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Home > Business > Special

How does your company motivate you?

Tarun Narayan in Mumbai | May 13, 2006

It's only till a couple of years ago that PepsiCo India would annually have all its employees dressed up in military attire.

The management would, then, publicly announce the name of its "outstanding" employee after which the employee concerned would march to the stage in military style and company officials would affix a badge of honour on his sleeve.

PepsiCo now tailors this practice differently. Today it has the "Aha-Standards of excellence" and "Star Spot Awards" to acknowledge outstanding employee contributions at work.

The "Star Spot Awards" are given to individuals who have contributed value to the organisation by going beyond the call of duty.

Although the military-like ambience is missing, the company still pins-up a badge on the sleeves of the employee who qualifies for this award. It also sends the top two or three achievers to New York where they receive awards at the hands of the Chairman of Pepsi's parent arm.

Why such programmes? "It's all about associating people with successes and creating a performance-culture in the organisation," adds Rahul Ghatak, vice president, HR of west market unit of PepsiCo India Holdings.

Says YV Varma, director, HR and management support, at LG Electronics: "Rewards and Recognition (R&R) is a tool to create competition amongst employees and raise the excellence levels of the organisation as a whole."

At LG, acheivers and their families are given a free holiday trip abroad. High performers get an LG product of their choice free. Competitions are held between teams of LG's subsidiaries. The MD gives the winning team certificates and mementos.

Such recognition programmes cut across companies and sectors. Ask Jacques Creeten, MD, sales & marketing for India, Middle East and Africa, Fed Ex what he would do to compliment employees who do a good job and he says 'Bravo Zulu'. It's a term derived from the US Navy and it means "well done".

But the company doesn't merely halt at that. The boss can hand out theater tickets, diner certificates and cash up to $100 to the deserving employee on the spot. Managers said they wanted to reward outstanding effort without going through a formal process.

LG also bestows "best employee" awards periodically. Outstanding employees are even asked to speak on their achievement so that others can get inspired. It also has team awards whereby the entire team is sent abroad.

Fedex too has awards like 'Circle of Excellence,' 'Customer Service Center of the Year,' 'Club FedEx' among others. LG had instituted awards to increase attendance.

If an employee is regular for three months in a row, he gets a small cash reward. The absenteeism got reduced to one per cent in recent days and the company has now withdrawn that award.

But in the melee of recognition schemes that are unfolding in the workplace, would it create animosity amongst those employees who have not received an award? Would this, in turn, demoralise those who are not acheivers but whose contributions may be equally significant? At least corporate HR denies this thought.

Says Varma: "One indication that such R&Rs have worked is in the fact that today this is ranked as the third highest parameter (to be called a good workplace) in all our annual employee surveys."

Pepsi's Ghatak says that R&Rs do not happen in isolation. There are other outbound and engagement programmes for the rest of the employees too.

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