Real-time rewards

Real-time rewards

Achievers uses the cloud and its social media-like program to recognize hard-working employees.

Remember when employee recognition meant a promise of a pint after work or a company-branded, ill-fitting golf shirt for a job well done? Rewards are things we accept, not things we want. And, in most cases, they do nothing to drive performance. Or as Sarah-Beth Anders, senior director of marketing at Achievers, puts it, “Nobody works harder just to get a coffee mug.”

Achievers – which some people may remember as I Love Rewards – does help corporations reward employees, but it’s more than just a recognition company, says Razor Suleman, the company’s Toronto-based founder. “Companies are more focused on creating a culture that spurs performance, in real time,” he says. “That’s what we do.”

The company, which has offices in Toronto, London and San Francisco, enables employers to reward staff via cloud-based software. Its social media-like interface allows bosses and colleagues to praise people in front of others. Recognition points, given when staff members are acknowledged for a job well done, can be redeemed for things they actually want, like an iPad or a glitzy night out.

Thanks to the anywhere, anytime nature of the cloud, Achievers’ recognition platform can be accessed virtually anywhere. Designed to mimic familiar social networks, it’s also easy to use. Depending on how the client configures the program, employees can redeem their points for whatever they want, online or elsewhere. “You could be shopping in a Banana Republic and use your points to buy something right in the store,” says Anders.

The platform can be integrated into any existing workplace system. “If you want your recognition to show up on your Slack newsfeed, we can do it,” says Anders. “The easier it is for people to use, the more often they’ll use it. And the more often they use it, the more engaged with work they become.”

Even better, the employer has access to an endless stream of real-time, automatically generated data and analytics. For example, a manager can instantly see who on their team is being recognized – or not recognized – by their peers, just by looking at the recognition and redemption rates. So, if you’re managing 20 people, you would get a better sense of who is performing especially well. Or, if someone is no longer being recognized, the data would offer a clue for the manager to investigate a potential problem. Likewise, a manager could compare employee engagement of their team against the entire company.

All of this has helped Achievers’ clients – it has one million-plus members working at some of the largest companies around the world – significantly increase engagement. Customers tend to see employee-engagement scores jump by 28 percent after using the company’s program.

“If you’re a manager, you can see how your team is performing based on points earned and redemption rates,” says Suleman. Similarly, HR and other executives can see how a manager is recognizing their team, then correlate these numbers to productivity and retention rates.

The data provided by the platform also helps inform Achievers itself. “We had one client come to us asking for a more tax-efficient way to reward its employees,” says Anders. Working together, they were able to design something that worked for the client. “Now, all our clients get access to it.”

And that includes Achievers itself. “We are a client, too,” says Anders. “Everyone needs to be validated.”

- Jay Somerset / Photograph by: Reynard Li