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I Love Rewards, But I Love Public, Viral Recognition More...

I'm the first one to tell you that all HR pros have strengths and weaknesses.  One of my weaknesses is the landscape of rewards and recognition.

There are a couple of reasons it's a weakness of mine.  First up, I know based on experience that the Iloverewardslogo stickiest recognition play an organization can have is a manager who has shown he/she really cares about the people who work for them.  It's just true, and that reality makes me naturally cynical of big rewards programs. The reason is pretty simple and can be conveyed in the following formulas:

--great manager + quality rewards programs = good to great retention and employee satisfaction

--bad manager + quality rewards programs = below average retention and employee satisfaction

What's missing from those formulas?  Recognition.  And I'm not talking about service awards.  I'm talking about recognition that, in addition to telling someone 1-on-1 how well they're performing, tells the company and the world how well the employee in question is performing.

Great managers recognize people one-on-one and publically.  It's an art.  It's in their DNA.  Average to bad managers can't do that nearly as well.  They're socially awkward in that way.

So, it stands to reason that any rewards vendor that's serious about truly helping companies needs to help the awkward managers figure out the recognition piece.  At the HR Technology Conference in late September, I found the company that best fits my world view when it comes to rewards and recogntion - It's a company called I Love Rewards.

What makes I Love Rewards different to an HR Pro like me who usually starts yawning when the rewards companies start calling?  It's certainly not the rewards catalog, which is online and allows employees receiving awards to amass points and choose their own gift.  We've all seen that.  I'm sure it's a world class online catalog of gifts, but they all seem the same to me.

No, the secret attraction of I Love Rewards is the social integration they've created that can help the socially awkward manager recognize team members publically.  Here's the recognition workflow that I Love Rewards uses that makes them different:

1. Employees log into their company’s internal rewards program and access their recognition via the rewards summary page (FaceBook like newsfeed) and share whichever recognition they choose from either their peers and/or higher-ups to their entire personal and professional network.  

2. When they choose to share the recognition, they choose the social options that matter (FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

3. Once they choose which network with they wish to share their recognition, their entire network has access to it (meaning all followers see the recognition as a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn update).

But wait, there's more.  And this round is for the company...

4. The company logo is always visible on the left and a tidbit of the reason for the recognition on the right. The recognition can be fully accessed by clicking the reason for which the employee was recognized.

5. The reason opens in a new window with a customizable banner ad, which can be used to drive recruitment initiatives and direct potential candidates back to the company’s website.

Think about that.  Instead of an employee just redeeming their points for a new smartphone, they're actually opting to share recognition inside and outside the company by allowing the I Love Rewards feed to update their social networks.  Then I, as a part of your external network, see the recognition, and decide to click through to read the whole thing.  I think, "damn, that sounds like a cool place to work", see the banner ad for open positions at your company, click on it, etc.

That's cool stuff.  Other smart, nimble vendors in the HR space like Sonar6, Rypple (performance management) will get to this, but to my knowledge, I Love Rewards is there first.

I wasn't paid for this post.  I Love Rewards has simply done something so cool that you needed to know about it.  And anyone who can influence me to write about rewards programs is someone you should check out.



Rewarding is one of the most important part of managing a successful organization. If you don't reward your people, they lack appreciating and morale. But how far can you go in rewarding people to boost morale and productivity? How can we teach our leaders to reward professionally and fairly? I Love Rewards can help a lot of leaders in determining who deserves what. Since it is so public, are we meeting the needs of the employees who don't wish to be so publicly praised on their accomplishments and successes? Or is publicly revealing the success of such employees create arrogance? Since this is a website where all successes are aired for everyone to see and talk about, employees can take such public recognition to a whole different level where they shoot to succeed for public recognition purposes.

Strategically, employee rewards should have clearly defined goals and a well-defined link to business objectives. If rewarding becomes corrupt in defeating its original purpose, it can create an environment that becomes disconnected from company's business objectives. It is up to HR to develop a rewarding system that fits the business objectives as well as culture that the company expects its people to practice. I Love Rewards may fit a lot of company cultures, but not many enough to be widely used. Many successful corporate companies practice conservative management to keep their people from overreacting or taking things too far. For example, in the company I work for, I Love Rewards would be the last thing they consider in adopting into their rewards program due to too much public praising. It would be up to HR to recognize what meets the company needs in rewarding their people and what doesn't. Without the voice of HR, the company may be tied up in trying different ways to reward their people without considering the right and wrong options.


Hi Dilek -

You're speaking in absolutes, which is an error in this case. I Love Rewards actually does all the traditional things that a normal rewards company does and has a strong consulting arm in that regard. So, they can help the traditional company in all the traditional ways you describe.

Clients of ILR actually make the decision to turn on or turn off the viral recognition piece. I love this piece of the product, but it's up to the company to turn it on, and even then, each INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE makes the decision whether to link what's running through the system to their social account.

Appreciate the insights, but just like you're saying the ILR solution is extreme, I think your analysis is extreme in spots. They do the traditional rewards stuff, and companies, then employees, decide how far they want to take the recognition piece. I love the concept however, and feel that gradually more companies will be comfortable with that piece.

Thanks - KD

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