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1. What effort is involved to transition non-attached employees back to attached, if it is at all possible.

Re-establishing trust takes time – often years but is the essential ingredient to engagement. This must be achieved consistently. Leadership needs earn trust and a great way to do that is simply notice what people contribute. Often the hardest question to answer is: Is the effort it will take to re-establish, trust worth the reward for the organisation? Sometimes there are very ‘hard nuts to crack.’

2. How do you change a culture focussed on financial bonus reward to non-financial reward?

Firstly, I recommend all the Leadership team read Daniel Pink’s fantastic book Drive. In his book he outlines the short term his of cash rewards causes-long term disincentive and reduced creativity.

Ask your employees what they want as a reward. You may be surprised by the answer. ‘More money’ is rarely top of the list. Respondents to the 2007 Incentive and Rewards Study in Australia and New Zealand, when asked how they wanted to be recognised gave a resounding answer. They wanted ‘time to spend with those people important to them, creating memories and sharing experiences.’

Loyalty is rarely about the money (this is table stakes in the HR world). Notice people, love them, value their contribution and make them heroes – make their dreams come true and they will be with you forever – and will also give you their valuable discretionary effort.

3 At RedBalloon, if you could only select one thing, what would you say is your key to achieving attachment in new starters?

We recruit on values. So we know from the start that new employees are pre-disposed to be attached to our organisation, simply because we know they share the values we stand for. Plus we do what we say we are going to do, show them they we are real, with imperfections, and empower them to get the job done.

4. What are some strategies to achieve engagement in organisations that are geographically dispersed?

An online points program that managers can use to reward –if dealing with geographically dispersed people you don’t have to be face-to-face to acknowledge and reward effort. Qantas is a great example of a geographically dispersed organisation for whom RedBalloon provides such a platform. The employee receives recognition no matter where they are located. Local managers and leaders are critical to the consistent role out. (PS Qantas was voted #5 Dream Employer 2010).

5. Are there statistics available supporting a company wide orientation event as opposed to a simple induction program? And what kind of induction/orientation is best for meeting expectations and providing engagement?

Induction plays a major role when an employee has just entered an organisation, it’s their very first step into the family. Whilst induction can appear casual – for example at RedBalloon we assign a buddy -who introduces them around, shows them our online systems, and out to lunch – it shouldn’t ever be seen as a casual program and needs to be supported by documentation, support, and an open-door policy by the HR manager.

For meeting expectations and providing engagement, I would say that this sort of ‘simple’ induction is more personable – and is useful to support a large, company-wide orientation event.

6. Who was the author of the book just mentioned please? Naomi mentioned a book, if she can remember the author that would be great.

Drive by Daniel Pink

7. Can you give me an insight into preferred rewards and recognition options that rate highly with staff

Research has shown us that experiential purchases or life experiences make people happier than material purchases. The initial thrill of a possession wears off quickly, but memories last forever. A person’s life is the sum of their experiences, not their goods. Experiences have greater social value in their connectivity. Respondents to the 2007 Incentive and Rewards Study in Australia and New Zealand, when asked how they wanted to be recognised gave a resounding answer. They wanted ‘time to spend with those people important to them, creating memories and sharing experiences.’

From our own RedBalloon Pleasure Surveys we discovered for more than 56% of all respondents, the best reward that an employer could give for a job well done is a fun thing to do, with a dinner for two (at over 17%) trailing far behind in second place. The five least popular rewards were in order: desk accessories (0.1%), flowers (0.4%), CD/DVD vouchers (1.4%), movie vouchers (1.6%) and food hampers (1.7%).

8. You mentioned that Corporate Social Responsibility was an important part of being a Dream Employer. How much time should an employer invest in Corporate Social responsibility? What does Red Balloon do about C.S.R? Rather than the amount of time, it’s about the value the organisation places upon it. After my own personal life experience volunteering (as part of the Channel Nine Secret Millionaire TV series), I decided to create the ‘We Care’ program at RedBalloon. Now I donate my speaking fees directly so our team can volunteer at charities of their choice. But it also relates specifically to our values at RedBalloon: generosity and integrity. Our sense of CSR is aligned with what we do – and that’s vital to any organisation. It can’t just be attached on, it needs to speak to every employee through its value.

9. How frequently do you remind the team about the great benefits available?

It’s all about the communication – from posters promoting the company theme for the quarter, to line managers taking ownership on recognition. If you use an online rewards and recognition program – like RedBalloon’s – the reminder is as simple as each employee receiving a weekly email about the rewards available for redemption.

10. Do people forget or just forget to value the benefits (tangible) after a while?

Only if you let them. Managers can constantly add value to any reward and recognition program by simply living the value of generosity in the workplace. An authentic thank-you. Recognition. A manager noticing a job well done, then leaving a thank-you card and coffee/tea/chai voucher upon the employee’s desk. Putting a structure around gratitude – like a rewards and recognition program – doesn’t make the gratitude less authentic. Instead it brings it top of mind. It creates a value that’s valued.

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