Bayer Canada

What if your business model depended on continual innovation?

Recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the eighth consecutive year, Bayer is committed to a culture where innovation and great work thrive. With an employer brand that focuses on making a difference for its people and the world—this results driven environment seeks excellence at all levels.

But in an increasingly competitive market, how does Bayer inspire employees to create and make them feel valued for both individual and team achievements?

The challenge: Design a flexible, branded recognition solution to drive innovation and create a culture of positive feedback. Align the recognition to support Bayer’s guiding values of Leadership, Integrity, Flexibility, and Efficiency (LIFE). Ensure the recognition experience is meaningful, interactive, and celebratory. Provide administrators and leaders with centralized reporting and budgetary capabilities.


Bayer initially implemented an award recognition program in 2009, consisting only of monetary awards. By 2013, there was a desire to expand the program to recognize consistently across the organization and implement a variety of award types. They also wanted to deliver meaningful recognition experiences to all demographics and locations.

After the success of Bayer’s partnership with O.C. Tanner in the U.S. with the implementation of its strategic solution, “Better Because of You,” leadership turned to O.C. Tanner to create a similar solution for its Canadian employees. A team was put together with representatives from human resources, business line leaders, IT, accounting, and procurement.

Bayer Canada has a 92% employee engagement rate.


In March 2014, Bayer Canada’s “You Make Life Better” program was launched—consistently aligning recognition to its LIFE values. In one place, employees access several branded programs: (1) Applause (on-thespot awards), (2) Ovation Awards (highest achievement awards), (3) Life Milestones (career achievement), (4) Ambassador (retirement), and (5) eCards/eButtons (shout outs of thanks).

The key to Bayer’s sucess: investing time, effort, and resources to ensure the messaging, imagery, and awards reflected the unique needs of the Canadian organization and its employees.

Email teasers, communications, user guides and a presentation to employees and managers took place to launch the new program, which generated a lot of excitement and fun. Now as peers and managers recognize each other with awards and certificates, meaningful celebrations are occurring and recognition is making a visible impact.

From the onset, recognition at Bayer received complete executive buy-in and support. Managers were encouraged to fully utilize their recognition budgets and really view it as an important part of ongoing development efforts. This was a message well received as every manager—in every department—used their full allocations.

“The everyday thank-you is just as important as recognition for the big achievements. You need to offer this type of flexibility—so your recognition continues to be meaningful and individualized.” Lynda Newcomb, Vice President, Human Resources, Bayer Canada Vice President, Human Resources, Bayer Canada


  • Recognition has been transformed from a transaction, (in the past only cash was given), to an interactive, engaging experience.
  • Since March 2014, 1,000 appreciation moments have been experienced.

  • Creating a flexible program delivers more meaning—you need to find ways to recognize people with something they will value.
  • Gathering feedback helps continually refresh and enhance the program. We ask ourselves, ‘What can be streamlined?’ ‘How do we make it easy for peers and managers to drive utilization?’
  • Leveraging best practices from repeat-recognizers helps ensure greater involvement.
  • Onboarding different business units via a stepped implementation process provides the opportunity to dedicate resources more fully.
  • Using reporting tools ensures managers understand the reward budget.
  • Utilizing a bill-on-redemption model better aligns business goals and ensures charges only occur after great recognition experiences are fulfilled.

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