More Than Just Rewards

2016 EMEA iTalent Competition winner Rideau revolutionises recognition with its Vistance platform.

Marta Chmielowicz

Picture this: It’s 2030 and your company is struggling to grow, not because the services you provide are unnecessary, but because you simply cannot find the right employees to fill your most important positions. According to Rainer Strack of The Boston Consulting Group in a recent TED talk, this scenario may become a reality.

The workforce is aging, and by 2030, there won’t be enough workers to fill jobs and keep major economies growing, says Strack. Once the last of the baby boomers retire, there will be a major deficit in the global talent pool that may cause an overall labour shortage in many of the world’s largest economies and a huge skill mismatch that can’t be abated with technology.

Strack says that a solution to this impending problem is a major shift in company culture towards appreciation and recognition. A survey conducted by the BCG found that the No. 1 priority for job seekers worldwide was being appreciated for their work. In comparison, salary was No. 8.

According to Rideau CEO Peter Hart, the desire to create a company culture that attracts, retains, and engages people using recognition was the main impetus behind the Vistance platform, which won the 2016 HRO Today EMEA iTalent Competition in November 2016. The iTalent Competition seeks to recognise companies for their innovative new technology that improves HR, recruitment, or talent management processes.

“Ninety per cent of companies have recognition reward programmes, yet according to the Gallup organisation, more than 60 per cent of employees don’t truly feel valued or appreciated,” Hart says. Furthermore, research has shown that the absence of recognition in the workplace was the second leading cause of stress and burnout among employees, and that these effects were not mediated by rewards.

These statistics highlight a major difference between recognition and rewards that was never scientifically proven before the development of Vistance. “Our entire industry has been built around the reward, and many people think that just giving something to the employee is what recognition is all about—but this is not true,” Hart says. “Recognition is a feeling—an intangible thing.”

According to Hart, Vistance is the first platform to take an analytical, data-based approach to recognition that measures the relationship between various methods of recognition and key indicators of performance and uses this data to identify ways to implement more effective recognition programs. With this data, Vistance can predict future employee behaviors as well as ways to improve performance through manager interventions. This allows companies that previously relied on rewards to tailor their recognition programs to fit the specific needs of their employees and the strengths of their managers.

Rideau’s recognition-quantifying platform was developed in two phases. “In phase one, we established causality—we knew that it was recognition that was driving performance and not the other way around,” Hart says. “In phase two, we established correlations, and we found that the amount of recognition that a manager would provide to his team was correlated to the company’s KPIs, i.e. turnover, engagement, productivity, customer satisfaction, etc. We proved without a doubt that managers who got recognition right had better performing teams.”

But how does Vistance apply this information in a practical way that actually improves performance? Hart says the key is the Vistance RQ score.

“All managers get an RQ score that allows them to see how they rank against all other managers in the organisation,” he explains. “We then suggest that they can improve their RQ score by taking an online skills assessment that basically tells us what their strengths and weaknesses are in managing people. Then, we prescriptively serve online educational modules that are geared towards the specific things they need to become better people managers and to draw out the best in others.”

These learning modules address five key dimensions of recognition:

• Recognition talking

• Appreciative listening

• Acknowledging intent

• Praiseworthy actions

• Rewarding giving

A manager’s improvement is assessed through changes in their RQ score, which takes into account both their performance on Vistance online assessments and direct input from company employees.

According to Hart, the key to improving recognition results is focusing resources on the education of managers.

“What we need are leaders—managers [who] are going to create ’employee patriots’ who will stick with you through good times and bad, who will be more resilient, more tolerant, and more engaged,” he says. “That only comes through inspired leadership. I think companies could stop spending money on rewards and invest in education for managers and have much higher engagement scores. higher levels of customer satisfaction, and higher productivity. We’ve proven this, and that’s what Vistance is all about.”

The use of Vistance has been shown to improve several key indicators of performance. A study of Vistance client outcomes that examined a sample size of 25,000 to 30,000 employees determined that managers with a top RQ score compared to a bottom RQ score had 18 per cent higher sales, 2 to 3 per cent higher customer satisfaction, and 4 per cent better employee engagement. “For our clients, these numbers are huge,” says Hart. “Not everybody’s going to get these results, but I think that what we’re contributing to is driving cultural change and behavioral change, and that creates a culture that attracts, retains, and engages people.”

And Vistance is only going to keep expanding. Hart says that the system has already become core to Rideau’s integrated platform and draws data from all of its other programmes. In the product roadmap, Rideau is working to add new modules related to engagement, leadership, and time management. Further, Rideau intends to incorporate licensed content from well-known authors into the platform.

Hart believes that in the next five to 10 years, Vistance has the potential to transform the entire HR industry. “Recognition won’t just be about the rewards anymore, and people won’t think of recognition as an afterthought,” he says. “What we’re doing is going to become a must-have—all corporations are going to need it, and they’re going to need it because of this upcoming talent crisis.”

Posted February 15, 2017 in Performance Management & Rewards

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