5 Steps to Find the Right Performance Management Program
Performance management is an integral part of your company’s employee experience. So, it’s critical to get a platform that fits your company culture on the first try. Let’s also consider getting the most for your investment by adding recognition and reward with performance management.
We’ve put this guide together to simplify the process of researching, finding, and choosing an employee engagement platform that works to promote performance in your company.
There are five major steps to finding the right program for your company.
- Know why you’re investing
- Identify the business need
- Show me the money
- Compare as much as you dare
- Ready, set .... decide!
This guide gives you the tools to save time and make an educated decision. Each section has clear directions, action items, and easy-to-use guidance to help your search move forward.
It’s also set up to help you get your whole internal team on board with this decision. It should give you the power to do the following three things:
Educate Effectively. We’ll give you the data to make a clear business case for your investment — whether you’re talking to your CEO, CTO, CFO, or your HR team.
Budget Bravely. We’ll help you look at your existing budget to see how it supports a comprehensive program.
Shop Savvy. We want to give you a shortcut for your shopping strategy with a step-by-step guide through the buying and evaluation process.
Our tips and suggestions can save you time and effort.
ROI of a good employee experience
A positive employee experience leads to a stronger bottom line. You can use these engagement stats from Gallup’s State of the Workplace 2017:
- 41% lower absenteeism
- 24%-59% lower turnover
- 17% higher productivity
Step 1 - Why invest?
The need to invest in the employee experience is at an all-time high, and rewards and recognition platforms are a key part of that investment.
Most companies are competing for a limited talent pool. Millennials make up more than half that talent and they engage differently than their Gen X or Boomer managers. Plus, employee engagement is at an all-time low (only 33% according to Gallup1). Those stats combine to make retention and recruitment an ongoing challenge.
According to Jacob Morgan in the Harvard Business Review’s survey of employee engagement stats at more than 250 companies, the most profitable and successful companies are all investing in employee experience. That means they’re making their employees “want, not just need” to work every day. We’re talking leaders like Adobe, Accenture, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and others.
Recognition is a key part of building the employee experience. Glassdoor ran a 2015 survey of employees and found that appreciation is the single most effective motivator in day-to-day work. And when you combine that appreciation with a small reward — it’s even more impactful.
To wrap it all up, investing in the right platform is an investment in your company’s performance.
Step 2 - Identifying the need
Prioritizing the employee experience isn’t just about building happiness. It’s about getting a measurable but achievable boost to employee performance or motivation. Sometimes it’s about solving a problem. Sometimes it’s about preventing one.
Before you start evaluating different recognition and rewards options, it’s important to understand your company’s true goals and use them to fuel your search.
Knowing what you really want is going to help you get it right the first time. You want your solution to address your real, root goals.
Here are some key questions you can use to get to the core of your company’s goals. The answers can give you a clear set of metrics to use, both to evaluate each program — and to show your management if the platform is successful.
- What are some of your company’s challenges that are affected by your employee experience? (i.e. attracting talent, culture, cost-saving behaviors, younger workforce)
- What performance metrics would you change in your company? And by how much? (examples. Employee engagement survey, turnover rates and costs, attendance, average tenure of new hires)
- What matters to my employees? What gets them excited about work? Or life? (examples, can choose rewards, work flexibility, appreciation, peer recognition)
Step 3 - Show me the money
Know that you’ve read the stats on employee experience and clearly laid out the core reasons why your company needs to invest in rewards and recognition, it’s time to look at the budget. We have two quick budgeting exercises to help you find your budget, calculate your ROI, and get the numbers you need to justify your decision to your executives.
There is, understandably, confusion about deploying a rewards and recognition platform. You’re going to get questions about cost, terms, budget, and ROI. Your management will likely want to know three things:
- What plans did you consider (and why)?
- How will you fund your plan?
- What metrics will you use to know if it’s successful?
The questions from the last section should help with your success metrics. Now, here are the basics on terms and pricing. All vendors are different, so make sure you ask each question every time you interview a new one.
To save you time, we’ve created a decision checklist below that summarizes the key questions to ask and makes it easy to do side-by-side vendor comparisons.
Questions for each vendor
- What functionality is included in the contract? What’s NOT included?
- Is there a contract period? If so, how long are the commitments?
- Is there a minimum reward spend per month, quarter, or year?
- What is the fee structure? What functionality is included? What’s not included?
- Does the fee structure include things like software licensing fees, support fees, or convenience fees?
- Is there an extra fee for customization, like adding your own swag or changing your logo?
- What reporting structures or analytics are included in this contract?
- How much staff time will it take to administer this platform?
- How easy is it to download reports from this product?
- Can you give me examples of how this product has helped others with my core needs? (e.g., retention, customer service scores, attendance, safety, etc.)
When looking for funds to support a rewards and recognition platform, most companies can use money they’re already spending on less formal engagement activities.
Here’s an exercise for you to assess what you are currently spending on engagement, and see how you can redirect those efforts into a comprehensive program.
Start by making an inventory of any of the initiatives listed below and their associated costs (think money, time, and energy). Then add them up. The total will tell you how much you can pool to fund a new platform.
By getting a grasp on what you’re already spending, you can make a great case for redirecting that budget toward a comprehensive employee experience platform.
- Service awards: 1, 5, and 10-year anniversary rewards
- Birthdays: Presents, cakes
- Ad hoc recognition, rewards, and bonuses: Sales incentives, safety, KPIs, attendance, positive customer feedback, contests
- Wellness: Gym fees, doctor visits, health initiatives and accessories
- Professional learning and development: Modules, courses, certifications
- Recruiting and referrals: Rewards, incentives, new hire welcome perks
- Gift card programs: Does someone in you roffice have a drawer full?
- Work/life balance: Time off, working from home opportunities
- Community involvement and CSR: Local efforts, programs
Step 4 - Comparison shopping
When you’re looking for the right platform for your company, you’ll come across a lot of options. To save you time in choosing the right platform, we’ve put a detailed question list into a cheat sheet on the next page.
- Vendor questions (cost structure, core values, custom rewards, support, plans)
- Platform questions (benefits, ease of use, implementation, support, customization)
- Rewards and Recognition questions (variety, fulfillment, customization)
- Using these questions to assess potential engagement programs will help you make an informed choice and communicate it to your management team.
Questions about the vendors
- Do they offer a full-service platform or are there hidden costs for features, support, or rewards?
- Do they commit to reinforcing your unique and specific corporate goals and company values?
- Do they encourage meaningful or culture-specific rewards that your employees will care about, even if they are non-monetary?
- Do they offer value-added coaching and ongoing support for using rewards as part of a bigger employee experience?
- Do they promote a program for recognition and rewards to drive sustainable employee performance?
- Do they write interesting and useful topics in their blog posts or share best practice?
Questions about the platform
- Is it intuitive and easy to use for employees and admins?
- How much employee training and hands-on-administration does it require, if any?
- Does it provide admins to have a system dashboard and extract information easily?
Questions about the Rewards/Recognition
- Do they offer nationwide fulfilment?
- Do handle logistics, on-line tracking, and delivery?
- Is email communication for points, rewards, and transactions built-in?
Step 5 - Time to Decide
Once you get down to the final step of choosing an employee experience partner, you’re going to want assurance from your partner, reliability of delivery, and proven results from their platform. Before you decide to buy, here are a few key do’s and don’ts.
- Make sure you’re getting transparent pricing before you buy.
- Look for testimonials, case studies, quotes, and awards. After all, experience matters.
- Look for a long-term partner who offers valuable analytics and ongoing coaching.
- Get lured into a low-cost solution, only to discover hidden service fees, limited features, or other budget-derailing surprises.
- Rely solely on the salesperson to assess the long-term viability of a program.
- Pick a standalone product that won’t help you launch your initiative, grow with your company, adapt to your needs, or clearly reinforce company values.
These final steps are crucial to a smooth platform introduction and a successful long-term investment. Once you walk through our five steps, you’ll have all the tools you need to make the best decision possible for your company, and make the best case for your decision internally. When you’re ready to dive in and begin your search, we hope you’ll consider CARROTS. But either way, this process should help you get the right partner for your engagement.
"You get 10x more with CARROTS compared to their cost when you consider the improvements in company and employee performance, employee motivation, and customer happiness. We found that happy employees translate to happy customers that sticks with us longer" - BPO Customer
Morgan, Jacob. (2017, March 10) Why the Millions We Spend on Employee Engagement Buy Us So Little. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-the-millions-we-spend-on-employee-engagement-buy-us-so-little
Glassdoor Team (2013, November 13). Employers to Retain Half of Their Employees Longer if Bosses Showed More Appreciation; Glassdoor Survey. Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/employers-to-retain-half-of-their-employees-longer-if-bosses-showed-more-appreciation-glassdoor-survey