Instant recognition that leads to a high-performance culture
“Recognition takes such little effort and creates instant joy”
—Samik Basu, CHRO
The world’s largest aluminum rolling company with 25,000 employees in India, Hindalco counts on their people as their defining resource.
Hindalco believes appreciation is a fundamental need of humans. Rewards and recognition, one of the pillars of Hindalco’s Employee Value Proposition, plays an important role in helping employees feel engaged, valued, and motivated. It is important that the organization has both formal and informal tools and practices where the right efforts and contributions are always celebrated.
Hindalco’s recognition strategy includes bi-annual PRIDE awards at the business level, Chairman’s awards for major accomplishments at the group level, and various recognition schemes at the cluster and unit level. The Chairman’s awards (for individual contributions) and PRIDE awards (for individual and team contributions) are aspirational, and employees look forward to being nominated while going through the extensive process of evaluation at many levels.
Building on a culture where employees are valued, the company was searching for a way to celebrate everyday wins and recognize the day-to-day achievements of their people. Through this, they also wanted to empower employees to recognize colleagues for their extra efforts in the right way.
The company partnered with O.C. Tanner to create a platform to recognize the day-to-day achievements of their people. This platform provides instant recognition as well as a social wall to share accomplishments across the organization. “It’s been seven years since we launched PRAISE, and we have had multiple changes and updates on this platform and recognition methods to remain relevant to users with the changing times. Our partnership with O.C. Tanner has been wonderful,” says Pooja Makasana, Lead, Organization Effectiveness at Hindalco.
PRAISE (Promote, Recognize, Appreciate Individual Success and Excellence) added three new key features to recognition at Hindalco:
1. Empowered leaders to recognize. One of the key features of PRAISE is that there is no approval block. Each component of PRAISE—Appreciation, Reward, Wish, and Thank You—are all individually-led features.
“With this platform, we are able to praise anyone. Across business units, across our locations. You don’t need any special authorization—everyone is empowered to praise everyone,” says Saurabh Shrinetra, Head of Operations
2. Introduced a social Wall of Fame to showcase employee accomplishments. Now recognition is visible across the organization, and employees can not only see their colleagues’ great work but can also cheer them on with likes and comments. Shrinetra believes the cross-functional and social aspects of recognition in PRAISE help motivate employees even more because others will see their accomplishments.
“It’s more than just motivation – it strengthens all the attributes that are required to build up a progressive, teamwork culture,” Shrinetra says.
3. It’s in the hands of people all the time. A mobile app makes it easy for employees to give recognition anywhere, anytime.
“PRAISE has become a part of life—I check it every day. It’s Hindalco-wide, so the appreciation wall is visible to all Hindalco employees. I’m loving it.”
—Tushar Patra, Maintenance Manager
Keeping PRAISE top of mind
The launch of PRAISE was nothing less than a celebration at Hindalco. Leaders came together to launch the platform in person with fellow colleagues. A special addition of the quarterly Hindalco employee newsletter was dedicated to PRAISE and included testimonials about the initial experiences of employees on the platform. This was backed up by a full six-month communication plan and initial training for unit-level administrators.
Each year on the anniversary of the PRAISE launch in February, Hindalco celebrates “PRAISE Month,” with activities and events to promote the program and encourage people to recognize. Past events have included recognition workshops with theater artists and managers to kick off dialogues on recognition, giveaways for employees on the shop floor, and creating a PRAISE corner in each unit.
During 2019 PRAISE month, employees created Praise trees, where they hung thank you cards, appreciation, and wishes which created great visual presence across units.
Leaders encouraged a culture of recognition by having employees download the mobile app and holding competitions to see which managers and departments could lead the recognition scoreboard. Reverse mentoring activities included teams of young professionals from each plant helping senior leaders download and start using the app.
“PRAISE month is always an opportunity to celebrate our successes with employees at large. Our Organization Effectiveness team across all units make plans in advance for the month and partner with top users of the particular unit for scaling up the impact,” says Makasana.
PRAISE has been well received by employees at Hindalco. Employees realize recognition is something which needs focus and efforts as it has a huge impact on the energy of their people and productivity.
Initially 4,000 manager-grade leaders were invited to participate in PRAISE. Three years into the program, another 4,000 supervisor-grade employees were included, for a total of over 8,000 leaders. The program has seen tremendous results:
• Usage of PRAISE has gone from 15% in the first year to 70% in the seventh year for manager-grade employees.
• Since the launch of Praise there have been 25,718 rewards and 42,807 Thank Yous given. Employees commented over 42,122 times and liked or appreciated peers’ recognition over 71,215 times.
• Scores for “When my work is good, my contributions and accomplishments are recognized” on the recent employee survey increased 3 points (6 points higher than other high-performance companies).
• Overall employee engagement also increased 5 points to 86%.
“People live the new behaviors and if we can quickly recognize that, what better way to cement the changes that we want in our culture,” says Samik Basu, CHRO.
PRAISE reinforces the behaviors that lead to a high-performance culture. “It motivates employees to work more and deliver better on a continuous basis,” says Sanjay Agarwal, President and Chief Procurement Officer.
“Whatever gets recognized gets repeated. It’s a very powerful tool in shaping our teams and building the culture of our organization.”
—Mohit Kumar, Joint President of HR, Learning, and Talent.
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