What do you get when you put an eager bunch of HR enthusiasts into a room, with a challenge to solve in 8 hours? The result: an electrified melting pot of ideas that can supercharge the way people are recognised in business. In early December, intelliHR hosted Recognition Mission – its first non-technical hackathon to devise new ideas to boost recognition practices in a global business.
The six teams collaborated on ideas that would champion positive behaviours and drive employee engagement. Innovative, creative and realistic initiatives were pitched to the Hackathon participants and the all-important intelliHR judging panel, made up of CEO Rob Bromage, intelliHR Chairman Tony Bellas and intelliHR CTO Jeremy Fong.
The range of solutions of how to promote recognition in business were devised by the teams using innovative ideas around people management and technology. Here is what we learnt:
Hackers felt that in existing recognition systems, there was an extrinsic one-size-fits-all approach with recognition coming from the top down. Acknowledging that individuals have preferences over the way they receive recognition, for example whether it’s in a public or private forum, they sought to devise a personalised solution. Defining what types of recognition individual employees liked to receive, data would be entered into a customisable dashboard where wins could be recorded and displayed, as well as important dates (such as birthdays or work anniversaries) stored.
They suggested that peer-to-peer recognition would be more meaningful, especially when delivered in a timely manner. With employees empowered through giving and receiving recognition in a way that’s meaningful to them, a company’s cultural behaviours would be reinforced.
Putting the value of recognition into a financial metric for the company was a persuasive idea to encourage managers to be more proactive about recognition. For example, metrics (including cost of sick leave, recruitment, meeting times) could be created along with benchmarks. At certain intervals, data is released to managers to reveal if these benchmarks are being hit. If they aren’t being met, managers will be able to see the financial cost of this to the business.
Hackers believed personalising recognition could improve employee engagement, in one instance by conducting an initial survey to collect information about the employee to gauge their personal preferences. How they would like to receive recognition from a team or from a peer and so forth. Those responses could be adapted to the employee’s profile in the software and made available to everyone in the organisation. This enables employees to take more ownership in a company’s recognition system.
Gamification was an idea that hackers felt could make recognition more engaging, fun and addictive for employees. The central idea was to use augmented reality to personalise recognition and encourage team building. Ideas saw employees venturing into a world of augmented reality to create office “gardens” where staff can add elements such as flowers or plants as a notation of recognition. Employee recognition given by peers in an innovative and fun way was suggested as more likely to be adopted by workforces.
An alternate gamification-based idea was inspired by the addictive social media game Farmville, where people could give plants, crops and other items as recognition. Following the successful building up of an employee’s “farm” this could later be exchanged for rewards. The data on how people are performing based on recognition could then be seen on a manager’s dashboard. Another engaging and fun way to make recognition part of a work day.
The hackathon delivered many ideas and fresh perspectives about how to make recognition a positive force in business that hackers walked away with new insights, inspired by what could become of their workplaces if such initiatives were implemented.
It was a tough decision for the judges with all the groups bringing innovative and well-thought-out solutions to the table. Rob Bromage commended all hackers for their efforts and collaborations. “This hackathon was about getting recognition back on our radars with innovative ideas and fresh perspectives, to empower employees across global workplaces. With the right recognition systems, we can make work a better place for everyone from frontline staff to CEOs and boost performance in the process,” says Rob. “The hackers have unraveled key challenges businesses face when they have a remote, multisite or global workforce. I am inspired by what was developed and enthused for intelliHR to make steps towards improving the way recognition is delivered in any workplace.”
The inaugural intelliHR Hackathon: Recognition Mission was won by team ‘Spaghetti Lords’ for their idea of personalised recognition. Runners-up prizes went to team ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ for their augmented reality inspiration and ‘Crash and Burn’ for their focus on understanding the value and positive financial impact possibilities of recognition.
All event photos can be viewed via the intelliHR Facebook page here.