Has your approach and strategy to employee benefits and Reward and Recognition changed given the current pandemic?
Colt has always had a strong focus on rewarding and recognising our employees, however the current pandemic definitely highlighted that our approach is more important than ever. During these last few months, we put key initiatives in place to support staff, which did not exist before. For instance, we set up a Safe Workplace Allowance giving colleagues up to €200 or equivalent (based on cost of living) to spend on making their home workspace safe. A Special Assistance Fund was also created, where we put aside €250,000 to help employees mitigate financial hardship or significant loss over this period, allowing colleagues some respite at what is a challenging time for many. Our Global Employee Assistance Programme is also now available across all Colt countries, and to support employee’s mental health further we ran Mental Health Webinars for all employees and we launched our Mental Health First Aider Programme. This is a group of trained staff who become the first point of contact in the workplace for a colleague experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress.
More specifically from a recognition perspective, we created brand new recognition awards for colleagues who delivered outstanding services during Covid-19 called ‘Pandemic Hero’ Awards recognising 300+ employees. This award was in addition to our regular quarterly Value Champion awards.
As you can see, we are trying to leave no stone unturned during this time to ensure our people feel supported.
What are the biggest challenges when running a global reward and recognition scheme?
Recognition is often used in many different ways across the globe, so one challenge is understanding the cultural variances and how this can impact the way in which people give and receive recognition. Also, there will always be different employee preferences – that’s why at Colt we try to offer a combination of awards in various forms.
How do you measure the success of the scheme?
We measure the success of all our schemes on employee feedback and engagement. For instance, we launched Colt Inspire, our online recognition platform that enables employees to send and receive ecards and awards, at the end of 2018. Since then, over 22,750 awards have been sent. We also focus on regular dialogue from the ELT and functional Leadership Teams and constantly receive feedback from employees so that we can adapt accordingly, as nothing is set in stone. This method has driven us to recently introduce charitable giving in the portal, financial and non-financial awards, ecard access for contractors, and updates to the home page to make it continuously more interactive.
How do you keep employees fully engaged and up-to-date with the scheme?
We always keep our employees updated through a variety of communications methods at Colt, including global and local email announcements, intranet articles, weekly updates from our CEO, Global, Function and Country All Hands, Facebook Workplace posts and video content. During Covid-19, we have had regular communication throughout the pandemic to support and reassure staff, including Fortnightly Global All Hands and regular Company-wide email updates (three per week during the height of the pandemic). It is clear to say that during the pandemic, we have developed our online Colt community, for example:
- Moving towards collaborative online tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
- Team breakfast meetings, virtual catch-ups and lunches.
- Utilising Facebook Workplace for employees and key networks.
- Virtual social events e.g. language lessons and Zumba clubs.
What has been you most significant learning since you took the role at Colt?
One learning has definitely been about building relationships, particularly on a remote basis as this is even more critical during these times. We are all in this together and it’s imperative that colleagues feel supported. Another learning is the ability to adapt to change. This year has seen a lot of change for everyone, such change needs to be carefully managed so that colleagues feel secure and involved as a company evolves. We are working in an environment where we are consistently looking to transform and build on our current strategies and ways of working. Finally, everyone needs a degree of resilience – there is no doubt these have been challenging times both professionally and personally.
What advice would you give to a business looking to implement a global reward and recognition scheme?
Make sure the employees are at the heart of everything you do and that the company’s values and behaviours are embedded within your Global Reward and Recognition strategy. At Colt, all of our awards are directly linked to our four values (Customer First, Transformational, Accountability and Outcome Focused), because it’s important to recognise the employees that fully demonstrate the company’s values and go above and beyond to help Colt succeed.
If you were not doing your current role, what would you have most liked to do?
Having qualified as a chartered accountant 20 years ago, I started out in Audit and loved my time in consulting. I wonder had I stayed, would I have made it to Partner? On the other hand, I love to travel, so if I had my time again I would train to be a pilot.