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Brand Integrity has announced the launch of a trailblazing new program that rewards organizations for consistently recognizing their employees. The announcement, coinciding with Brand Integrity’s appearance at the 2017 HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas, features a first-of-its-kind ‘Recognize for Good’ program aimed to increase the frequency with which managers recognize employees by contributing ‘earned’ funds to each client’s chosen non-profit organization.

Launching in January 2018, this program works twofold in terms of elevating employee engagement levels. For one, consistency is an integral element of keeping employees engaged. According to the Harvard Business Review, 82% of Americans don’t feel recognized enough for their contributions at work, a statistic that can have a negative impact on both morale and productivity.

“A common question we get from clients is how much recognition leadership should be providing. Experience has shown us the answer lies not in a specific number, but in consistency,” says Gregg Lederman, founder and CEO of Brand Integrity. “Consistent recognition, the kind of behavior that the Recognize for Good program seeks to promote, has much more of an impact on employee engagement than, for instance, excessive recognition over the course of a single month, and then nothing for the rest of the year.” To that end, Brand Integrity recommends its clients commit to writing at least one recognition a month using its signature Employee Engagement platform.

While the initiative encourages consistent recognition, it also gives clients the opportunity to further support their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. Instead of providing clients with a simple discount, Brand Integrity will contribute a percentage of a client’s licensing fee to the non-profit organization of its choice. Research has shown that CSR is becoming increasingly important to employees: the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study found that 51% of employees won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong CSR values, thereby making the link between CSR and recruitment efforts more intertwined than ever.

That number rises to 64% when it comes to millennials. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, millennials currently make up the largest segment of the workforce, and will account for more than 50% of it by 2020. As a result, it’s become imperative for businesses to engage this age group, especially considering 88% find their job to be more fulfilling when provided with opportunities to make a positive social impact.

One organization excited about the program is St. Ann’s Community. St. Ann’s has more than 1,200 employees, and offers a continuum of care that includes independent retirement living, assisted living, and adult day programs.

“We are delighted to adopt the ‘Recognize for Good’ program,” explains Bob Bourg, senior VP of human resources at St. Ann’s Community. “Our managers know that when they consistently recognize team members, it creates the right environment for us to deliver exceptional service and care to our residents and patients. Now, we have the added benefit of being able to generate funds for our St. Ann’s Foundation at the same time. It’s an incredible win-win program, and truly demonstrates Brand Integrity’s commitment to improving culture through usage of their tools and technology.”

The program itself will be based on a sliding scale of manager activity for each client on the Brand Integrity Employee Engagement platform, with the amount ‘earned’ depending on whether certain monthly averages are met within a 12-month time frame. To get credit for Recognize for Good, a client must have an average of at least 50% of managers writing recognitions each month, with the potential to earn up to 5% of a client’s annual license fee.  For more information on the Recognize for Good program, please contact Brand Integrity.

Firm Harnesses Employee Recognition in Order to Deliver the Ultimate Customer Experience

Tom Bonadio, CEO of The Bonadio Group, and his firm managers, are committed to creating a culture where the talent is engaged and committed to the organization.

Founded in 1978, The Bonadio Group rose from humble beginnings—the kitchen table of founder and CEO Tom Bonadio’s mother, to be specific. In the almost 40 years that followed, the accounting firm, based in Rochester, N.Y., has been on a steady and sustainable track of success. In fact, the firm was ranked the 39th largest CPA firm in the nation on Accounting Today’s 2017 Top 100 firms. With 10 offices across New York State, more than 16,000 clients from around the world, and projected revenues of $106 million for the 2017 fiscal year, it’s clear that The Bonadio Group is doing it right.

The Challenge

When asked what contributes to this success, leaders at Bonadio will tell you it’s the fact that they’re not afraid to break from traditional CPA business practices. For example, their employee benefits and related programs include unlimited paid time off, alternative career paths (such as part-time partnership), and a focus on retaining and advancing women to leadership positions. These are impressive features to celebrate, but the firm is on a never-ending mission of improvement.

It’s this drive—this constant need to be on the trail of innovation—that helps The Bonadio Group stay ahead of the competition. To sustain the momentum, they recognize the need to deliver the ultimate client experience. And to do that, they need the best talent—and the tools to create a culture where the talent is engaged and committed to the firm.

“We believe that culture isn’t something you’re ever ‘done’ working on, which is why we’re in a constant state of improvement,” said Allyson Roote, director of learning and organizational development at The Bonadio Group. “We knew that having a formalized system in place would not only help boost employee recognitions, but also strengthen the camaraderie of our team.”

The Solution

The formalized system took the shape of a platform that captures and celebrates the hard work of employees. To design this system and help reinforce its culture, The Bonadio Group turned to Brand Integrity. The Brand Integrity employee recognition platform was seamlessly integrated into the CPA firm’s system, becoming a key feature on its intranet. With the social recognition feed prominently displayed where all employees could easily access it, The Bonadio Group saw an increase in platform usage and recognitions, which boosted employee morale. But leaders knew that the platform was more than just a “feel-good” tool; according to Gallup, recognition has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to a company, leading to higher retention.

Next, because accountants rely on data for decision making, The Bonadio Group leveraged the Brand Integrity platform to conduct a survey that measured employee engagement. Survey results are analyzed and shared with team leaders at the firm. Through these results, each team leader gains a clear action plan to help improve the culture, or at the very least to modify or adjust specific areas identified in the results. With periodic check-ins and specific deadlines, team leaders hold themselves accountable, rather than being micromanaged through the process. 

Our Results

The recognition platform has been in place for several years now, and with the introduction of the employee survey, it’s hard to contain the surge of excitement felt at Bonadio. Recognition activity has been on a steady upward trend, reflecting the firm’s financial growth. Turnover has decreased and productivity continues to rise. And, most importantly, The Bonadio Group is making strides toward its goal of delivering the ultimate client service. In fact, the company’s Net Promoter Score, used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships, is three times greater than the reported average for other accounting firms. “We’re on the cutting edge in our approach to clients,” said Jeffrey Halik, senior director of marketing and business development. “Brand Integrity enables us to keep that cutting-edge attitude and is helping us succeed in our goal to continuously improve our client service capabilities.”

The Brand Integrity PulsePack surveys are ideal for organizations looking to supplement annual employee surveys and track progress on employee and culture initiatives. PulsePack allows you to quickly deploy a series of one-question surveys that support a highly-effective employee listening strategy.  Employee responses provide timely insight into the status of the organization, and help identify potential barriers to progress.

Questions are designed to reveal how are your employees feeling today about a variety of topics, such as:

◊  Their manager
◊  Culture alignment
◊  Wellbeing
◊  Career path
◊  Engagement
◊  Satisfaction

One Question, Once a Week x 4 Weeks

Each PulsePack survey sends a single survey question to all employees once a week for four weeks. All responses are confidential, and results are updated and available for review in a reporting dashboard.

Simple. Fast. Effective.  Here is how PulsePack surveys work:

Choose the topic. Select your PulsePack from our survey library.  Each PulsePack contains four pre-written and tested questions.

Schedule your launch. You can pre-schedule a delivery date for all four survey questions.

◊  One question is launched once a week for four weeks, with one midweek reminder.

◊  All employees receive the survey question via email

Review the results:  Managers will have access to results on the Brand Integrity dashboard.

Share and plan:   Leaders can elect to send a quick email to all employees about the results, and plan next steps to be taken.

Click here to request more information about PulsePack surveys today!

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has a long history of excellence as part of a $6.6 billion family of companies that finances and delivers health care services across upstate New York and long-term care insurance nationwide. The company provides health insurance to nearly 1.5 million members and employs about 5,500 New Yorkers. Excellus is known for its exceptional customer service and open, collaborative work environment.

“The greatest value we’ve gained from Brand Integrity has been the ability to create a clear link for senior management between engaged and motivated employees and business performance.” Dave Sanderson, SVP of Human Resources at Excellus

Top-Down Becomes People-Centric 

In the ever-changing climate of health care, Excellus faced a dilemma: How to transition from a formal corporate culture of top-down authoritarian leadership to a more open, collaborative, people-centric work environment where employees feel more valued, respected, and engaged?

After becoming CEO in 2013, Chris Booth made a decision to begin the culture shift. “Chris’s influence has been inspirational,” says Keri Wood, Excellus’s director of corporate culture and organizational effectiveness. “He is known in our organization as being someone who is truly authentic. His commitment and passion for transforming the culture has changed everything.”

Strategic Recognition Powers Transformation

Enter Brand Integrity. Excellus began its initial partnership with Brand Integrity in 2010 by implementing employee recognition software. The company called it “Celebrate You” and used it to encourage employees to post recognitions in appreciation of each other’s work. When Booth became CEO, his goal was to make Excellus a better place to work. The organization tried some culture change efforts but wasn’t seeing results. In Spring 2014, the company chose to broaden and deepen its partnership with Brand Integrity to focus on measuring and managing behaviors. As a result, Brand Integrity helped Excellus create its “Lifetime Way” featuring seven organizational values with corresponding behaviors that define what’s needed to achieve successful business results: Values such as passionately serving customers, caring about each other, having open and honest conversations, and challenging and empowering each other to drive excellence. “We wanted to shift to a people-focused culture,” Wood explains. “Our partnership with Brand Integrity is now about strategic recognition using the platform to reinforce those key behaviors evidenced in our shared values. It’s been a huge transformation.”

Linking Engagement with Business Performance

Excellus’s ability to achieve short- and long-term business goals has greatly improved since starting its culture work. The company reported a net income of 1.7 percent on $6 billion in premium revenue in 2016—up from 1.0 percent in 2015, and for the second consecutive year, the health plan had a $63 million reduction in administrative expenses, which led to a net income of $99.5 million. “Brand Integrity’s commitment from day one to help Excellus on our culture journey has been handled with passion, clarity of support, exceptional strategic advice and counsel, attention to operational details, responsiveness to issues, and much more,” says Dave Sanderson, SVP of Human Resources at Excellus. “The greatest value has been the ability to create a clear link for senior management between engaged and motivated employees and business performance.” The shift toward engaging and motivating leadership has had a major impact on the whole organization. Employee engagement scores generated through biannual pulse surveys have consistently risen year over year. The average length of employment is 12 years. “We communicate and collaborate so much more effectively,” Wood explains. “Our upward journey has been exciting!”

Next up:  Connecting to the Customer

As Brand Integrity continues to refine its offerings and survey tools, Excellus plans to gauge internal customer satisfaction through quick, in-the-moment surveys. The goal is to help teams work collaboratively on future projects and pinpoint areas of opportunity to grow and improve the business. “We’re hoping the customer surveys will give us an accurate read on how well we’re living the Lifetime Way Values,” Wood says. “Our partnership with Brand Integrity has helped us to create an essential foundation for employee engagement, and we know it will continue to help the business evolve in the years to come.”

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Ken Blanchard once said, “I believe the key to developing employees and building a great organization is to wander around and catch people doing things right.”

At Brand Integrity, we agree! And now, with the launch of the new Brand Integrity app, it’s easier than ever to capture daily moments of excellence on the spot—and make them public for others to learn from and be inspired by.

No Desktop? No Problem!

Healthcare worker, sales person, field service technician, retail employee—the list of non-office workers and managers is enormous. In fact, today, 75 percent of U.S. workers perform their jobs without sitting in front of a desk or computer. Instead, many rely on their smartphone to stay connected. The new Brand Integrity mobile app puts the power of recognition into the hands of managers and employees wherever they are.

Picture This

A recognition post can be made more powerful with a photo uploaded from a smartphone. Quickly post a photo of your employees and teammates when you see them demonstrating excellence or delivering your company experience. Relevant images help bring each story to life and remind others what living the brand looks like.

10 Minutes a Week

The average person spends about four hours a day on their smartphone. Imagine if you took just 10 minutes a week of that time to post a recognition? Brand Integrity clients have found that when managers make at least one post a week, it has a significant impact on employee engagement. Start a new habit today!

For more information on using the Brand Integrity mobile app, log in to the Brand Integrity Platform® and visit our Academy.

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