Employee Listening, Recognition & Rewards, and Performance Conversations are the Ultimate EX Trifecta

Employee Listening, Recognition & Rewards, and Performance Conversations are the Ultimate EX Trifecta

June 8, 2022 | WorkTango

Subscribe to Stay Up to Date on Company News

Here’s something to chew on: it’s not that more profitable companies have the “luxury” of creating a positive employee experience; it’s that companies creating a positive employee experience (EX) through an EX trifecta ultimately become more profitable.

When people feel cared for by their employers, they then care about their work more, too. It’s that simple. 

According to new research from McKinsey, employees who enjoy a positive employee experience (EX) are:

  • 16X more engaged than those who don’t enjoy a good EX
  • 40% more likely to go “above and beyond” in their role
  • 8X more likely to stay with their organization

And when you consider the cost of replacing a single employee is anywhere from 50% to 250% (or more!) of the employee’s salary — then throw in higher-than-usual quit rates — that’s no small thing. 

See, the road to productivity and profitability doesn’t end with a great employee experience; it starts there.

So the question, as always, is how to actually execute it.

We know that like any other experience, the employee experience is a recipe made up of individual moments. When you combine the right ingredients — employee listening, recognition & rewards, and performance management — you get the ultimate EX trifecta. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Your 3-part employee experience strategy

Surveys and the Power of Employee Listening

How do you know if your people strategy is “working?”

You ask.

Employee Voice refers to the opportunities employees have to express their opinions, insights, and concerns. To have some say in the matters that impact them.

Tapping into that voice is what we call active listening. Active listening is what successful, people-centric leaders do to create a workplace where people thrive. 

Traditionally, when we hear the word “feedback,” we think about critiques or praise employees get from their boss or peers. But high-performing organizations have been building habits over time that share feedback across all levels — top-down, bottom-up, and side-to-side. 

For more on peer-to-peer recognition, check out The HR Secret That Changes the Game.

Active listening is about leaders encouraging, welcoming, and acting on feedback. Why? Because employee feedback makes everything better. People who believe they have a “voice” at work are almost 5x more likely to feel empowered and perform at their highest level!

So how do you do it?

EX trifecta - boy listening to music

Putting active listening into practice can initially look like collecting qualitative data through manager-employee 1-on-1s, or quantitative data with engagement surveys, diversity/equity/inclusion surveys, health & wellness surveys and continuous pulse surveys (ideally through a third party platform for reasons of confidentiality).

When you use frequent pulse surveys, you’ll have a baseline from which to gauge the effectiveness of new initiatives in real-time.

The goal is to tune-in to worker sentiment early and often so that you can make sound decisions, act, and then measure outcomes.  That’s part one of the EX trifecta. 

Want to find out more about employee surveys and the employee experience trifecta but don’t want to commit to a demo?

We’re hosting a live employee survey platform walkthrough on July 19th to give an overview of the platform, answer your top of mind questions and showcase the value and ROI of leveraging these solutions together from a shared WorkTango and Kazoo customer.

With employee listening, data guides action, and that informed action elevates overall experience. Plus, employees see their feedback actually being put to good use. Don’t we all want that?

Ultimately, as managers receive feedback regarding their leadership style and behaviors, and when they’re able to compare their scores with other organizational leaders’ scores, they’re able to self-manage their own performance.

Active listening = no more guesswork

And that turns into a continuous cycle of asking, listening, responding, refining, then asking again…..

The Motivating Effect of Recognition & Rewards

Let’s circle back to the idea of feedback.

You’ve probably invested a lot in securing top talent. They’re now offering you their very best daily. What would be the worst way for them to feel? Unnoticed. Unappreciated. Forgotten.

When a worker begins to believe that nobody cares if their work is exceptional or average, disengagement sets in, productivity declines, and the door starts to look awfully appealing. That’s why recognition and rewards are such a big deal. 

You just can’t have a strong employee experience without recognizing and rewarding people!

Recognition — a form of feedback — works best when it’s timely, ties the employee’s action to its result, speaks with details, and is truly personal. That means no more generic, “Great job, everybody!” Instead, we’re going for: “Thanks for your great attitude in the meeting this morning, Sonia. You kept the mood light as we worked through all those complex details with our new client. I’m confident that their positive feedback was in large part because of you.” 

In the Kazoo + Work Tango recognition and rewards platform, managers and peers can easily send both instant written praise and reward points, which can then be shared publicly for the whole to see.

Then, as employees accumulate R&R points, they can head to the custom rewards catalog inside the platform to redeem them for experiences, perks, company branded gear, etc. (Try using an employee listening survey to find out what rewards really interest your workers!) 

When employees know their work is seen, and that their unique contribution is valued, loyalty surges. In short, the overall employee experience improves…and that leads to more engagement. That’s part two of the EX trifecta. 

EX trifecta - thank you

How Continuous Performance Conversations Build Alignment

Top notch workers are looking for someone to help them rise to the height of what they could be. A person who will open doors of opportunity, suggest new skills, provide training, help diagnose weak points and find blind spots, affirm their efforts, cheer for their successes, know their needs, and help them cast lofty (but attainable) goals. What we’re talking about is the experience of robust continuous performance management conversations. 

Continuous performance management is a methodology that brings three important qualities to traditional performance management: continuous, timely, and multidirectional. It’s built on a foundation of relationships, empathy, and continuity, rather than an antiquated once-a-year performance review.  

With continuous performance conversations, managers hold frequent (ideally, weekly) one-on-ones with their direct reports. These scheduled chats create space for managers and their people to get aligned professionally, and to connect personally. They should include updates on life outside of work, projects, challenges or concerns, stress levels, emerging interests, and aspirations. This is the final part of the EX trifecta. 

Building on this strong base of weekly relationship-building, managers also hold quarterly performance check-ins. Think of this as the new and improved “annual performance review,” where every three months achievements and goals are recorded, tracked, recognized (and in many cases rewarded). The cycle is shorter. Qualitative feedback is fresher. KPIs are more precise. And there are more chances to celebrate wins large and small. 

Capping off weekly chats and quarterly check-ins, managers engage daily with employees in the recognition and rewards platform as well as employee listening surveys and strategies, as mentioned above. These practices together add up to a great employee experience.

But wait – that sounds like a lot of moving parts. Is it more work than it’s worth?

That’s where we come in. 

Weaving it all together

This is our sweet spot. 

Kazoo + WorkTango’s framework makes it easier to nurture a great employee experience by capturing employee data that includes candid survey feedback. Maybe you’re leaning hard into DE&I efforts, and want to know if inclusion is growing.

That’s measurable! It doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark anymore.

The platform allows your managers to set up meetings, share agendas, identify goals, track progress, and look back on previous employee surveys for additional insights all in one central location. So when they head into a quarterly check-in or one-on-one chat, they’re prepared for a valuable, fact-based conversation. 

Moreover, everyone (not just people leaders) have the ability to show appreciation and gratitude in a meaningful way that’s both documented and gives a birds eye view of all the great things happening across your organization. 

For employees, this three-way platform creates a strong sense of belonging. Employees know what their goals are for an upcoming quarter, and they know how those goals align with the bigger corporate picture. Better yet, through recognition and rewards they know that their contributions are valued, and through continuous listening surveys and strategies that their opinions genuinely matter.

For managers, this holistic framework creates measurable accountability. Managers know what their employees are up to. They understand they’re accountable for helping their people achieve success, can see how their efforts move the needle and become better leaders as a result. 

There you have it. That’s the EX trifecta, or 3-part secret to a thriving employee experience. 

What’s that kind of outcome worth? We think it’s priceless.

Ready to get to it? We’re here to help you write your success story.




WorkTango is the employee experience platform built for the modern workplace.