A recognition journey - Verifile’s approach to introducing recognition
Updated: Apr 6
Verifile, a company that provides global resume verification and background screening services, is on a journey. A journey to expand their business globally, and a journey to expand their people offering through their EVP and people strategy. “Since joining the company 18 months ago, we’ve focused on putting the foundations in place, creating a place where our people feel even more valued and appreciated,” says Fiona Buchanan, Chief People Officer.
They started with pay, benefits and wellbeing, putting new programs in place, and most recently have focused on recognition. This was done based on feedback from employees saying they felt it was an area for improvement and because the only recognition program in place was for long service, which although a generous program, only impacted a small number of their workforce.
“We wanted to redirect recognition, focusing our efforts on all the good things and extra effort that our people are putting in, and not just on how long a small number of our people have been in the business. We also wanted recognition to be more inclusive, social and to create connections across the business” says Buchanan.
Another reason, and one that is more common following the pandemic, is as a way to bring people together. With more of their workforce working in hybrid patterns and remotely, and with the business growing globally, Verifile believes that recognition will be a great way to help their people feel a part of the organization, drive the desired culture and behaviors, and get to know one another better.
Verifile’s approach to recognition is also a journey, starting by creating a culture of appreciation with the introduction of eCards, recognizing ‘everyday’ recognition. They did this for a few reasons. First, because they wanted to start with the basics, the ‘simple things' as Buchanan calls it - the thank yous, great jobs, the events in people's lives. And second, because they are in the process of reviewing and updating their company values, and thus want to wait to build other recognition programs around these when they’re launched in the future.
They involved their people in the development of the recognition eCards, giving them the opportunity to be heard and be a part of the process. Starting with a few basic eCards, they then went out to their workforce to suggest new ones and ultimately vote on the five cards to be included in the initial launch.
“My favorite eCard is the one saying “You have the right to look smug,” which was suggested by Ben Taylor, Team Leader, as it really made us laugh! Outside of that though, it talked about our focus on quality, getting to the final result by working on a problem, passing it onto another team, and finally cracking it. It’s about pride in what the team accomplished and having a bit of fun with it,” says Fiona Furman, Internal Communications and Engagement Manager.
By the way, Ben is so proud of his suggested eCard that he’s made it his background for virtual calls and admitted “Getting my suggested card onto the VeriHub made me feel . . . pretty smug!”
Here are some of the other eCards included in the initial launch:
The initial reaction has been fantastic, with employees using and loving their unique recognition eCards. Their journey will continue as they review and create new eCards along with the help of their people, and as they introduce additional elements of their recognition program once their values have been finalized. Together, this will help them achieve their objective of creating a place where their people truly feel valued and appreciated.
To end, let me share a few tips from Verifile’s story:
First, you don’t have to wait until everything is in place to begin your recognition and appreciation journey. Verifile could have waited until their values were finalized to introduce recognition, but instead decided that it was important to begin their journey now, laying the foundation for recognition, and starting to create a culture of appreciation.
Next, it’s important to involve your people throughout your recognition journey, gaining their insights and also their buy-in. And as an extra bonus, they’ll help you come up with those special ideas that you may never have thought of yourself (e.g. the ‘You have the right to be smug’ eCard).
And finally, keep in mind that recognition can be an important part of supporting and/or changing your company culture. In the case of Verifile, they’re finding that the fun and sense of humor from the eCards will help it change its culture to one that better reflects who they are and who they want to be in the future as the business grows.
If you'd like to read more stories about how companies are designing their recognition programs, check out my book titled "Appreciate it! The Playbook for Employee Recognition." And if you'd like to chat about how to design or redesign your company's recognition program, please contact me.