The Why — why create a recognition program?
Recognition programs are an essential part of fostering a workplace culture that acknowledges high performance and achievement. People want to know they’re working hard for good reasons and are being recognized appropriately.
In the past at Vista, we had versions of recognition programs that existed at the department level, each with their own criteria and structure. While they did a great job overall in awarding high performance, it was time for a much-needed upgrade, and an approach that could fit the whole company.
To begin, we needed to understand how employees were being acknowledged, what the awards were, how they were being announced, the frequency of the awards, the highlights, the problems, everything. Possibly most of all, we needed to understand from everyone what they liked and disliked about these programs.
This led to a fundamental guiding principle for what we would create: award winners couldn’t just be those working on high-profile projects. We wanted to acknowledge those who work behind the scenes doing great things, and are model Vista citizens.
Next, we had to put together a proposal of what we would actually create.
The How — How we made the right awards
We listened to what people had said and drilled that down to form the bones of the program:
- Award categories had to target teams, individuals, behind the scenes work, and being a model member of the Vista family.
- Nominations would be driven by employees. The reasoning for this was that it increased management’s visibility of our high performers across the offices, and even the quiet achievers could be brought into the limelight.
- The selection committee would be diverse, and represent all levels of the company.
- Prizes had to be valued by employees and be similar around the world, since this was a global program.
- For the same reason, communication had to be in English, Chinese, and Spanish to recognise that.
Lastly, we decided it was best to run the program no more than twice a year. It might sound backwards, but with awards like these it really turned out to be a matter of less is more. Or at least, less often is more. This gave the awards more value and gave the whole company a chance to celebrate.
But these awards still needed to have an identity. We worked closely with the Marketing team to create something engaging and on-brand for Vista. It didn’t take long for us to discover the perfect flavour, and The VOSCARS were born.
The What — the birth of the VOSCARS
We gave all the categories fun, appropriate movie references and over time our designers have created incredible materials that we could use globally for these. From the Hidden Figures award—given to the unsung heroes who helped a team get into orbit—to the Samwise—who lift others when they needed them most—we felt we’d found something truly unique to us.
Since its inception, the VOSCARS have become embedded in our culture.
While the very first iteration had momentum grow slowly, we expected that and knew effective communication would be key to getting everyone excited and engaged. From emails and announcements to digital signage advertising around the office and team meetings we pushed hard for the VOSCARS.
And the results were fantastic. In our first round we received over 200 nominations globally, and that number jumped to 300 by the second round! We were overwhelmed with the level of engagement, and since then it’s only grown. The fact that we have a diverse selection committee also means that there’s even more detail to each of the nominations sent through, so we’re really able to understand the why of who’s deserving of awards, and it works wonderfully.
Now, twice a year, every office takes the time to coordinate a meaningful awards ceremony and celebration so we can congratulate our colleagues around the world, sharing the celebration with our wider networks. It’s a global celebration that brings us together even when our celebrations are thousands of miles apart.