Category All, Best Practices 15 Questions to Ask when Choosing an Employee Recognition Platform Choosing your new employee recognition platform is not simple. Use these questions to make your decision easier. February 17, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar There are multiple employee recognition platforms on the market today. However, many leaders, Total Rewards and HR Professionals are struggling to predict which one of those employee recognition platforms will suit their companies and employees best. In this article, you will find out which questions to ask when choosing your next employee recognition platform. This will be helpful to professionals who have never implemented or maintained employee recognition programs in their companies, as well as to those who are looking to change their current employee recognition platform. 🟦 Before we start, get our Employee Recognition Playbook to find out the steps to implementing and maintaining successful employee recognition programs. What is an Employee Recognition Platform Employee recognition platform is also called employee recognition software, solution or app. In short, it is a solution that enables recognizing employees in an organized and centralized way. It is designed to enhance the recognition experience for employees, thus making it more effective. Moreover, employee recognition platform enables easy navigation of the whole recognition system to professionals that manage employee recognition in their companies. Without employee recognition platform, large companies cannot really implement best employee recognition ideas and practices nor measure the results of their initiatives. 3 Questions to Answer before Choosing Your Next Employee Recognition Platform Before you dive into the searching and buying process, ask yourself and your team these questions. Answering them will help you find the employee recognition platform that is perfectly suited to your workforce and your company. Remember: you are not buying an employee recognition app to fit your current needs only. You want to find a partner that will help you grow and adapt the recognition programs to your future needs and industry trends. What are your goals? Keep your goals in mind when choosing your employee recognition platform. Are you looking to increase employee engagement or employee productivity? Do you want to improve company culture? Is your goal to include deskless employees into your recognition program? Moreover, how do you think you will measure achieving your goals? All these items are worth discussing with your colleagues. Therefore, encourage your team to research these topics and create workshops around them. Naturally, representatives from your potential employee recognition platform will help you pinpoint specific criteria to measure your efforts. Who are your key stakeholders? When talking about employee recognition platform, we are talking about an extensive system that will take time and resources to set up, and that multiple personas could potentially benefit from. Therefore, ask yourself: who are your key stakeholders? Besides leadership, who has to approve the employee recognition platform itself, there are several personas that you must consider before choosing your next employee recognition provider. First of all, you must check in with your IT department and see how much time and resources you have to implement and maintain an employee recognition platform. Their input will help you decide if you should take on an employee recognition provider that will adapt to your system and customize their platform according to your needs. Moreover, your IT colleagues can help you determine what integrations to look for. Also, you can include your colleagues from learning and development, legal department, managers and more into consideration while choosing your employee recognition platform. As every company’s requirements are different, you will be the best judge to determine your key stakeholders. How much time and resources do you have? Time and resources are crucial to determine before jumping to searching and buying for your next employee recognition platform. Are you planning to employ a new person as the leader and manager of your employee recognition project, or are you counting to maintain the project with minimum FTE? Moreover, consider time and resources your IT department is willing to allocate into implementation and maintenance of your future employee recognition platform. This will help you easily filter through your options during the buying process. How to Choose the Right Employee Recognition Platform According to research by Josh Bersin, companies with most sophisticated employee recognition practices are on average 12 times more likely to generate strong business outcomes than their peers. In other words – choosing the best employee recognition platform is of utmost importance for your company’s performance. These questions are here to help you choose the right employee recognition platform – for your company, for your employees, and for the future of both. 1. Does the platform offer various recognition programs? Depending on your goals, you might opt for monetary or non-monetary employee recognition programs. However, it is best to keep your options open and look for an employee recognition platform that can ensure you can offer both. Moreover, see if the platform at hand enables you to support more employee recognition programs at once, and that they can be customized according to your preference. 🟦 Get our employee recognition ideas to help you determine what kind of programs you want to implement. 2. Is the platform flexible enough to support your specific needs and goals? As we mentioned, you need to define the goals you want to achieve with employee recognition before starting your buying process. Therefore, you need to make sure that your employee recognition platform is flexible enough to support your specific needs and goals. Some of your goals might be short term ones. For example, you want your employees to get recognition points for specific actions such as referring a candidate for a job opening or participating in an employee wellbeing program. However, you also want your employee recognition platform to reflect your company’s mission and values. For example, see if you can choose the name of your platform and programs, can you choose your own recognition and reward reasons and levels and more. It is also important to see how far-reaching the self-service capabilities of your future platform are, i.e., how easy will it be for you and your team to set all of this on your own. 3. Can the solution be customized and personalized? Check if the employee recognition platform that you are considering can be customized and personalized. In other words, can you make it look “yours”? Moreover, are you able to use your brand features, like logos, pictures, fonts and colors to make it feel more natural to your employees? 4. Does the employee recognition platform integrate with your HRIS? Integration of your employee recognition platform with your HRIS could be a deal breaker. Having a seamless integration can enable you to easily connect data from your HRIS with your employee recognition platform and vice versa. Moreover, it will probably mean that your IT department will have to allocate minimal resources to put your new employee recognition platform to work. For example, if you are an SAP SuccessFactors® user, consider our employee recognition platform JobPts. Manual exchange of employee data can lead to issues, especially in large enterprises, so having an integration that streamlines and automates many of your efforts is a crucial aspect of your selection process. Recognize and reward your employees with JobPts. Read more 5. Does the platform integrate with internal communication channels? Effective employee communication is essential for healthy business. According to McKinsey, employee productivity can rise up to 25% in organizations where employees are connected. Think about it: your employees probably use Slack, MS Teams or other communication apps on daily basis. Therefore, your future employee recognition platform should enable easy recognition through these channels to increase your employees’ usage of the system. 6. Can the vendor add value by acting as a strategic consultant or business partner? You are in the market for an employee recognition platform, but how will you ensure that you are always utilizing the best practices and recognition trends that come up? Look for not just provider of software services, but also for strategic consulting along your employee recognition path. 7. Is the solution mobile friendly? Employees use mobile phones in their work more than ever. Moreover, Millennials and Gen Z, generations that are comprising more and more of the total world workforce can hardly imagine their lives without technology. In fact, 93% of Millennials own smartphones. Therefore, ensuring that your employee recognition platform is mobile friendly will help you drive adoption and user rates among your employees. 8. Does the employee recognition platform offer social recognition features? Social recognition is an important aspect of your future employee appreciation efforts. It amplifies the impact of recognition taking place and creates positive working environment. This is why you should check if the employee recognition platform that you are considering has built-in social recognition features like recognition wall or other. 9. Can the platform support global recognition programs under one roof? Many organizations are looking to centralize their employee recognition efforts, but still offer locally relevant experience. If your company is an enterprise operating in multiple locations, you have to check if the considered employee recognition platform supports global recognition programs under one roof. In other words, see if it can support your company’s different locations with language, can it adapt to your company’s organizational structure and other. 10. Can the employee recognition platform support your deskless workforce? Deskless employees are often neglected when it comes to recognition. Yet, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of frontline employees’ work. If your workforce includes non-digital employees, you must find ways to include them in your recognition initiatives. There are several options to do this. 🟦 See our ideas for recognizing your deskless employees. During your buying process, ask your employee recognition platform vendor about their experience implementing best employee recognition practices for deskless employees. 11. Are there other functionalities that drive employee engagement? Number one reason for implementing employee recognition platforms is to drive employee engagement. Although recognition is a powerful employee engagement tool, it is not the only one. For example, built-in employee surveys or added employee wellbeing modules can help you generate even more engagement. On one hand, employee surveys are a great way to detect your employees’ feelings, opinions and sentiment. On the other hand, employers are urged to put emphasis on their employees’ wellbeing. It not only improves the overall quality of your employees’ life, but it also helps them be more productive and helps you cut down on healthcare costs. More specifically, 25% of employees state that job is a main stressor in their lives, and 88% of employees are more likely to perceive their company as a good place to work at if it supports employee wellbeing initiatives. 12. Is the vendor one-stop-shop for all your recognition needs? While choosing your new employee recognition platform, it is important to note if your vendor will be there to support you in everything you will need related to employee recognition. Therefore, check your vendor’s level of involvement in implementation, consulting, handling digital rewards, facilitating integrations that you need and more. 13. How extensive are the analytics features, and is the solution AI-powered? In order to optimize your employee recognition practices and reach your goals, you need to measure your efforts. Analytics are very important for tracking everything you do and determining which recognition practices work better than others. Moreover, your employee recognition platform can help you detect and drive more engagement with AI-powered features. Check with your provider if they offer smart features that will help you enhance your employee recognition programs. 14. What are the existing customers saying about the platform? Before deciding which employee recognition platform you will use, check relevant software review sites like G2Crowd and Capterra to see unbiased reviews from real users. Check your future vendor’s customer storcies, and if you have specific questions, you can even ask for references. 🟦 Check out our customer success stories. 15. Can you do a pilot before going live? If you work in an enterprise, you will spend a significant amount of resources to implement and maintain an employee recognition platform. Therefore, it is advisable to first do a pilot with a representative sample of your employees. This will ensure that everything runs smoothly once you implement a company-wide platform. Looking for an Employee Recognition Platform? All in all, choosing and buying an employee recognition platform is a complex process. You need to be mindful of many factors, yet not make the process too time-consuming. Moreover, you have to make sure your employee recognition platform is useful, and that its choice is justified with results. As our teams have vast experience in supporting HR Professionals to choose and implement their employee recognition platforms, we have created an Employee Recognition and Rewards Buyer’s Guide. We hope it helps you in your search and that it makes your buying process more streamlined.