Turn your employees into brand evangelists using the right rewards and recognitions

Rewards and Recognition (R&R) initiatives have been shown to have a direct impact on various parameters critical to an organization such as improving retention (68%), engagement (14%), and ROI (147%). But more significantly, they are invaluable in turning employees into brand ambassadors. An effective R&R program can ignite brand evangelism – a highly effective form of marketing. For instance, content shared by employees receives eight times higher engagement than that shared by corporate brand channels, and leads developed through employee social marketing are seven times more likely to convert.
In today’s digital world, an effective R&R program must be woven around three Es – Engagement, Experience, and Empowerment. While engagement hinges more on mental stimulation, experience and empowerment come from employees’ emotional connect with their organization.

Here are five ways to roll out an effective R&R program to turn employees into brand evangelists:

#1 Make R&R experiential: More than cash rewards and discount vouchers that are short-lived, experiential rewards have the capability to become talking points for a long time. Experiential rewards such as adventure tours, nature treks, health and wellness getaways or restaurant treats help organizations establish an emotional connect with employees. Employees are also likely to share pictures and videos of their trips on social media or through word-of-mouth with their family and friends, giving a solid boost to their organization’s image and humanizing the brand. Infosys’ unique experiential RnR platform InfyGold+, gives employees the freedom to choose their rewards from a variety of available hotel, travel, retail, and other deals.

#2 Focus on providing frequent R&R: Traditional R&R programs include recognition for length of service, extraordinary one-time achievement, stellar performance over a period of time, sales incentives and so on. According to a SHRM survey, companies that invest more than 1% or more of payroll on incentive programs perceived greater positive impact on every key metric. However, recognition does not need to be elaborate or complicated in order to be effective. A simple weekly or monthly rewards ritual can also keep employees engaged and motivated. Small words of praise, handwritten thank you notes, appreciation at a town hall, and other such gestures go a long way in turning employees into brand evangelists. Use surveys and focus groups to figure out what motivates your team members and incentivize accordingly.

#3 Create peer-to-peer R&R programs: While manager-led recognition is the most common form of recognition, peer-to-peer recognition is easier to set up. It also reduces the burden on managers. Zappos, for instance, has a long standing formal peer-to-peer reward program named ‘Monthly Hero’ where every employee is given USD 50 to reward another worker who he/she feels is deserving. From the pool of awardees, one Monthly Hero is chosen through common vote and a mini-parade is held to celebrate the hero’s victory. Besides a cash reward, the hero gets a cape to wear and a covered parking slot too.

#4 Gamify R&R to customize rewards: The psychology behind game mechanics can be used to increase engagement in R&R programs by including point scoring, peer competition, instant recognition, and so on. Besides tapping into three key levers that drive employee motivation i.e. recognition, rewards, and competition, gamification also helps increase transparency of the R&R program.Easy access to the program from anywhere, anytime, and on any device further boosts adoption. For instance, in health and fitness-based R&R initiatives, companies can track the health and fitness levels of employees and reward them with points that can be redeemed for a host of goodies such as gift cards, discount coupons, and product deals.

#5 Extend R&R to other facets of organizational responsibilities: Millennials love working for companies that give them a chance to contribute meaningfully towards social causes. Extending R&R programs to include recognition for employees who go the extra mile in doing their jobs or in volunteering for CSR initiatives is a good idea to turn them into real brand evangelists. Tata Consultancy Services’  R&R platform – GEMs or ‘Go the Extra Mile’ –recognizes and awards points to employees who go above and beyond their job responsibilities or make significant contributions to the society.

To ensure R&R success – give employees the freedom of choice

Today’s workforce wants to feel empowered and in charge of deciding what, where, when, and for whom they want the reward. For organizations this is a golden opportunity to get the  different facets right by leveraging technology and R&R analytics, in turn, driving incremental benefits while creating a sustainable competitive advantage. 

How to write a job description that attracts top talent

76% of hiring managers say attracting high quality talent is their top challenge for 2018. Thanks to a candidate-driven job market and shortage of ‘employable’ candidates, companies are scrambling to attract, hire, and retain quality talent. Well-written job descriptions (JD) that are informative, yet not fully revealing can be a great help here. 89% of candidates say they prefer JDs that are detail-oriented when companies or job consultancies first reach out to them. But how can companies ensure they write JDs that attract top talent and stand out from a swarm of other JDs written for similar profiles? Here are five tips to get it right:

#1 Focus on the title

Weird job titles might sound cool, but according to research words like ‘ninja’, ‘rockstar’ or ‘guru’ or even extremes like ‘best of the best’ and  ‘world class’ can put quality candidates off, besides making such job listings hard to find for most websites’ search engines. Job titles must list key skills required for the particular job and these must be written in the commonly used industry terminology, not what an organization may be using internally. For instance, ‘HR manager’ is more common than a ‘people relations manager’, making the former easier to understand and find for most job seekers.

#2 Capture highlights in a short overview

While looking for excellent job opportunities, job seekers often pore over hundreds of JDs and may not have the inclination to delve into the details if nothing catches their fancy early on. Therefore, companies must start by putting out a short, engaging, and creatively crafted overview that lists the job’s key responsibilities (not more than two) and how it contributes to making the business better. Focus on opportunities for growth and development when writing the overview as that’s the most appealing aspect for nearly 60% of millennials – the soon-to-be largest generation in the global workforce. As an example, see this JD for Software Engineer by Dropbox – it instantly makes prospects feel that they’ll be a part of something larger than themselves by working for this company.         

#3 Make JD’s inclusive

Becoming an inclusive talent brand is not an option anymore for organizations, it’s a mandate given that talent diversity, especially at top roles, directly affects the bottom line. Removing gender-biased language in job descriptions is therefore a must. Historically, industries such as tech, business, finance, healthcare, and insurance have showed a strong inclination towards using masculine action words such as ‘strong, assertive, and competitive’. Female-biased phrasing on the other hand can be seen through words like ‘gentle, pleasant, nurture relationships’. A recruitment firm analyzed 50 million of its clients’ job postings and found that removing gendered language helps fill open vacancies two weeks faster, on average, besides obviously attracting a more diverse talent pool.

#4 Make a JD video

Video that tells an impactful story through the right and relevant content is one of the best ways to capture attention in today’s hypercompetitive recruitment space. Recruitment videos or job ads are 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results and can improve a candidate’s understanding of a job description by as much as 300%. Wrike, a project management software firm adds a short video to each JD and the company says they get three emails a week that reference the job description video. Established brands such as Goldman Sachs are also finally pressing play on their video recruitment efforts to stand out in the digital age.

#5 Show your culture

At the end of the day whether a company is able to retain its top talent or not boils down to its corporate culture, making it a must to align JDs with the organizational culture. Capturing benefits, perks, and/or flexible work schedules in JDs, along with videos of ‘a day at work’ help demonstrate organizational culture, enabling prospective candidates to assess their fit before they apply.

Employer branding 102: social media – the brand multiplier

Companies across the globe understand that online employer visibility and interaction is critical to draw top talent. Research shows that 49% job seekers worldwide use social media networks – an indispensable tool for recruiters to reach out to the right talent. Further, people wish to work for a company they are aware of, and a brand they can trust.

Learn how you can leverage social media to improve your employer brand.

With readily available and easily accessible information about organisations, industries and competitors, promoting an employer brand online has become vital for companies. Organisations are integrating their employer brand with their social media strategy as job seekers read up on company’s career opportunities, blog posts, and articles, check social media accounts, and view brand videos and workplace photos to get a feel of the culture of an organisation and determine what it’s like to work there.

Social big data powers the corporate brand

Social networking sites and advanced web technologies have shifted the power in employer branding away from organisations to people. Social big data is changing the talent acquisition and recruitment process by offering increased visibility into enormous amounts of candidate data and thereby enabling HR to identify and attract both active and passive job seekers.

Companies must identify the relationships that exist between diverse data sets. For instance, the relationship between the time period and the ability to meet sales targets will help organisations determine if sales targets should be changed for people who start working for the company. Then again, advanced data mining techniques enable companies to illustrate the available talent in a particular segment, helping HR tap into the relevant resource pool in a quick and hassle free manner.

Social is the way forward

Social media has facilitated transparency in organisations. Employees are increasingly using social networking to broadcast personal opinions about their organisation. A critical aspect of candidate attraction is to facilitate a positive employer brand experience online.

However, it’s not feasible to ensure only positive reviews and opinions from people. The only way to diminish a probable negative impact of social media on an employer brand is to identify the root cause of grievances and resolve them satisfactorily, giving employees less to complain about. Organisations must acknowledge negative opinions in the online world and stay positive by taking appropriate steps to resolve the issues.

Boosting the employer brand through social media

Companies need to realise that employer branding is about the internal organisational culture and this knowledge can help foster positive employee perspectives on social media. Organisations should stop trying to control and limit online conversations and embrace social media as a way to acquire real-time, honest opinions and perceptions about the brand culture and identity. Companies that use social media to build a consistent employer brand will achieve greater success as it can help attract and retain the right talent.

When employees share social content about their employer, they demonstrate their pride in the organisation. Employer branding through digital media is about striking a conversation with the people and the wider market. Encouraging this interaction will reflect the true culture of an organisation.

Reaching the right candidates through social media

Social media goes beyond talent engagement and can serve as an excellent listening tool for the organisation. As technology gains momentum, it is intensely changing the strategic framework of employer branding. To begin with, organisations must define the talent required to make the company a success, and structure the acquisition process appropriately. This includes defining job profiles and choosing the targeted digital platforms.

It’s crucial to get the candidate journey correct, and it all commences with the employer brand strategy. Organisations that incorporate the right social strategy will experience a real impact on their brand awareness, reach, quality of hire, and cost per hire. With the availability of diverse digital platforms, organisations must pick the most appropriate platforms to market their brand and reach out to their target audience. It is important to pick a strategy that elevates the strength of the brand. For instance, the brand experience of a young employee will differ from that of a senior managerial executive.

Organisations that wish to appeal to young employees can do so by creating and uploading videos of their innovative work environment on YouTube to engage potential candidates. On the other hand organisations that wish to attract senior managerial job seekers can create blogs that provide insights into their business and key industry trends. Selecting appropriate channels and messaging to suit the target audience is critical. Organisations should categorise their audience and speak to them as groups, offering specific and relevant information. Understanding the nuances of social media is important for elevating the employer brand.