Doing More With Less

“The problem with trying to do more with less is we all focus too much on the ‘less’ part, don’t we?” asked Mike Ryan, senior vice president of marketing and strategy at Madison Performance Group during a session at the WorldatWork Top Rewards 2012 Conference.

In creating a business case for recognition programs, HR leaders need to not only position such initiatives so they are more effective and efficient, but also so they are more strategic — linking to the business goals of the organization.

An Aon Hewitt survey, he said, found that most employees want to know how their work aligns with the overall business goals and “to be recognized for what they do” — as long as the compensation is at market rate.  

Managers are also extremely important in making sure employees feel their work is recognized, Ryan said. And the reason that doesn’t happen enough, is because “many organizations do not have systems that help people do that.”

Ryan’s co-presenter, Susan Brown, senior director of compensation at Siemens Corp., said helping managers reward and empower employees was a big part of her organization’s employee-recognition initiative.

The effort really began, she said, with a global rebranding campaign — that led to organization reorganizing its “hodgepodge” of internal branding and recognition programs that varied significantly among various parts of its company.

Her business case for the initiative focused on the lack of knowledge about what was actually being spent on recognition. There was a lack of financial control and the HR department had little insight or oversight of the various programs, she said. The new program would focus on getting the maximum impact of the dollars spent, as well as focus on compliance, control, consistency and context.

Starting with a customized technological system, the new recognition program, which includes cash and non-cash rewards, was designed to unite all of Siemens’ multiple entities. It was designed to focus on values and key goals — including innovation, collaboration and customer service, Brown said.

The number of approvals were decreased, but HR was put into the loop so there could be more oversight. Efforts were also made, she said, to make it as intuitive as possible for managers.

As a result, engagement scores in 2011 increased 3 percent, to 93 percent, while retention increased 5 percent, to 71 percent, she said.