4 tips for providing meaningful employee rewards and recognition

4 tips for providing meaningful employee rewards and recognition

Employee engagement is crucial to the success of a business. I recently saw a great diagram called the “Engagement-Profit Chain”, which outlines the business value of employee engagement. It looks something like this:

Employee engagement flow chart | Nudge

As you can see, employee engagement has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. But, what’s missing from this chain are the factors lead to the success of your employee rewards and recognition programs.

We know that employees need to feel challenged, motivated, valued, and well-connected at work. So, having a corporate culture that embodies a vision of continual improvement, strong communication – and especially employee rewards and recognition! – can help you get there.

If you invest a little in employee rewards and recognition, it can go a long way. According to research, companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement. To get it right, you need to make sure that you are giving meaningful employee rewards and properly recognizing your employees for their time, efforts, and successes. This can be a little trickier with frontline and deskless workers, but it’s worth it. After all, the more effective your recognition and rewards programs are, the more engaged your employees will become. So, what are the keys to success? Here are 4 tips for providing meaningful employee rewards and recognition to your deskless workers.

1. Employee rewards don’t always have to be monetary

Let’s be honest, we all love getting some extra cash or a gift card from time to time. In fact, gift cards are the most widely distributed employee incentives. But, it comes to a point where we have to question the meaning and value behind a gift card. With employee rewards, there is a major opportunity to provide employees with something individualized and meaningful. Even with limited resources and money, there is still room to get creative. Is there something else that is related and unique to your company culture? Is there a type of reward that would increase workplace socialization, such as team lunch or birthday celebration? These are things to think about…and it’s easy to learn what will resonate: just ask your employees!

2. Recognize more than just results

Effort is important, too. Employees often spend large amounts of time and effort on tasks or projects that aren’t generating big results (at least not right away). Plus, our valuation of our work is directly tied to the amount of effort we’ve put in. The harder a project is, the prouder we feel of it, even if it does not generate big results. The lesson? Make sure your employees are rewarded and recognized for effort and dedication. If they have put the time in and feel proud of what they’ve accomplished, they will definitely feel good about your appreciation. Recognition is an important psychological need, which means it should also be an important piece of your internal business structure.

Gallup quote on employee rewards and recognition | Nudge

3. Gamify your employee rewards program

Gamification is your friend. Games and rewards go hand-in-hand and are proven to be very effective at driving behavioral change, increasing workplace motivation, and increasing overall engagement. By introducing gamification, you can increase employee engagement by 48%. Try gamifying workplace initiatives, like training and development, by using leaderboards, badges, or points. Then, distribute appropriate recognition and employee rewards based off of involvement, achievements, and overall scores.

Gamification (and employee rewards) can help address knowledge gaps, too. Do you have a workshop on health and safety coming up? How about a digital marketing session? Use gamification, recognition, and rewards to celebrate employees who are most involved and active – or to incentivize those who aren’t. Take it a step further and continue to promote this learning and recognizing those involved by using games and mobile apps.

Gamifying employee rewards | Nudge

4. Make sure everyone (seriously, everyone!) knows

Why put all of the work into planning a recognition and rewards program, when there is no plan (or an ineffective plan) for implementation? Employees need to know when there is a system in place. Without awareness and a proper understanding, employee rewards and incentives will have little effect on engagement and productivity. Whether you are celebrating an employee achievement or encouraging adoption of new workplace technology, communication is critical. With today’s dispersed workplace, how will you make sure that all everyone involved knows about the program in place? Call out the programs in your communication platform or other channels. When awards or recognition are given, spread the news far and wide. Nothing gets employees excited like seeing these types of programs in action. 

14 companies taking employee engagement to the next level

14 companies taking employee engagement to the next level

With consumer and guest expectations constantly evolving, it can be difficult to keep up. While there are many resources and technologies you can invest in that may provide a competitive edge, there is one resource that is infinitely valuable and often overlooked: your employees.

Your employees are the first point of contact for customers and guests, and leave a big impression throughout the buyer’s journey. A poor employee interaction could cost you a customer for life. That’s why it is vital to invest in employee engagement. Ensuring that your staff are knowledgeable, empowered, and motivated to act as an advocate on behalf of your brand makes for happy customers which, in turn, creates a happy bottom line.

Have we convinced you to take a look at your frontline employee engagement tactics? Let’s start with a little inspiration: here are 14 great examples of deskless and frontline companies with high employee engagement – who are reaping the benefits of engagement, team performance, and customer satisfaction.

1. Arby’s

Arby’s is a company known for having great employee engagement and satisfaction. Even in tough situations, Arby’s looks to its employees for help. During a troubling time for Arby’s, CEO, Paul Brown, turned to his teams working in restaurants to find out what they would do to save the company.

By doing so, Arby’s gained a better understanding and perspective on the frontline experience and empowered their employees in the process. As a result, Brown made changes to improve the customer experience.

Arby’s continues to empower their teams and focus on the employee experience through various initiatives. Most recently, they introduced the Arby’s Brand Champ program, which aims to teach their teams how to engage more effectively with customers and to “better value and support Arby’s employees.” Since launching the program, they have communicated to over 70,000 employees that if they “take the time to understand Arby’s goals, Arby’s will try to understand theirs as well”. Arby’s is going above and beyond when it comes to the employee experience, ensuring that their employees are not only successful at work but also have the resources and guidance to achieve their dreams – whether they are related to further education or career development.

2. Best Buy

Best Buy has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to the in-store experience and employee engagement. On Nudge’s podcast, Field Trip, Ron Tite of The Tite Group talked about how Best Buy “empowers their frontline staff to act in a way that reaffirms the values of the organization.”

He explains that Best Buy enables this empowerment by communicating to employees that “[…] the only thing you need to know is to be amazing. Whatever you think that requires for our customers – we trust you”. Empowering the workforce as Best Buy does creates better employee morale and, as a result, a better customer experience.

Best Buy is also very effective at engaging their employees in idea sourcing. They recently opened their “Experience Store” in Montreal to create a more interactive shopper experience, where people can test out the latest technology, from VR to drones or new video game systems. The concept for the new store came from sourcing employee and customer insights and ideas. For Best Buy, listening to their employees and customers ultimately allows them to move with retail market trends more effectively.


Health food outlet B.GOOD Restaurants is a great example of a brand that is effectively engaging their employees to improve customer loyalty. In an interview with Loyalty360, B.GOOD CMO, Kim Cerato, states that “a subpar in-store experience will cancel out even the most expensive of customer acquisition campaigns”. B.GOOD put their words into action when they involved their staff in their rebranding efforts and focused on training their teams to engage in customer interactions more effectively.

Cerato also spoke on how cultivating a strong culture has been crucial to B.GOOD’s success. In 2015, B.GOOD created an ordering app for customers to use in store. When co-founder Jon Olinto told employees that their pictures would be on the landing pages of the app, employees reportedly “reacted to the news with huge smiles and infectious chatter”. Showing employees that they are valued makes your employees feel like they’re a part of the bigger picture, which pays dividends in loyalty and hard work.

4. The Cheesecake Factory

As the only restaurant on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2018, the Cheesecake Factory knows what it’s doing. In fact, they’ve been on this list every year since 2014. A big reason is that, with menus over 250 items long and a penchant for consistency across its over 220 locations, the Cheesecake Factory is known for its high quality and continually updated training programs.

The focus on employee engagement goes all the way to the top; CEO David Overton cites training and recognition as top priorities within the organization, a key reason why he has a 93% approval rating among employees. The Cheesecake Factory recognizes its frontline associates’ great performance through its Wow Stories initiative, which circulates stories of great service across the entire company, boosting morale and spreading best practices.

5. Golf Town

Recognized as one of Canada’s 50 most engaged workplaces, Golf Town works hard to improve employee engagement and the associate experience across their stores. In the past year, they’ve collaborated with their store managers and associates to rebuild their core values: team, winning, adaptation, and authenticity. One of their most recent efforts to improve staff engagement was implementing Nudge into Golf Town locations across the country.

Using Nudge’s digital communication platform, Golf Town improved communication between upper management and frontline workers and increased engagement on in-store initiatives, such as events, promotions, and new offers. Within five days of launch, Golf Town achieved 78% adoption across their entire frontline workforce and have been able to achieve a 75% response rate using the Nudge app.

“Nudge is a game changer for the retail landscape, and has done amazing wonders for our teams who are highly engaged and have a place to share their voice, enabling us to better communicate with our frontline like never before,” says Golf Town president, Chad McKinnon. “It’s played a big role in helping us shift the culture and elevating the associate’s connection to their team, company and our brand.”

6. Home Depot

Recognized as one of Canada’s top employers for young people in three of the past four years, Home Depot has been committed to providing a great workplace for its associates. They care about making their associates feel part of the Home Depot family by trusting and supporting their frontline associates in many ways. Firstly, they give their staff the autonomy to give discounts up to $50 on any item in the store, for any reason they deem reasonable. Their staff are experts in the industry, and they treat them like such.

Secondly, Home Depot supports their staff to achieve their personal goals in many ways. Through Team Depot, their associate-led volunteer program, associates are able to work with local organizations to give back to their communities. Home Depot also offers support for associates in financial emergencies through the Home Fund, tuition reimbursement for associates pursuing higher education, and support for veteran and active-duty associates.

7. Hyatt

Hyatt’s choice to focus on empathy over perfection put them on an unconventional path towards success in the hospitality industry. Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt’s CEO, was quoted in a Fortune interview saying that the key to Hyatt’s success is “making sure that we are connected to the emotional experience that our colleagues and guests are experiencing and then designing their experience so that it is fulfilling for them.”

Instead of using a script when speaking to guests, Hyatt staff are free to be themselves during guest interactions. This creates a more authentic customer experience and encourages employees to establish an emotional connection with guests.

Hyatt not only utilizes empathy to create a better customer experience but also to create a better employee experience. Implementing the Housekeeping Flextime Program is a perfect example, where housekeepers have the option of leaving if they get their work done early, or to clean additional rooms to make extra money. Another benefit includes the Family Assistance Leave, which offers a minimum of 8 weeks paid leave to primary caregivers.

8. Nordstrom

Nordstrom is so famous for its world-class customer service that there have literally been books written about it. Those great customer experiences that they provide can be traced directly back to their amazing employee experience – they’ve been ranked one of the Top 100 Places to Work for 21 years. Take their somewhat mythical employee handbook which allegedly reads, in its entirety, “Rule #1: Use the best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.”

While it’s been revealed that this isn’t Nordstrom’s only rule for employees, they do take it seriously. Trusting their associates and giving them the autonomy to handle situations how they see fit creates a strong and positive relationship between staff and the company. This leads to high levels of employee engagement and a real desire for frontline associates to succeed and perform well in their roles.

How does Nordstrom ensure that their associates have good judgment? They hire and train according to their culture, sticking to their core values of trust, respect, communication, loyalty, empathy, and humility. They look for associates that display these characteristics and train all employees (including managers) to uphold them, making for a great work environment.

9. Patagonia

From providing on-site child care, to their policy that employees must surf when the waves are good (yes, even during work hours) – Patagonia understands that accommodating your employees’ needs and passions is the best way to create a great employee experience. While employee accommodation helps foster productivity and improved morale, the best employee motivator is instilling trust.

Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard’s key to a happy and productive workforce is to “hire the people you trust, who are passionate about their job, passionate about what they’re doing. Just leave them alone, and they’ll get the job done.” Granting autonomy and independence to the right type of workers allows for a better work environment and, in turn, happier employees.

Patagonia’s deep care for the environment has also led them to provide support for any of their employees who want to learn about the environment. One way that they do this is by funding up to 2 months of internship programs for any environmental non-profit.

10. REI

This sporting goods co-op consistently ranked in the top 10 companies for employee engagement, with some of the most passionate and happy employees out there. An REI Employee Engagement Index reports that 92% of employees go beyond what is required to help REI succeed and that only 18% of employees were seriously considering leaving REI at that time.

One of REI’s biggest efforts to improve the employee experience is through their “company campfire”. This initiative was launched to improve two-way communication between upper management and store clerks. REI also supports its employees by offering various efforts and benefits. Employees get an additional two days off per year to “go outside and get inspired,” as well as the third day off when REI closes all of its stores on Black Friday for their employees.

11. Sephora

Sephora has mastered employee experience by focusing on three key aspects: training, technology, and development. All cast members (their internal name for frontline staff) start with training on the three main product categories (perfume, makeup, and skincare) starting on day one, and continually get retrained on new products, techniques, and trends. Sephora is so committed to training that they even developed Sephora University with three locations globally, offering training to the frontline and corporate employees alike.

In addition to making their cast members industry experts, Sephora provides them the most cutting edge technology to use in store. From ColorIQ (their digital shade finder) to handheld registers, cast members are using world-class tech as often as they use a makeup brush, which makes their jobs easier and more enjoyable. This is key, especially when you consider that 93% of Millennials consider up-to-date technology as one of the most important aspects of their workplace.

Finally, Sephora prides itself on providing mobility for its cast members; whether that’s between positions, stores, departments, or even countries! One cast member has even grown from a Beauty Advisor to becoming the General Manager of France through Sephora’s commitment to growing, training and developing their top talent.

12. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has received top ratings for customer experience out of 9 of the top airlines. Their secret? Putting their employees before customers and shareholders. In a company blog post about culture, Southwest Airlines stated that “we believe that if we treat our employees right, they will treat our customers right, and in turn that results in increased business and profits that make everyone happy.”

A great example of when they put their employees first was in 2016 when Southwest announced their new employee uniforms. They asked 48 crew members to help design the uniforms, ensuring that Southwest employees would be proud to wear it to work. Placing priority on a lighthearted and friendly culture, Southwest also encourages flight attendants to add humor to their announcements. See for yourself – Southwest employees aren’t afraid to have some fun on the job, and that certainly pays off in terms of the customer experience.

13. Starbucks

Starbucks is a great example of a brand that understands the value their employees bring to the business, whether it’s putting a smile on someone’s face, or building long-term customer loyalty. Starbucks’ focus on its employees has not gone unnoticed. In fact, 87% of customers’ affinity towards Starbucks is driven by how the company treats its employees.

Since day one, they’ve focused on putting employee-friendly policies in place. For example, they support their staff by paying tuition for university and online programs. Another perk, all Starbucks staff can earn company shares through their “Bean Stock” program.

Even their organizational structure is designed to drive employee engagement. Starbucks managers refer to their team members as “partners” instead of employees. This light touch from upper management shows how they want partners to know that they play an important role in the bigger picture, which in turn, motivates them to work better.

14. Wegmans

Wegmans is ahead of the curve when it comes to employee engagement, experience design, and culture. Kevin Stickles, Wegmans’ VP of HR, stated that “our employees are our number one asset, period. The first question you ask is: ‘Is this the best thing for the employee?’.” In fact, Wegmans spent $50 million on employee development last year, $5 million in scholarships, and has been recognized as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work list for over 20 years.

They also go above and beyond in making sure their employees have the resources and know-how to be experts in their area of work. Deli workers are sent on trips to France, Italy, Germany, and Wisconsin to learn about cheese, while butchers are sent to Colorado and South America to learn about beef. Wegmans is a prime example of extending the employee experience beyond the store, by providing a life experience to workers.

While competitors are skeptical that companies can both increase profits and invest in the employee experience, Wegmans has grown to become a $6.2 billion-a-year company. Plus, 94% of their employees state that they’re proud to tell others they work at Wegmans. That sort of brand advocacy is priceless.

The takeaway?

If you want to improve the customer experience, focusing your efforts on the employee experience should be your first step. After all, investing in the employee and customer experience pays off – research by Forrester shows that, over a 5-year period, CX leaders achieved a 17% revenue growth compared to only 3% by CX laggards.

6 ways to boost employee engagement through effective internal communication

6 ways to boost employee engagement through effective internal communication

For over 20 years, the Gallup organization has been tracking employee engagement within the U.S.. They’ve found that employees who are not engaged are “Psychologically unattached to their work and company. These employees put time, but not energy or passion, into their work. Not engaged employees typically show up to work and contribute the minimum effort required. They’re also on the lookout for better employment opportunities and will quickly leave their company for a slightly better offer.”

In other words: disengaged employees are a problem. 

And for deskless and frontline workers, lack of effective internal communication plays a big role in disengagement. Communication to this workforce isn’t usually prioritized, and that leaves them at risk for disengagement. But the inverse is true, too. Effective internal communication can do wonders for employee engagement, and ensuring that every simple team member feels valued and in-the-know. 

Here are 6 ways to boost employee employees through effective internal communication. 

1. Send communications where employees already are: their phones

Have we already touched on this? Yes. Is it important? Also, yes. When your workforce is deskless it’s important to send communications where your employees will get them. 

A few fun facts from our BYOD guide

  • 94% of adults age 18-29 own a smartphone
  • Millennials check their phone an average of 155 times a day
  • 2/3 of workers use personal devices at work, regardless of their employer’s policy

Creating engaging, fun internal communications is important. But when your workforce is deskless it’s important to distribute these communications where your employees will get them. And, that’s their smartphone. Using smartphones to communicate with your frontline and deskless workers also means you can share information in real-time with them, when it’s most relevant to them, especially since they don’t typically have access to company emails or intranet sites during their shifts. Bonus: employees using BYOD are proven to actually save time at work. 

2. Instill an element of gamification to your internal communications 

Who doesn’t love a good game? A points system can have massive impacts on engagement and interaction – whether or not you implement a rewards program with it. 

The concept of gamification in the workforce isn’t anything new. It’s simply offering up points for actions that you want to encourage your staff to take, such as answering a survey or quiz, reading an employee memo or watching a training video. And it works. According to TalentLMS’s 2019 Gamification at Work survey, using gamification tactics at work makes 88% of employees feel happier and 89% of employees feel more productive. What’s more, 87% of employees surveyed said that having “game elements make me feel socially connected and provide a sense of belonging.” 

Engaging employees through internal communication and adding an element of gamification requires a few basic components, including goals and badges, transparency, competition, and community. It’s also important to ensure walkthroughs and explanations are made available to everyone, so it’s a level playing field. 

If you’re opting to use rewards, keep in mind that prizes don’t always have to have a “traditional” monetary value associated with them. One recommendation from TalentLMS is to offer “small, quality-of-life rewards, like a voucher for a lunch out or an extra day off,” that can be awarded in tandem with recognition from senior leadership or head office. 

3. Use visual content to help deskless workers consume information

The way humans consume information has changed thanks to social media, emojis, videos, gifs, and the like. It’s no wonder that 67% of people understand communications better when it’s through images and videos. With that in mind, effective internal communication should include more visual content, such as photos, videos, screencasts and the like. 

In fact, research conducted by TechSmith found that more visual content (screenshots, screencasts, photos, videos) in employee communications could unlock more than $167 billion in productivity. And, using visuals could save an average of 6 minutes and 43 seconds per employee per day, or 33 minutes and 36 seconds per work week – that levels up to 25 hours per year of added productivity! 

4. Make your employees the stars by sharing their stories

Deskless workers are often more removed from the corporate setting – and removed from each other. Despite having thousands of coworkers, frontline and deskless employees likely only know a handful of team members, and usually only the ones who work at the same location or on the same shifts. This is why building a community can be an easy win for boosting employee engagement. 

A great way to build an employee community is to bring in their own voices into your communications. This might mean day-in-the-life posts, where employees record their day with video and photos while on the job; it might mean having workers guest-write posts on your communication platform or newsletter; or it might even mean conducting interviews with employees to help the broader community learn more about each other. Anything you can do to build that community will pay off in the long run.

5. Run Ask-Me-Anythings (AMAs) with senior leadership

In large organizations with thousands of employees, it’s easy to forget the type of information that some workers might find valuable to their day-to-day. Opening up communication so that everyone can ask questions and address any issues can often lead to increased employee engagement. These AMAs and forums can help address what employees want to know about, not just what you think they should know about. This can help you build out effective internal communications later on.

“Do I ever end up squirming up there? Sure. There are plenty of times when I’ve been caught entirely off-guard. But that’s precisely the point. The element of surprise is the secret ingredient that makes the internal AMA such a valuable tool,” explains Shopify president Harley Finkelstein, in a Forbers article on why he started a regular AMA with his employees

“When your company scales beyond a certain size, it’s easy to lose touch with what’s relevant for people at different levels of your organization. In this sense, the AMA is a powerful way to collapse corporate hierarchies and ensure that all perspectives — not just those from the top — are heard.”

6. Go interactive with surveys and quizzes 

Gathering upward feedback from your team can go a long way to boosting employee morale and strengthening their engagement. Plus, surveys and quizzes have the added benefit of adding an interactive element, which is key for effective internal communication. 

With pointed questions, multiple choice answers as well as open-field options, your deskless workers across the company can feel as though their voice matters and that their feedback and opinions are important to the company’s growth. These can identify knowledge gaps that you can fill with future communications, as well as identify opportunities you might not have thought of previously. 

Another benefit is quizzes and surveys allow you to test knowledge rates and identify gaps that need to be addressed either with further communication or more training. It’s also a great way to measure readiness and confidence in an open-ended way by taking a temperature check of sorts with your employees, this can go a long way in improving confidence and boosting engagement. 

Your frontline and deskless employees don’t have the same access to the traditional internal communications other employees might have. It’s therefore important to remember that they often require special attention to ensure they’re kept abreast of all the important and relevant company-wide information. The more interactive and engaging your communication, the better received they’ll be by your employees, particularly your deskless ones. And the better they’re received, the more of an impact they’ll have on your employee engagement. It may be a bit more challenging but also very rewarding – for you and them. 

Employee red flags: 6 workforce metrics to watch

Employee red flags: 6 workforce metrics to watch

Every leader wants to uncover employee red flags – but finding them can be tricky. Especially when your deskless workforce is hundreds of thousands of employees, spread across the country. 

Enter workforce metrics. 

As we’ve talked about before, workforce analytics isn’t just about gathering data and calling the job done. The workforce metrics you collect are useful only insofar as you use it to gain insights into what’s working – and what isn’t. And it’s that second part that can be especially telling. 

Workforce metrics will help identify those crucial employee red flags and underlying workplace issues that threaten your organization, so that you can address them before they escalate into major problems. 

But what are the red flags you should be looking out for? Here are the workforce metrics to keep an eye on. 

Here are 6 employee red flags that every organization should look out for: 

Red flag #1: High voluntary turnover rate

What it means: Voluntary turnover tracks the number of people who have left your organization on their own volition against the average number of employees overall. A high turnover rate means that an above-average number of employees are quitting.  

Why it matters: A high turnover rate is costly for your business. According to a report by the Center for American Progress, the typical cost of turnover is approximately 21% of an employee’s annual salary. It also follows that if your turnover rate is high, there may be underlying issues within the organization that are prompting employees to leave. These issues could be related to employee experience, problems with managers, a lack of communication or any other number of problems (psst…that’s why collecting upward feedback is so important!). 

One important note: what constitutes a “high turnover rate” will vary according to a number of factors, e.g. location, industry, and your own historical benchmarks. This is true of all these employee red flags, but especially turnover. For example, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 turnover rate for accommodation and foodservices was 78.9%, while in retail it was 58.4%. Determining whether your turnover rate is too high requires context in order to understand what your data is showing. 

Red flag #2: Low reachability 

What it means: As we’ve talked about before, reachability refers to the number of employees that you can communicate with. At Nudge, reachability refers to the percentage of employees that have adopted the app and used it within the past 90 days. Low reachability means that a large portion of your employees aren’t, well, reachable. 

Why it matters: If you have low reachability, you don’t have access to a large portion of your workforce. Reachability is critical to keep your workforce informed and aligned on company-wide initiatives – and ensure they’re ready to mobilize in an emergency (like, say, a global pandemic?). Low reachability also suggests that your communication channels are ineffective, hard to access, or confusing to use. 

Red flag #3: Low feedback participation

What it means: This one is simple: low feedback participation means that employees aren’t giving your organization any of the vital types of feedback it needs to thrive, whether it’s health and safety concerns, protocol and process suggestions, or even customer insights. If you have a digital communication platform in place, you might actually be able to track a feedback participation rate, which indicates how many employees are delivering feedback through surveys, forums, or other channels. A low participation rate means that few employees are engaging in (or don’t know about) the feedback process. 

Why it matters: The ROI of upward feedback is well worth the processes you’ll need to put in place to encourage, harvest, and analyze employee feedback at scale. There are a number of business outcomes that can be achieved by fostering a feedback culture with your deskless workforce. So, when you’re seeing low participation in your feedback channels, you’re losing out on valuable insight that could drive your company. This red flag may also signal there isn’t enough psychological safety in the workplace. Limited psychological safety arises when employees fear their feedback will lead to reprisals or negative outcomes. In the absence of psychological safety, feedback participation is unlikely to improve. Low feedback participation can also be indicative of logistical issues: for example, your feedback tool is too time-consuming, poorly constructed, or hard to find. 

Red flag #4: Low campaign engagement 

What it means: This metric tracks the level of engagement linked to a specific employee communication campaign. A campaign could be related to an employee experience initiative, like a wellness month, or it could be focused on a new customer promotion or product feature. Again, if you have a communication platform in place, you’ll be able to quantify this number even more with a campaign engagement rate, calculated by the number  of employees who interacted with the campaign compared to the number of employees who received it. 

Interested in learning more about employee communication campaigns? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Deskless Employee Communication.

Why it matters: Whether it’s implementing a new hygiene protocol or educating employees on new product lines, your communication campaigns contain important information. Low campaign engagement can be a warning sign that a campaign your team has spent a lot of time, energy, and budget to implement is not fully reaching your frontline staff – it can be a red flag that, for example, they’re not informed enough to properly engage with customers on a promotion or campaign. At a deeper level, low campaign engagement is a warning sign that aspects of your internal communication strategy aren’t working

Red flag #5: Knowledge gaps

What it means: Put simply, a knowledge gap is a disconnect between what you need your employees to know and what they actually know. Knowledge gaps can be identified in many ways, but to identify this red flag at scale, a digital communication platform comes in very handy. With Nudge, for example, organizations can push out quick skill-testing quizzes and then analyze the results by location and region to identify areas that need more training. 

Why it matters: If health and safety knowledge is low on the factory floor, a workplace accident may be about to happen. If hotel employees aren’t up to date on a new loyalty program, they’re going to provide a poor guest experience. If retail employees don’t know as much (and more!) about a product than consumers can learn online, CX suffers. 

More broadly, organizations worldwide spend $357.7 billion on learning and development between 2007 and 2020, with an average annual spend of $1,307 on each employee. But according to advisory and consulting firm Gartner, 70% of employees report that they don’t have mastery of the skills needed to succeed in their role. In another example, one global technology firm found that its sales employees didn’t know about or understand 22% of the product’s features. Given the investment made in employee training, and the need to have skilled and knowledgeable employees on the frontline, a low knowledge rate can flag major issues.

Red flag #6: Low employee advocacy

What it means: You’ve heard of Net Promoter Score when it comes to your customer satisfaction surveys, but what about employee NPS? Yes, it’s a thing. It’s essentially asking whether your employees would recommend your company as a good place to work and/or whether they would recommend your company’s products/services to a friend. eNPS tracks whether people in your organization are promoters (likely to talk up the company), passives (unlikely to talk about the company either positively or negatively), or distractors (employees who have issues with the company). A low NPS means you have more distractors and fewer promoters. Employee advocacy can also be measured through other review and advocacy channels, like Glassdoor.

Why it matters: Tracking employee advocacy is a good way of tracking overall employee engagement: an engaged employee is more likely to be an advocate of your brand. Conversely, if your advocacy levels are low, there are likely engagement issues within the organization that may be negatively impacting productivity or customer service. If you have a large number of distractors who are unhappy with the organization, that can also pose a reputational risk, as they are more likely to bad mouth your company to friends and family (your potential customers). 

Catching employee red flags is critical. Keeping your workforce informed, engaged, and productivity is crucial to driving better business outcomes for your organization for years to come – and catching issues before they become larger challenges will allow you to stay on track. 

Streamlining deskless employee onboarding with Nudge

Streamlining deskless employee onboarding with Nudge

The first 30, 60, and 90 days are crucial to a new hire. It’s the organization’s first and most impactful chance to create a real connection with the employee and set them up to be highly productive ambassadors of your brand. An effective employee onboarding program means better CX, higher sales, more efficient processes and protocols. And, perhaps most importantly, it mitigates turnover, a huge issue right now as labor shortages are leaving organizations under-staffed and overworked. 

How onboarding reduces turnover

We’ve talked before about the cost of turnover. At the best of times, high turnover rates is a huge financial burden. But in a labor crisis, losing the talent you do attract can decimate an organization. 

Enter employee onboarding. 20% of employee turnover takes place in the first 45 days, and that number is even higher among Millennials and younger employees. “They define success differently than other generations. If a job isn’t meaningful to them, they aren’t afraid to leave,” explains Michelle Smith, VP of Marketing at O.C. Tanner. In other words: you need to engage new hires with your brand purpose the minute they get their foot in the door. In fact, research by Glassdoor found that a strong onboarding process boosts new hire retention by a staggering 82% (it also increased productivity by over 70%, by the way).

The challenges of onboarding frontline and deskless employees

There’s no arguing the importance of a quality employee onboarding program – but implementing a program in frontline and deskless organizations presents a unique set of challenges. 

For one thing, there’s the scale and speed of new hires. The high turnover rate of deskless industries means there’s a constant stream of new employees needing onboarding. And with some organizations employing tens or even hundreds of thousands of workers, onboarding at scale becomes a problem. 

There’s also the distributed nature of deskless workforces. In retail, foodservice, and hospitality organizations, employees are in small teams spread out in locations across the country or globe, making communication fractured. And in supply chain and logistics organizations, employees might be even more distributed and isolated, with even less connection to coworkers or teams. 

The final challenge of onboarding deskless and frontline workers is the technology. Traditionally, organizations leaned on the same communication tools used for deskbound employees – email, or an intranet site employees don’t even have access to at work. Or, employees receive communication through posters and bulletin boards, and verbally through floor managers. All of these communication channels don’t lend themselves to a robust onboarding program at scale. 

Nudge trigger-based onboarding makes the most of those first 90 days

As a digital communication platform for deskless and frontline workers, Nudge is all about giving employees the tools, knowledge, and support to do great work. And that starts with onboarding. 

Nudge Employee OnboardingBuilt on proven behavioral science and information retention best practices, Nudge makes it easy for organizations to implement a consistent onboarding program at scale. Our in-app triggers automatically send content on key milestones, such as start date, 30-, 60-, and 90-day check-ins, and other important dates. 

Using bite-sized, gamified content, organizations can use Nudge trigger-based onboarding to send the right information, at the right time. Educate new hires on brand values and mission. Ramp them up with product knowledge and best-practices. Test them on safety protocols, policies, and SOPs through knowledge quizzes – all sent right to their phone. 

Plus, Nudge Analytics makes it easy to track new hires through the onboarding process – and identify red flags for disengagement long before they become a serious problem.

Additional Nudge features to build connections

Nudge engagement pointsLeverage other features in Nudge’s two-way communication platform to build trust and engagement with new hires. Show them that feedback is a core value by inviting them to join Spark sessions and engage in employee surveys. Encourage community-building in Chat discussions. And showcase peer recognition right out of the gate with Cheers pins. 

Weaving these communication features into your onboarding program is a great way to engage new hires right from day one, and foster a connection that will keep them loyal for the long term. 

Interested in learning more about how Nudge makes employee onboarding easy and effective? Set up a demo today.

Required reading: resources to help you support your frontline during COVID-19

Required reading: resources to help you support your frontline during COVID-19

There’s a lot of noise out there right now with growing uncertainties around COVID-19 and what it means for business. These factors outside of our control have created many unknowns for individuals and businesses, especially the frontline workforce. To help you stay up-to-date, we’ve gathered best practices and tangible advice from industry leaders and publications on supporting your most valuable asset—your people.

1. To stay informed

Required reading: Leadership is most important in times of concern or crisis

It’s important to stay up-to-date and in-the-know during an ever-changing situation. That being said, it’s also important to prioritize useful and factual information. Be selective with the type and amount of information you read, and focus on reliable sources (like the World Health Organization and CDC). Having foundational knowledge allows for a more clear understanding of potential implications for the business and how they will impact your people.

2. To provide reliable communication

Required reading: Demonstrating care in times of crisis

Your frontline workforce relies on clear direction and consistent communication for inspiration in times of uncertainty. It’s critical that you communicate regularly and in ‘real-time’. Having an avenue that allows for instant communication (i.e. mobile messaging) is crucial in situations that are constantly changing.

During periods of rapid change, issue regular updates each step of the way outlining your organization’s response. Frontline associates will be empowered through information sharing and clear messaging. Remain available for any associate feedback or questions, and encourage it. Signaling to your frontline that leadership is there for them adds a level of trust and camaraderie.

3. To be decisive

Required reading: Leading through COVID-19: Making smart decisions amid uncertainty

With a constantly changing situation, it can be daunting to make big organizational decisions without a clear picture of how it will impact the business. Although indecision feels safe short-term, in times of uncertainty, employees look to leadership for reassurance and security. Make the best decisions that you can right now and address important policies and procedures.

In times of crisis, certainty in decision-making magnifies employee trust, which in turn, dials down anxieties. The more pressure you’re under as an organization, the more intentional you must be to stay strong in turbulent times.

4. To show appreciation

Required reading: Coronavirus response: People first, economics second

Your people bring your brand to life, so let them know you appreciate and support them! Show your frontline that you value them by prioritizing their personal well-being in all circumstances. Developing the attitude of “we’re all in this together” builds a sense of shared purpose, community, and belonging. Rewarding and recognizing on-going contributions by employees is an important way to deepen connections in the organization.

Take time to prioritize and care for your people in this unpredictable situation. The ability to keep the frontline workforce engaged, empowered, and connected will ultimately impact the outcomes of this crisis. We will get through this together.

Proven ROI of 484%

Forrester Consulting's Total Economic Impact™ study found a 484% ROI with Nudge!*

*over three years.