This is the latest in a series about how our team at BHN Rewards uses digital rewards and our own platform to boost our engagement among prospects and customers.
Practice what you preach — it’s advice that BHN Rewards takes very seriously. And what we preach is the importance of rewarding and recognizing your employees to improve engagement, morale, productivity, and retention.
We have reason to stand behind that message, and not just because we’re selling a streamlined employee rewards platform. The proof is in the numbers:
But even within our own company, employee recognition isn’t always as simple as it seems.
Like leaders at many companies, our managers now have employees spread out globally in a hybrid workplace. It was a challenge for Brandon Rice, Vice President of Inside Sales at Blackhawk Network: “Keeping the teams engaged in a virtual environment is hard to do through the power of slide decks.”
In addition, the current employee rewards platform and recognition tools provide finite monthly budgets and delayed delivery. The primary recognition tool is described as an “HR tool, with limited points allocated to give out to employees.”
Managers across our sales and customer service teams wanted to find a way to celebrate wins instantly and preferred to do it publicly. That way, other employees can jump in and add their congratulations, making the reward even more meaningful for recipients and giving the atmosphere of an in-person ceremony.
Enter the BHN Rewards app for Microsoft Teams. With the fortuitous timing of the launch of our new integrated employee rewards platform, we decided to put it to the test internally. And it worked, allowing Blackhawk Network managers to use the power of recognition in real time, says Pedro Reyes, Senior Director of Customer and Account Management Services. “The beauty of the BHN Rewards solution is it’s instant and it runs on Teams, a tool that we all use.”
Rewards can be sent worldwide through individual chat messages or, for even more impact, live during virtual meetings, a feature Rice prefers to use on the sales side. “To be able to give spot rewards and incentivize individual team members on the fly through our Teams meeting was a really good way to increase the level of engagement … and it was exciting and fun.”
To implement this solution as an employee rewards platform, these managers worked with our IT team to get the app installed on their instances and their employees’ Teams accounts — a setup process that took no more than an hour. With minimal training, Reyes and Rice could create campaigns that allowed them to give recipients a choice of global rewards from an extensive catalog of digital gift cards, virtual prepaid cards, and e-donations.
From customer service representatives to sales staff, many recipients of rewards through the BHN Rewards app have loved the experience. “We like to surprise the team whenever we use it for the first time. There’s a sense of delight receiving the rewards,” Reyes says.
It helped his team celebrate customer service week across his 1,300-plus customer service employees. He received multiple emails of appreciation saying, “Thanks, boss” and “It’s really cool.” Since the end of September 2022, Reyes has spent $3,000 on rewards for his team, distributed seamlessly across seven different countries. He is adding an additional $3,000 to continue celebrating team member wins.
Rice’s sales team has been using the app since August 2022 to engage more than 50 reps across North America working virtually or in a hybrid environment. He says it “definitely increases engagement in the chat. It keeps the team focused in on the meeting and not multitasking or doing other things.”
Their monthly all-hands meetings have become livelier and more fun. There’s the element of surprise to sending out a reward in real time. “Reps are used to getting spot rewards weeks later after a sales contest ends, because there’s not an easy way to give it to them right on the fly. It gives the power back to the reps because we send the reward card out and they can claim it really quickly.”
After the IT team set up the app (a one-hour implementation), the learning curve was low. “Now that I know how to use it and get it added to a live meeting, it’s all really smooth,” Rice says.
When training his managers on using BHN Rewards, Reyes says he walked them through it in about 10 minutes. “Once it’s set up, it’s very turnkey, easy to use, a no-brainer process.”
Both Reyes and Rice have been using the element of surprise and delight to send rewards to their employees. All rewards have been claimed by recipients either directly from the reward card in Teams or via email. And since Teams is a tool Blackhawk Network is already very familiar with, both managers found it easy to use the BHN Rewards app as an employee rewards platform.
Beyond keeping meetings focused and delighting employees, the BHN Rewards app for Teams helps these departments practice the values that Blackhawk Network prioritizes. Empowering managers to recognize employees regularly improves engagement and brings together team members from all over the world — directly supporting corporate objectives to build a high-performing and inclusive culture and inspire employees to win as one global team.
Ready to see how you, too, can turn Microsoft Teams into a fun, innovative employee rewards platform? Contact us now!