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Key team members: Sara Turner, UK head of benefits and wellbeing; Ingrid Waterfield, UK head of reward; Michelle Quest, UK head of people; Tony Cates, UK COO
Working to retain top talent and maintain standards of service is critical to business success, and nowhere more so than in the professional services industry. KPMG staff expect regular recognition for individual and team performance, as well as for their contribution to the firm’s overall success. We also need to continue our efforts to keep the workforce energised and engaged.Our previous reward schemes, though well-intentioned, had failed to do this. We realised we needed an employee recognition programme that was aligned to KPMG’s core values and delivered truly quantifiable results.After reviewing the marketplace, we decided that Globoforce, a provider of employee recognition solutions, would help us to achieve our goals. We worked with the company to remove the hierarchical barriers normally associated with recognition and reward, converting what had been seen as a manager-run scheme to one that involved the wider workforce. The development of compulsory elements on reward and recognition in management training and coaching programmes has helped to ensure that staff at all levels understand the new programme’s peer-to-peer principles. Success depends on the participation of all KPMG staff. The reward and management teams worked closely together to develop the programme. This collaboration gave it the direction and credibility it needed to be effective. The programme was named Encore! and was designed to enable managers and staff alike to recognise and reward individuals and teams who demonstrate outstanding performance in accordance with KPMG’s core values and objectives. Additional goals included increasing the choice of rewards available, reducing the overall cost of reward, refreshing internal perceptions of our reward efforts and promoting the programme as a competitive differentiator. Software developed by Globoforce helped us to achieve these goals. The technology allows staff to rate and reward each other via a secure online portal. A scale linking levels of recognition to awards of ascending monetary worth also enables employees to select the value of each award. Of course, we had our challenges. KPMG in the UK has more than 11,000 employees in 22 offices. With so many staff, we needed to ensure the rewards scheme, while consistent, still provided real choice. We did this by offering electronic gift cards from a wide variety of local merchants.Any scheme we implemented had to be scalable so that it could eventually accommodate offices beyond the UK. So we ensured the software supporting Encore! could be used in multiple languages and would automatically adjust the value of awards to take into account local variations in the standard of living. Since launching the programme in 2008, we have seen a 25 per cent increase in the number of employees receiving recognition awards of their own choosing, as well as an overall reduction in spending on reward. As more staff understand the benefits and objectives of the programme, the level of engagement with Encore! continues to grow – resulting in a 165 per cent increase in the number of rewards given out to date. Our goal is to achieve a further 35 per cent increase by the end of the current financial year. We are now implementing a new “social recognition newsfeed” that will allow individuals to see a stream of recent rewards and congratulate the recipients. This will be used to promote continuous feedback within the firm.Encore! continues to shape recognition at KPMG and, by enabling employees to reward each other, to transform the firm’s culture.