory, for they are the ones who demonstrate to the employees the right set of behaviors worthy of recognition. This, in turn, will boost the morale of the team towards participating in the programs. The leaders, when onboard with the programs, can also help maintain proper discipline.

Coming from divergent cultural backgrounds, managers need adequate training in conducting recognition programs. They must be able to deal with expectations, the participants would have their leaders across national boundaries.

Managers and leaders play critical roles in making these programs a success. Because as employees, walking in the footsteps of leaders and managers is customary. So, you must make sure everyone is on board!

Wrapping up

These 7 factors, as mentioned earlier, are a must for your global employee recognition programs to work. As it is challenging to execute these programs without any glitches, a global platform can sometimes add to the pressure. However, the points mentioned above will help you if you consider them while preparing a recognition program.

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