There is a phrase I once heard – “being part of something special makes you special”- and our approach to recognition celebrates just that, being special. Innovation at PwC requires the unique talents of our people. By recognizing how special our people truly are motivates them to participate and contribute to something that is not only special for them, but also for our firm. Recognizing innovation in a way that is celebrated both individually and collectively has helped us to drive behaviors of sharing, collaboration, and brainstorming, which are key to successful innovation. As such, we developed a multifaceted approach to recognition as a way to not only recognize people individually, but to also recognize their efforts collectively.
Early on when we started mapping out our approach to recognition, we held some focused discussions with our people to hear what truly motivates them to innovate and feel special. To be honest, we all had our bets…would it be cash or prizes? Interestingly enough, the overwhelming majority said it was neither, but that professional development and networking opportunities were the real motivators. Using this information, we devised a recognition program devoted to awarding unique professional development and networking opportunities to our most active participants.
Our three focus areas around recognition include:
Personal Recognition – Be part of the club and get some status. Everyone loves receiving airline and hotel points, so why not receive points for innovating? We first developed a points program based on participation and activity within PwC iPlace. Points are awarded based on the contribution of ideas, comments, and votes. As points accumulate, one can achieve certain status levels – bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. These levels of achievement provide benefits focused on opportunities for professional development and networking. Types of benefits include performance notes from leaders, lunches with market and office leaders, participation in leadership innovation meetings, and networking events with other innovators across our firm.
Local Recognition – The office where everyone knows your name. Being recognized by the leadership of one’s practice, office, and local market is key to motivating our people. Local leadership is provided a quarterly report of active contributors and innovative ideas from people in their market. Office leaders will often recognize these individuals through newsletters distributed to the market, town hall events, and other office related functions. For example, leaders have invited these innovators to lunches and networking events to share their ideas in a public forum.
National Recognition – Be a leader among peers, everywhere. Being recognized on the national stage is important to creating an innovative culture and motivating participation in the innovation process. Leadership has taken this as an opportunity to recognize both people and ideas, recognizing that both quantity and quality are an important balance to innovating. Being that innovation is key enabler to how we continue to deliver value and remain relevant to our clients, people and ideas help us create competitive advantage. There have been various communications recognizing teams and individuals who have contributed to innovation through sharing their ideas and collaborating on others. People have been recognized for efforts related to implementing ideas that help drive greater efficiencies and create opportunities. For example, our Senior Partner has launched three national campaigns for ideas in the past year, and with each campaign, participants receive personal recognition notes and selected ideas are discussed in firm-wide communications and events.
Recognition no matter how big or small makes everyone feel special. Being special in the eyes of peers and leaders reinforces key behaviors which contribute to innovation. This approach also encourages new people to participate as they see innovators being recognized for their efforts and want to be part of something special. We have over 120 people across our firm who achieved an elite innovator status, and the number continues to climb. From our newest associates to our partners, together these individuals are contributing to something special and making a difference in how we deliver value to our clients and firm.
So how do you make your people feel they are part of something special? What are some other ways you are recognizing innovation that have proven to be successful within your organization?