At the beginning of March, companies around the world celebrated the valuable contributions of staff members during Employee Appreciation Day. But recognizing your greatest resource and most dynamic asset, your employees, should be a daily endeavor.
Without committed, engaged and motivated employees, your company’s progress would grind to a halt. Most business leaders know this instinctively, and many have made employee engagement and recognition a core element of their operational strategies.
According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey, 80 percent of executives rate the employee experience as very important or important. WorldatWork and ITA Group report that nearly 90 percent of surveyed companies have a formal employee recognition program in place. In fact, the entire concept of employee engagement has become a key talking point not just among HR professionals but at the very top levels of most successful businesses.
But what happens when your business is global, or when you employ remote workers around the world? How do you align your recognition and engagement programs across different cultures, over the span of multiple languages and great distances, when some of your employees may have limited “in-office” interactions?
At DHL, we operate in more than 220 countries and territories around the globe, with a workforce of more than 360,000 employees, many of them out in the field connecting people with the goods they need every day. Our experience suggests some key steps that your organization might also take to encourage and empower employees wherever, and however, they work:
Make Your Programs Global, but Flexible
When engaging and incentivizing employees on an international scale, while you need to understand the unique cultural difference that exist, your approach must be consistent enough that everyone feels part of the same unified family. Employees everywhere need to understand that they share the same goals, are encouraged to achieve the same degree of excellence, and are measured and rewarded according to the same standards.
This approach requires consistent communication across your organization, to allow employees in one area of the world to learn about (and seek inspiration from) the achievements of those in an entirely different location.
Understand and Embrace Cultural Diversity
Employee rewards and incentives must reflect the cultural differences that exist from country to country, and even between regions within different nations. This Workforce article offers some excellent examples of what can happen when you try a one-size-fits-all approach to specific employee rewards.
The fact is, some employees may be motivated by certificates and placards, while others may be less so. Again, your incentives should follow your global plan of recognition according to consistent standards, but must be designed individually by those within your organization who know what motivates and inspires on a local level. The cultural diversity of your global business is one of its greatest strengths. Your staff members on the ground may be the best equipped to teach you about themselves and what your teams really want.
Achieve Engagement Through Training
A powerful, unified training program can engage and motivate your employees, while allowing them to better understand how they can excel and achieve recognition. In 2010, DHL created a single global development platform, the Certified International Specialist (CIS) program. Since then we have seen engagement increase significantly in employee surveys.
The reason? Employees who have the tools and support they need to grow and succeed are more empowered. And employees from different parts of the world—or the country—who are meeting for the first time know they have the shared experience of this training.
Give Employees a Way to Connect and Realize Rewards
Special events and global recognition programs are a good way to reward employees while also bringing together your international workforce. For example, the DHL Express Employee of the Year awards recognize our employees around the world for their commitment and results.
The names and photos of all the winners are distributed throughout the organization so that everyone knows the good work being done in every region of our operation. Celebrations also take place in exotic destinations as a way to reward employees for their efforts.
Prioritize Feedback and Communication
A successful employee recognition program cannot work without excellent communication. It is important to keep employees directly updated on their performance and to share the successes of employees across the organization.
Also, seek feedback and input from employees to allow your rewards and incentives to evolve and improve over time.
Remember Remote Employees
If you have employees who work remotely across the globe, remember that they need the same degree of support and recognition as those in your offices, warehouses or other facilities. Use your internet, social media, Skype and other online tools to keep remote workers connected; consider monthly in-person meetings; and make sure recognition goes beyond simple emails.
What are you doing to motivate your international workforce? Let us know on Twitter @DHLUS.