Recognition & Rewards: The Build Vs. Buy Debate
The Society of Human Resource Management estimated that organizations that spent at least 1% of payroll on their recognition system saw a positive impact on ROI, productivity, branding, employee relationships, engagement, etc. The question becomes: build or buy an employee recognition program?
Almost every organization has some sort of employee recognition and rewards program in place –each with a different strategy. Whether managers dole out monetary rewards on a quarterly basis, the leadership team publicly recognizes exceptional employees during an annual outing or employees receive points toward redeeming a tenure-based award, there’s no shortage of approaches. However, only 11% of organizations believe that recognition is deeply embedded in their culture.
In order to achieve an effective level of visibility, efficiency and cost control, all companies need a technology platform to support it.
Oftentimes, during discussions about recognition and rewards technology, someone asks, “Can’t we just build this ourselves?” While it may be tempting to forgo the immediate cost of purchasing a technology solution, in the long run, the price of constructing and maintaining an in-house system is vastly more expensive.
This blog post will explore some things to consider before deciding to build an internal recognition platform.
The Complexity of Your Organization
Most successful organizations have some type of recognition and rewards program in place, although many do not leverage a technology solution to make it a best-in-class program. And yet, the larger and more complex an organization, the more critical the need for a modern, sophisticated and integrated system becomes. Though larger organizations may want to use internal resources to build a solution, a premium system for purchase may cut costs in half and be configured to suit requirements. Recognition and rewards solution providers ease the administrative burden on HR and add tremendous value to the employee experience.
Whether you plan to build your own technology solution or not, it’s imperative to ask the following:
- How many departments and teams does your organization support?
- How many locations do you have?
- Are you a global, multinational or multilingual organization?
- Do your employees need to access their applications via a mobile or smart device?
- Can you provide them with a mobile experience that is just as secure and engaging as the web application?
- If you plan to offer rewards, will you need to design a global rewards program?
- Can you streamline reward delivery to all the countries you operate in?
Technology Costs for In-House vs. Solution Providers
First, an in-house system requires continuous maintenance by software engineers, whereas a multi-faceted SaaS solution updates automatically and seamlessly. Many companies, no matter the size, simply do not have the manpower, expertise or equipment to handle ongoing support.
Internal systems take time to build and require IT time and support, oftentimes at the expense of other higher priority, customer-facing projects. This can eventually result in unhappy customers or even worse, have a negative impact on a company’s bottom line. In addition, for a home-grown approach to be successful, ongoing QA, maintenance and development are imperative. Developing a comprehensive platform necessitates thorough planning; privacy and security must be accounted for, while infrastructure requirements are additional, unavoidable considerations.
Keeping Your Technology Up-To-Date
As we discussed before, you will need to update your application with the latest technology and security features. But are you also planning to regularly update your solution with new features that are compliant with the best practices in HR? When it comes to recognition, a once-a-month approach is not enough. In fact, according to a Gallup survey, “Only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition in the past seven days. At any given company, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel their best efforts are routinely ignored.”
Effective recognition is given in real time, so the supporting technology should not be a “set it and forget it.” For organizations that want to build a culture of recognition, their systems will require careful attention and frequent updates. Companies that choose to build their own platforms run the risk of developing a tool that will be obsolete within a year or two.