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BTFG’s participation at RedBalloon’s Engagement Capability Workshop in April 2011 led the BTFG Human Resources team to partner with RedBalloon’s engagement specialists to scope and lead an employee-powered body of work to create an enterprise-wide solution for recognition and reward.
The challenge BTFG gave RedBalloon was to help employees match their feelings of achievement, with feeling genuinely valued and recognised. Our mission was born - to drive extraordinary achievements, inspire others to achieve and create way to help employees recognise their contributions to this culture every day.
Whilst the mission was clear and simple, the complexity of the organisation and the need to create recognition experiences that felt very individual to each employee versus ‘one-size-fits-all’ provided a unique opportunity. The challenge therefore was to:
- evaluate existing reward and recognition programs in the eyes of employees
- use employee insights and best practice to create an all-new organisation-wide program
- design a platform that could be enjoyed by all business units aligned to a core set of values and employee value proposition
- develop an authentic culture of recognition within each Business Unit and across BTFG as whole
- create a platform that could be leveraged across the Westpac Group as a whole
“The brief to RedBalloon was to make the experience of recognition at BT Financial Group ‘very different, very quickly’ whilst ensuring that the solution was based on employee insights and best practice,” explains BTFG HR Operations Manager Angela Serhan.
“A partnership was struck between RedBalloon and BTFG which leveraged RedBalloon’s engagement expertise and best practice employer insights, as well as their passion for amazing recognition experiences,” Ms Serhan said. RedBalloon utilised its employee-led process of ‘Discover, Technology, Creative, Delivery & Review’ to create a five month program of work which included nation-wide employee workshops, the creation of a 100-strong working group, a customised technology platform and marketing support. Work began in November 2011.
Employee engagement in the program started from day one by launching a start-up version of the platform for employees to test and submit suggestions and ideas for development. Through encouragement from the Working Group, over 180 ideas were contributed, which fed the design and functionality of the program. The Working Group experienced recognition and RedBalloon experiences along the way to acknowledge their contributions– and the photos captured on these experiences then formed the basis of the program launch and support materials. The program was launched by CEO Brad Cooper, with a buzz at the BTFG national Road Shows in April 2012.
All employees, regardless of role, are now able to nominate each other for one of two organisation-wide awards based on the five company values and the associated desired behaviours.
In addition to the core award opportunities employees have access to:
Upon launch, BTFG CEO Brad Cooper set a goal of 4000 instances of recognition by 30 September 2012; at the time this felt like a mammoth goal considering nominations through previous programs totalled 350 a year! BTFG and RedBalloon were extremely excited and proud to see the recognition counter tick past 4000 in mid-June 2012, well ahead of target and with momentum continuing to grow. At the time of this submission, the recognition counter sits at 7020 with over 47,000 AIR points received by employees and teams to use toward RedBalloon experiences. Already 20 individual employees have been on a RedBalloon experience as a direct result of the living the BTFG values and being recognised for doing so. This is simply outstanding given the program has been operating a mere three-and-half months.
In the words of BTFG HR Operations Manager Angela Serhan:
“The quantity of nominations is testament to how easy it is to recognise teams and individuals instantly, and whilst this traction and volume has been exciting, it has been the quality and variety of the nominations that has generated attention and helped change the recognition culture within BTFG. Moving from generic rewards for the few and not often, to personal and timely recognition every day, has seen the organisation get behind the program in a way that was never imagined.
“All divisions in the Westpac Group are now following suit to establish their own programs and ultimately we are working through a plan to create one record breaking platform for the whole bank – from 4000 to 40,000 employees.
“Whilst we are thrilled to have delivered a platform that is meeting the needs of various levels within the Westpac Group, at the end of the day it’s the feedback we have received from employees and people leaders that tells us if we are successful. We were proud to see examples of nominations being sent to the program leader and HR General Manager to recognise their success with the program.
“Congratulations to you and the team on the development of the AIR recognition program. This is a fantastic program that provides all of us real opportunities to recognise our people and the work that they do in a quick and easy system. The program and rewards have been well thought out and I have no doubt will be the most successful program of its type and certainly the best I have seen in my 25 years with the group. I have already had the opportunity to use it a number of times this week and have found the process very easy and rewarding as a nominator.”
“As this kind of feedback demonstrates, the turnaround from the employee experience is exciting to see and exemplifies the success of the program – it is successful in the eyes of the employees themselves.”