If only 30 percent of your employees are engaged at work, what are you doing to engage the other 70 percent? (Source: Gallup 2013 “State of the US Workplace: Employee Insights for Business Leaders”.) If recognition has been sporadic or non-existent in your organization, using a vendor to create or improve a formal employee recognition program might be the kick-start you need. But how do you determine if your organization is ready to hire a recognition and rewards vendor?
Management will undoubtedly want to understand if creating and managing a formal employee recognition program can be handled internally and if so, what resources will be needed. As you explore whether to “buy or build” your recognition and reward program consider the following:
- How complex is your organization?
Do you have a distributed and/or mobile workforce? Are you International? Do you have language issues? How difficult is it to offer the same recognition and reward experiences for all workers?
- Is “building” and maintaining an in-house program a good use of company resources?
- Is it a challenge for your business to stay current?
- Do you bring any strategic advantage to doing it yourself?
- Is “build or buy” more cost-effective?
Here are some other thoughts to keep in mind regardless of whether you decide to “build versus buy”:
Keep It Personal
Managing director and lead consultant for I2I and principal author of Incentive Intelligence Paul Herbert recommends keeping any recognition and loyalty program personal even when using a vendor for rewards. He proposes going old school when rolling out a loyalty program from an incentive vendor in ways such as announcing it to a team or department over a conference or video call. Automating or outsourcing loyalty rewards may be tempting in a busy workforce that’s building a company, but Herbert says companies need to give priority to creating a human connection around incentive activities.
You Get What You Pay For
Herbert reminds companies that you get what you pay for, and this is never truer than with loyalty and incentive program design and development. While there are many low and no-cost ways to recognize employees, if you need a large distribution model for a widely dispersed workforce, and want a program that links to a fulfillment engine and an ecard or coupon system, you’ll need to budget accordingly. If spending money on incentives is a difficult sell in your organization, align it with the strategic plan and set up some effective metrics to measure the program’s impact.
If Your Workforce Skews Young – You’ll Need Recognition to be Mobile and Social
While the growth of social and gaming recognition solutions have been slower to be adopted, you’ll want to embrace them if it’s a good fit for your organization. Millennials are already there so why not tap into ways to engage them where they are? For most companies, this means you’ll need to partner with a vendor as these types of technical programs are not easy to develop and implement from the ground up.
What other considerations are critical to your organization? What would you add to this list of “build versus buy”?
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