Intuit Inc., the Mountain View, Calif.-based tax and financial software provider, has developed an exciting employee recognition program called Spotlight — “to spotlight performance, innovation, and service dedication” — that recently caught my attention.
The program, developed in conjunction with incentive provider Globoforce, Southboro, Mass., provides performance awards for specific behavior that meets certain award criteria; innovation awards for patent disclosures, patent filings, and issued patents; and service awards for milestone anniversaries in multiples of five years. There are also awards that can be given on the spot for exceptional behavior, some of which are non-monetary. One example is the “Take a Bow” award, which can be given by anyone in the company to anyone else.
What They Win
In addition to gift certificates, employees can receive commemorative items such as a picture frame at five years of service and a custom-designed granite award at 10 years. All commemorative items are sent to the employee's manager and are presented at departmental recognition events.
Awards can be made in denominations of $10 to $1,000, and the company adds an additional amount to cover award taxes for employees. Also, there are two award levels for which employees receive a “Trip on Intuit.” (See box, left.)
Investment Pays Off
Intuit has established a budget of 1 percent of payroll for its Spotlight program, which is significantly less than the 2.7 percent of payroll that the average company spends on recognition, according to a national survey conducted this year by the human resources association WorldatWork. Departments can budget more or give higher-level awards by reducing spending in other areas.
Despite the lower cost, the impact of the program has been significant. Award recipients increased from 5,500 to 20,000 in the second year, and then rose to 26,000 by the third year. Within two years, almost 95 percent of all eligible employees had received at least one award offered by the program.
By 2008, Fortune magazine had listed Intuit as the most admired software company in the United States and one of the Best Places to Work in America. Intuit ranked No. 1 in people management, social responsibility, quality of management, and quality of products and services.
No doubt that making employee recognition a top priority has contributed not only to winning this honor but to the company's continued success.
Bob Nelson, PhD, is president of Nelson Motivation Inc.; a frequent presenter to management teams and conferences; and a best-selling author of several books, including 1001 Ways to Reward Employees and The Management Bible. www.nelson-motivation.com
Trip On Intuit
Ruby-Level Award: Two-night weekend getaway that includes two round-trip tickets anywhere within the contiguous 48 states or Canada plus $500 in cash.
Emerald-Level Award:Three-night getaway for two plus $500 in cash and $200 hotel credit. Emerald winners can also opt for a three-night cruise of the employee's choice.