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Rideau Focuses on Bringing ROI to Recognition and Engagement

One of the world’s largest recognition companies believes it can continue to grow by providing “real recognition, real value, and real results.” 

Peter Hart, CEO of Rideau Recognition Solutions Inc., the Montreal-based international recognition company, strongly believes in the engagement movement and its potential to transform economies: “Having an ISO standard around engagement that involves recognition and other elements will be critical to organizational success.” 
So why isn’t Rideau focused on becoming a full-service engagement firm? “We fully understand that recognition is one part of engagement,” says Hart, “but we believe recognition is one of the most powerful drivers of engagement; therefore, Rideau is honing its craft focusing on recognition.”
Hart sees a major business opportunity for recognition in the emerging field of engagement, as he observes: “In many parts of North America and elsewhere, we will see serious workplace deficits in the coming years, even after factoring in the impacts of technology, artificial intelligence and immigration. Where I live, there are more people retiring than entering the workplace. Companies must become more innovative about how they attract, retain and engage their people. If we can provide them with a clear return on investment for their recognition investment, and truly identify the touch points needed to perform, that’s a compelling, profitable proposition. With millennials especially, being both recognized and feeling appreciated at work is often a bigger motivator than salary.”
Rideau is attempting to disrupt the current concept of recognition by focusing on providing what Hart describes as, “Real recognition with real reward value that is linked to our clients’ key performance indicators (KPIs) – in short, Rideau aims to provide return on recognition.” Hart asserts that the majority of recognition suppliers focus on finding ways to sell more rewards, gift cards, vouchers, etc., and to increase their profits from breakage (unredeemed points or vouchers), than they do on actually helping clients achieve key organizational results through recognition.  
Real Recognition, Rewards Value, Measurable Results 
To Hart, Rideau’s focus on real rewards means ensuring that people receive value for their accomplishment in a tangible way, as opposed to “… points programs and vouchers that in many cases never get redeemed. We think that there are multiple players in the marketplace who would prefer it if people did not redeem their rewards. Conversely, Rideau’s focus on real recognition dictates that time and effort must be dedicated to remind people about their unredeemed rewards. This approach is a hallmark of Rideau’s work.”   
Rideau defines real reward value as having a transparent pricing model that protects the client. Hart elaborates: “When programs are based on breakage, the question becomes, who gets the benefit of that breakage? In many cases, this goes 100% to the supplier, when we think that breakage should be shared. Of course, the supplier should be paid for the technology platform and services they provide. But why should all the breakage go to the supplier when people should be redeeming their points? In effect, with that model, a client is paying a supplier upfront for something the supplier hopes won’t happen.” He asserts that companies who pay suppliers up front for points and award vouchers need to protect their investment by including restricted-use and audit clauses in contracts so that the funds are strictly destined to be used only to operate the program(s). Rideau embraces the practice of and champions accountability for such programs.
The third critical element to Rideau’s competitive strategy, Hart continues, is program design to ensure that the recognition effort promotes the necessary behaviors to achieve key organizational goals. “I don’t think there’s enough understanding of the redemption models in the marketplace,” he says. “If you look at Recognition Professionals International’s Seven Best Practice Standards, you’ll see that the first standard is to have a written strategy. The last survey we saw showed that, at best, about half of organizations have such a strategy. There should also be management responsibility, program measurement, communication plan, training, events and celebrations, and finally program change and flexibility. This general lack of knowledge about program design helps to explain why so many organizations make the mistake of buying programs that don’t render return on recognition.”
Hart notes: “At Rideau, our goal is to bring our clients the highest level of service through analytics, actionable insights and prescriptive learning. Unless you’ve done the hard research and conducted the trials to understand what happens over time, you can’t understand how to properly select which programs and rewards to use. If anyone tells you otherwise, they haven’t analyzed the data.”
The Vistance Analytics Platform
To support Rideau’s analytics and learning approach to recognition, the company launched its Vistance recognition platform, which enables organizations to run multiple types of recognition programs for different purposes; regularly track the level of employee engagement through Recognition Pulse surveys and engagement with the program; and score managers based on the level of engagement of their team(s). The RQ (Recognition Quotient), functions like the FICO credit scale for consumers in that it scores numerically: 1) how well the manager recognizes and appreciates his or her team(s) and 2) identifies specific areas in which a manager is successful or requires further improvement. The Vistance recognition platform prescribes to the manager specific learning programs or modules to address the areas that require further improvement. The manager’s RQ Score is then re-measured to evaluate whether the issues have been addressed.
“The goal is to help a manager improve his or her RQ Score,” Hart explains. “The Vistance recognition platform guides the manager as it provides prescriptive learning modules to help him or her to improve. The ultimate proof of success is when the RQ Score increases and we see a corresponding improvement in both the engagement and the client’s other KPIs.”  
Hart notes that the Vistance recognition platform is based on many years of research and testing to provide a way for organizations to improve KPIs “It is so closely connected to achieving organizational results that one of our clients is considering having the recognition program moved from the recognition group to the performance management group of the company,” he says.
Hart reports that in addition to clients recognizing the platform as an important tool to measure KPIs within the recognition industry, Rideau’s Vistance recognition platform recently won three awards in open competitions against other leaders in the recognition and incentive space: The Tektonik Award, HRO iTalent EMEA, and HRO Talent North America awards. The platform’s success has extended to RBC Financial Group, Rideau’s client, which won Recognition Professionals International’s Overall Best Practice Award this year.
Engagement Should Not Be a Buzzword
Asked about marketplace trends, Hart says that everyone is talking about engagement, and everybody is saying they have a solution for engagement. “I believe that in many cases engagement has become a buzzword for selling more merchandise. Some people who claim to be experts in engagement actually know only a tiny portion about the art and science of engagement. Conversely, Rideau is a specialist in delivering recognition with a return on investment that leads to better engagement and performance. Rideau’s goal is to have its clients achieve return on recognition.”
Hart adds: “From a macro point of view, there’s a lot of consolidation in the marketplace. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a time when I’m getting so many calls from M&A companies.” In addition to its investments in Asia and its acquisition of the corporate sales division from Birks Group Inc., Rideau is interested in making “accretive” acquisitions in the U.S. – i.e., businesses that will add to its earnings and growth in the recognition industry and related areas.
Reflecting the addition of services to its recognition product line, Rideau renamed its Recognition Management Institute thought leadership unit the “Vistance Institute” to reflect the areas of expertise surrounding its Vistance product line. The product lines include corporate leadership, culture change, coaching, assessment and other tools provided in some cases through industry partners to help clients achieve the best results from their recognition investment. 

Learn more at:
Facebook: rideaurecognition
Twitter: @rideau
LinkedIn: Rideau Recognition Solutions
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