I’m thrilled to share with you excerpts from the cover story of the November issue of Incentive magazine. In “Global Engagement,” Tom Aurelio, vice president of human resources, and Jennifer Reimert, senior director of global compensation, for Symantec discuss their Applause global strategic employee recognition program.
These days, business has no borders. Expanding across continents presents organizations with advantages, but it also poses challenges, such as how to keep far-flung employees engaged, especially during this time of economic tumult. Software giant Symantec Corp., headquartered in Mountain View, CA, near San Jose, has experienced this firsthand, as the company’s rapid global expansion spurred a revamp of its employee recognition strategy. Centralizing program administration while localizing the awards, the company is now able to reach more employees and more effectively encourage the right kinds of behaviors—all the while cutting out the costs associated with running multiple programs.
The need for one comprehensive program that offered global reach and the technology that would make an expansive program function effectively led Symantec to Globoforce, the provider of employee recognition programs based in Dublin and Southborough, MA. Globoforce specializes in assisting multinational, multicultural organizations with employee engagement challenges.
As Symantec began working with Globoforce to build the new engagement program, it determined to focus on driving the four values that the company leadership set out years before: action, customer-driven, innovation, and trust. It wanted the program to “refresh” those values—support, uphold, and breathe new life into them—and ensure that, around the globe, all employees were working toward the same core company goals. While the four values had played a role in employee performance reviews, this was the first time they were incorporated into a company reward and recognition program. With the global platform of the Applause program, Symantec is able to measure award usage, the values that are being recognized, and the distribution and reach of the awards.
The Applause program, with the goals of building a culture of appreciation and recognition, fostering employee engagement, and achieving global economies of scale, is run on one central platform across all of the company’s divisions, and allows all employees to award their teams or peers Applause certificates, valued from $25 to $1,000 (though always in the recipient’s local currency). Since recipients can redeem their awards from a worldwide network of merchants, winners have a world of options that fit their cultures and tastes.
The company sees Applause as a happy streamlining of two goals made more pressing in the current economic climate: keeping employee morale up and suppressing costs. Symantec has found that its new global approach to recognition has greatly improved efficiencies and reduced company-wide costs, so despite the poor economy, it has never considered cost-cutting that might reduce the program’s effectiveness in boosting employee engagement and performance.
I encourage you to read the entire article for more details about the benefits of applying strategic employee recognition in a global organization.