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How to Implement the Employee Incentives Scheme and Not Lose One's Mind

Why is it so important to raise employees involvement? And how does the culture of gratitude works?

The Culture of Gratitude: How It Works

The culture of gratitude is not just words or gestures. It is a mindset that is deeply integrated into the company's DNA. When employees feel valued, they become more dedicated to their work, which leads to better results. It doesn't happen in a blink of an eye. Within my team, I carefully select the right people, and then teach them how to work with feedback for at least six months. We decided to try holacratic management once, and lost 80% of our team in three months. It is painful to learn from such mistakes, but they are well-remembered.

Employee - Employer Relationship: The Way to Cooperation

The main function of management in my paradigm is facilitation (a way of organizing communication within a group). And the first assistant of any manager is smart HRD. How does it work?

If an employee trusts their manager and feels supported by the company, stress levels decrease, while job satisfaction and motivation to achieve better results increase.

Just as the production plant needs QCD (Quality Control Department), and the sales company needs “care service”, so a two-way system is required in dealing with employees. On the one hand, it is feedback from the manager to the employee. On the other hand, it is collecting feedback from employees, and not just by the manager.

Close relationships among employees create an environment of trust and cooperation. But this can also cause reluctance to give fair feedback and trigger mutual cover-up.

For example, in my case the designer was working out of hours, because he was afraid of letting the team down. When we looked at the situation objectively, it turned out that excessive working hours were caused by my own mistakes. And excessive working hours as such affect productivity in a negative way. Without sufficient rest, a person makes mistakes, performs tasks slowly and wastes time and therefore money of the company.

How the Feedback System Is Developed

We have implemented it all on the platform, but you can develop such a system based on a calendar, Excel and Google surveys.

For expert employees there is a 1-1 system.

A 1-1 interview is a personal meeting of a manager and an employee, the purpose of which is to discuss work issues, obtain feedback, and improve mutual understanding. We automated it, stuffed it with various techniques and made it infographically clear.

Create a board with key questions:

  • General state;

  • Satisfaction;

  • Work issues;

  • Feedback from colleagues;

  • Risk of quitting;

  • Reasons for risk of quitting;

  • Agreements.

The main points are the regularity of 1-1, their structure, the ability to escalate problems, the results storage and the agreements recording. Don't leave it to managers, regularly elaborate on this information yourselves.

For line personnel we can employ surveys. We can even carry out surveys on paper and then digitize the results. This was very useful for us when working in workshops - ⅔ of employees did not want to take surveys using QR codes. At that, when a loyalty program with rewards was launched, it turned out that only 4% of employees actually didn't have smartphones.

The myth about a worker who does not know how to use a smartphone is rooted in the reluctance of employees to once again show their skills and abilities.

The key point in a feedback system development is to show with examples that it is not just for the sake of appearance. Even minimal changes based on feedback need to be highlighted to employees: “Last time we discussed that it was bad. We didn't manage to make it good, but it became a little better. Next, we plan to do this and that, and in a month it will be good”.

Creation of Recognition and Reward Scheme: Step by Step

The effective scheme creation requires a clear understanding of your goals and expectations. Even if you hire a highly-skilled advisor, they will still get the answers to these questions from you. By the way, no one will do the routine and work with metrics for you either.

Employees recognition and reward is not just a popular trend. Investments in such schemes can bring substantial returns in the form of increased productivity, employee loyalty and business growth. But it's not all that interesting. To be honest, the main trigger to purchase from us is: “We need to automate, we are tired”.

How Recognition Platforms Facilitate HR Managers' Work

“We have a reward system, but we award points once a quarter, once a year, before the holidays, etc.”

The methodological mistake. Recognition and reward should be prompt and support correct actions. The platform task is to reduce time between action and recognition. For this purpose, various options for speeding up are used.

Bonuses from the manager. The company allocates each manager a limited pool of likes to encourage employees. This makes it possible to provide immediate value-based feedback.

Thanks from colleagues. The mechanics are the same - colleagues support each other's achievements.

The news feed, which is generated from achievements. The employee immediately receives recognition by appearing in the news feed, and colleagues can cheer them up with their thanks.

And while for 50 people all this can be done by one HR expert in Excel, the problem of recognition of huge workforce in large companies becomes labor-intensive and expensive. How do you recognize each employee who does a good job? How do you ensure justice and avoid bias?

In general, everything is simple and difficult at the same time. As with any other automation processes, dedicated recognition platforms offer a solution that facilitates HR managers' work, increases employee satisfaction, and contributes to overall growth and success of the company. At the same time, they do not fit into common processes, can not be synchronized with HRIS, cost the same as ERM and only make things for HR managers worse.

That's why we employ a product-based approach from the point of view of solving HR manager's problems, and do not develop a super-app that tells us what to do and interferes in all processes within the company. As a matter of fact, I do believe that if you have already been able to create a team that does something and makes profits, you definitely don't need somebody to tell you what to do. At most, you can try to simplify the work.

Right Recognition Strategies Application

Still what is worth telling about is recognition. Many people think that certificates of excellence and gratitude from colleagues are a thing of the past. However, almost 70% of employees from 35 to 65 years old show an increase in productivity when implementing a loyalty program at the enterprise. Among younger employees, the engagement rate is more than 80%.

In order for a recognition strategy to be effective, we must take into account various corporate culture aspects and individual needs of employees.

  • A Personalized Approach. Different employees appreciate different forms of recognition. Some value public recognition, while for others attention from management is more important.

  • Frequency. Regular recognition, not just on special occasions or merits, makes the process more sincere and effective.

  • Timeliness. Immediate recognition of an employee's contribution significantly enhances its impact.

  • Connection with corporate values. Recognition should reflect the company's corporate values and culture.

Effective Recognition System Creation

I often face an understanding of how important it is to create a barrier-free environment for employees to participate in such activities.

At the same time, I refused to develop a mobile application. Until I talked to people who used the service only on their phones. I learned a lot of interesting things about myself, and we released a big update with an adaptive tool. And gave the opportunity to use the platform in computer classes for those who did not have a smartphone.

The employees immerse into the scheme partly due to its transparency. One wants to clearly understand why they receive recognition and how to improve their performance. While I was working on information delivery formats, I discovered the fact that the advertisements receive the most views in canteens. Then I had a conversation with an American colleague who works at an Ivy League university. And it turned out to be an international story - the university administration places important advertisements in a canteen, and that's the only place people read them.

Interaction Between Reward and Recognition

A reward is a tangible or intangible incentive for achieving certain results or completing a certain task.

Recognition is a statement or expression of approval and value of someone's accomplishments, actions, or qualities.

The critical difference is that a reward is transactional and economical. Recognition is an emotional and psychological event. A reward can be accompanied by such words as: “Here! Eat it!”, which becomes a bright emotional experience in an employee's life.

Although reward and recognition are different, together they create a powerful combination to encourage better performance. Their right combination allows companies to create a work environment where employees feel valued and motivated.


Cyril Morozov — Product Owner of Teal HR — an employee motivation and loyalty platform. Employee benefits expert with 10+ years of experience.



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