National Grid aligns global recognition

EXCLUSIVE: National Grid employees have shared more than 13,000 recognition moments globally.

It initially launched the pilot recognition programme for 3,000 UK employees in April 2012. In April 2013, the programme was rolled out to the rest of the utilities firm’s 15,000 UK and US employees.

Following the merger between its UK and US businesses, between 2000 and 2007, National Grid had a number of recognition programmes in place across the business that were deemedinconsistent. It saw the opportunity for a new global framework, using a common system and theme.

Iain MacKinnon, global compensation and benefits manager at National Grid, said: “We don’t see appreciation as a ‘nice to do’, we see it as a ‘must do’.

“We are very much brought into how appreciation and recognition drives engagement, and engagement drives performance. The leadership team and the organisation are very committed to it.

“Appreciation is not separate from performance management. It’s not different from day-to-day management. It links to our values. It links to our line of sight, so we wanted all employees to see the connection.”

The programme, which is provided by OC Tanner, focuses on three key areas, known as recognition moments:

  • Appreciate great work: Employees can send fun, creative animated thank-you cards to their peers. They can also be nominated by peers or managers for above-and-beyond awards for living the values of National Grid.
  • Career milestones: Employees with one, five, ten, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years’ service are celebrated for loyalty and commitment with a certificate.
  • Chairman’s awards: An annual award that recognises the outstanding contribution of employees who have brought innovation and excellence to National Grid. Recipients are thanked during a gala dinner.

Communications for the global roll out of the recognition programme included manager training, targeted information via the intranet, emails and posters, as well as engagement champions who worked with local leadership teams.

Quarterly newsletters also provided real-life stories about employees and their great work, what they did to get an award and how they feel about their career milestone.

MacKinnon added: “We want employees to be identifying who to recognise and why. We want them to be making presentations and give feedback in a very positive way.

“This is a strategic business tool and not an HR initiative. It’s one platform with flexibility to be applied in different parts of what is a complex business.

“We believe that the relationship between the manager and their employees is the most important relationship in the business. That’s what drives engagement and trust. Giving managers a tool they can use to reward and recognise their people is part of making that relationship even stronger.”