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Event : Rewards and Recognition in the Digital Age

Cerebrus Consultants had recently conducted a study on the trends and best practices in Rewards and Recognition in the IT, ITES and E-Commerce sectors. To share the findings of the survey with the HR fraternity the company organized a Round Table Conference at The Park, MG Road at Bangalore. The topic was ‘Rewards and Recognition in the Digital Age’.

Ms. Anita Ramachandran, Founder & CEO of Cerebrus Consultants and Ms. Suman Shankar, Associate Director at Cerebrus Consultants, welcomed the participants and set the context for the Conference.

Ms. Suman Shankar delivered an opening address on existence of Rewards and Recognition practice across organizations. She spoke about the expectations of the employees from R&R programs, impact of technological advancement on this practice, how compensation and R&R complement each other and what kind of efforts organizations are putting to measure the effectiveness of their R&R program.

Ms. Janet Pappachan, Senior Consultant at Cerebrus Consultants, presented the results of the study conducted by Cerebrus. The study focused on the objective of the rewards program, types of rewards programs, unique practices, challenges faced, measurement of program effectiveness, budget allocation, future trends and way forward. The results were focussed on the IT, ITES and E-Commerce sectors. The participants substantiated the survey findings by having a heathy discussion around the practices followed in their respective organizations. Ms. Anita Ramachandran added that the key objective of R&R program is to drive and reinforce some of the cultures and behaviors through the program.

This was followed by a few sessions from eminent speakers where they shared the practices followed in their respective organizations which made the discussion enriching for all participants. The first speaker for the day was Ms. Priya Arunachalam, India Rewards Lead at Accenture. She spoke on ‘Using Rewards and Recognition to effectively drive Organizational Values and Behavior’. She touched upon the difference between market contracts and social contracts and emphasized the importance of wisely choosing what one wants to reward. She further emphasized that the thrust should be to reinforce values, culture and desired behaviors and walk the talk. Secondly, she also spoke about who should recognize and for what. For example, Client Value Recognition has to come from Client. Another concept which was discussed during this session was about celebrating milestones instead of just celebrating closures. She also shared her insights on the four categories of awards at Accenture which include: Delivering Outcomes, Thank a Colleague, Core Values and Milestones & Celebrations.

The key discussions from the participants revolved around the R&R program being centralized or decentralized, ideal timeframe for any program and metrics used to measure effectiveness. Ms. Priya suggested that generally designing programs for posterity does not help. It works to design a program for a year and review and design a new program, if required, for next year based on the expected behaviors. For measurement of effectiveness the discussion generally revolved around tracking of utilization metrics. Also, it was emphasized that for most of the organizations the R&R program does not link up to annual performance and is far more here and now.

Ms. Sangeetha Vijay, Associate Director-People Function at MindTree next spoke on ‘Leveraging R&R to Engage and Connect with the Multi-generational workforce. She emphasized the fact that for better utilization and impact the R&R programs have to be simple, accessible and ever evolving. She shared that at MindTree the R&R program is clubbed under three categories: Manager Bunker Box, Peer Bunker Box and Aspirations Awards. The first two categories are more here and now kind while the Aspirations Awards involve Global Recognition for employees. To enhance the impact and make it an ever-lasting experience, at MindTree the employees are invited with families to receive the Aspirations Awards. She underscored measuring Emotional Quotient for gauging effectiveness.

With advancement in technology impacting the way every HR practice functions it would have been a miss if Rewards & Recognition programs were not looked in the light of technological advancement. To add this flavour to the discussion, Mr. Madan Mohare, Regional Director at BI Worldwide (India) was invited to speak on ‘Using technology to improve reach, impact and effectiveness of an organization’s R&R program’. Mr. Mohare threw light upon how some of the challenges faced in implementing R&R programs are being addressed by technological tools.

The event was attended by over 40 mid to senior level Rewards, Compensation and Benefits professionals who were thoroughly engaged and further enhanced the discussion with their questions, experiences and suggestions.