Interview with I Love Rewards, one of North America’s leading incentive marketing companies
I’m sending the responses on behalf of I Love Rewards’ CEO and Founder, Razor Suleman.
Razor Suleman is founder and CEO of I Love Rewards and an industry thought leader on employee engagement. Under Razor’s leadership I Love Rewards was named one of the Most Democratic Workplaces from WorldBlu and the Fastest Growing Company in America according to the American Business Awards. In 2010 I Love Rewards achieved a net promoter score of 83% and customer acquisition growth of 76% year-over-year.
What's 'I Love Rewards' purpose? How did you come up with this business idea?
I Love Rewards’ top priority is to recruit, retain, and inspire top performing employees. We’re a SaaS technology company that offers employee reward and recognition software that drives desired behavior and impacts any company’s bottom line.
The business idea for I Love Rewards came about while I was working on another venture of mine, Snap Promotions, which created branded business apparel and merchandise for employees. I was listening to the pains of my customers and noticed that branded promotional products were becoming an increasingly less effective solution for businesses to motivate desired behaviors. In a radical innovation, I shifted the model to a points-based, online rewards and recognition solution.
What are the basic steps for building a solid employee recognition program? Who should be involved for designing it?
It is common for human resource professionals to create their own recognition/incentive programs in efforts to control costs, especially during financially difficult times. Many do-it-yourselfers quickly learn that implementing and administering a program is difficult and time-consuming and, therefore, takes them away from other job functions. HR professionals often find themselves spending countless hours managing programs, commonly with Excel spreadsheets. Designing a program, sourcing vendors, tracking program performance, and managing shipment and fulfillment are only some of the tasks involved. I recommend an online points-based incentive program implemented on a third-party platform because it eases the burden of administration.
From a global perspective, do we have any specific and cultural practices in South/North America? In Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East?
The need for recognition in the workplace is universal regardless of culture or age, but the way we go about doing it may differ. Some people crave public recognition, and others prefer private. Individualistic cultures, such as North America, favor individual recognition of quality of work while other cultures prefer team-oriented success. The deliverance of recognition varies, but it clear that it plays a major part in motivation and driving desired behaviors.
Employee recognition has a direct impact on employee engagement, which is crucial today regarding the economic outlook. What's your vision of it in the upcoming years?
Although the economic landscape and job market has been bleak, employee motivation and engagement struggle. In the past few years, research has shown that nearly 80% of the workforce is unhappy in their current position. According to the Corporate Leadership Council, only 22% of employees plan on staying in their current positions and 21.6% of employees describe themselves as highly disengaged. If this is true, now is the time for companies to recognize their employees and make their return on investment tangible.
I believe that in upcoming years as the recession lifts, engaging employee will be one of the biggest tools in driving results and retaining top employees. There will be an evolution in the approach to HR. Our customized software addresses company’s common management mistake of overlooking the power of acknowledging employees’ successes.
How could we get connected with 'I Love Rewards'?
To learn more about what I Love Rewards does, visit our website at www.iloverewards.com. You can find white papers on crucial HR issues and trends as well as live demos.
Thank you very much!