Employee Experience

7 spring cleaning ideas for HR teams

As we head into spring, we’re feeling inspired to make a fresh start – and that includes cleaning out these HR programs and behaviors that are no longer serving, well, anyone.

Absent Madonna, HR truly is the master of reinvention. As all signs point to spring having sprung, we’re itching to do just that: Swap out anything (and everything) to do with last season. And we’re not just talking about those what-was-I-thinking outfits in the closet. We’re digging up – and tossing out – dusty HR programs, policies, and terms that have seen their last wear. It’s time to clean out the old and make room for the new. 

Continuous recognition is the new service award

Speak to any long-tenured employee at your company and they’re likely to have a plaque or watch that proves their loyalty. While service awards were once all the rage – and a well-deserved achievement for hard-working employees – nowadays the opportunities to give out these one-time awards are few and far between. 

Why? For starters, younger generations aren’t lifers like their parents. Employers, therefore, aren’t getting the opportunity to recognize employees at major milestones. With some companies relying on a service award as their sole means of recognition, many newer employees are left wondering about their value

The first few years of employment are crucial for recognition and engagement. Today, companies are ditching their service award program for continuous recognition. That is, programs that offer spot awards and praise from peers, leaders, and beyond. Think about it: Do you want to only reward employees that have stuck around the longest? Or do you want to recognize everyone who’s doing a fantastic job, regardless of their tenure? Some popular ways to do this include: a regular recognition series at company meetings, an internal system to share praise of colleagues, and leaders regularly prioritizing time to recognize innovative work.

Make the switch to always-on feedback

Instead of handing the microphone to your employees just once a year (in the shape of an annual survey), give them the opportunity to share their feedback in real-time. 

Forward-thinking companies look for consistent ways to get their employees talking, whether that’s through one-on-one feedback, town hall meetings, regular pulse surveys, or the company’s internal social media channels. In this fast-paced, always-on world, waiting a whole year to gather feedback may be 364 days too late. 

Be transparent with your reward programs

Gone are the days of recognizing employees behind closed doors. Modern employee reward and recognition programs need to be transparent – a sign to employees that your company believes in open and honest communication. Plus, shining a light on those being recognized not only amplifies those desirable outcomes and behaviors, it’s an opportunity for storytelling and fostering company culture. 

Treat EX and CX as the same thing

At Qualtrics, we’re big on brands turning customers into fans. But focusing on just the customer experience? That’s so last season. We love to see companies elevating the experience management conversation by talking about customer and employee experience as the same thing. Employees are your internal customers, so they’re not only able to shed light on EX, they’re the experts on improving your (internal) CX, too. The more that EX and CX – or XM, wholistically – are talked about in the same context, the more effective companies will be.

Personalize your reward programs

In this age of minimalism, awarding your people with generic trinkets or branded tchotchkes just isn’t going to cut it. Modernize your reward and recognition program by offering employees the freedom to choose rewards that are personal and meaningful to them – AKA ones they’ll actually use, like experiences, giving back, or continuous learning. 

Stop sticking to the silo

Closed-door meetings. Punitive policies. Boring bureaucracy. It’s hard to gain a seat at the table when you’re busy playing company police. Fair accusation or not, it’s a reputation HR needs to shake by cultivating a culture that demonstrates cross-departmental collaboration, visibility, and open lines of communication. 

Toss out these passé terms, too

HR? Call them the people team. Recruiting? Call it talent acquisition. What were once appraisals or reviews are now conversations. Training and development? Let’s call it learning. Onboarding is the new orientation. Finally, employee experience reigns over employee engagement. 


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