O.C. Tanner: Appreciating Great Work and Achieving Excellence in Performance

Last week, Cliff Stevenson and I attended O.C. Tanner’s Analyst Summit 2016 at its campus in Salt Lake City, Utah. O.C. Tanner is a leading employee recognition and rewards solution provider and its vision is to help the world appreciate great work. The company was founded in 1927 and has primarily become known for their employee rewards (pins, trophies, consumer goods, etc.).

In the last few decades, though, O.C. Tanner has been expanding its portfolio into software and services, at first around recognition and engagement, but recently into well-being and performance management. The company has an in-house Research Institute that is responsible for testing, educational materials, and directed research, such as its current project of looking at how recognition fosters organizational performance on such metrics as employee engagement, retention, and great work.

Brandon Hall Group’s just-completed engagement research strongly supports this link between recognition and organizational performance: 56% of high-performing organizations – those demonstrating year-over-year improvement in KPIs such as engagement and revenue – consider formal employee recognition programs to be highly valuable to employee engagement efforts.

Even more compelling, a great majority of those high-performing organizations have seen a positive impact from their reward and recognition technology solutions on employee engagement (81%), customer satisfaction (81%), employee productivity (71%), employee performance (71%), and employee value proposition (71%).

The core (both in focus and financials) of O.C. Tanner’s business is still its symbolic awards and merchandise, but the move toward providing metrics that help its clients understand the impact of its solutions on their business should be welcome, as many organizations would like to have the ROI of their recognition program available at a moment’s notice. This focus on metrics and services has been a large part of O.C. Tanner’s financial growth over the last 10 years, and its future projections of growth lean heavily on these new product offerings.

While visiting the company’s on-premise developmental incubator, O.C. Labs, we had a chance to see live demos of some of these new products, specifically Welbe, a foray into the benefits and wellness arena. Welbe incorporates some of the forward-thinking concepts unearthed in recent research to help create a tool to develop overall well-being rather than simply monitoring health metrics. (Brandon Hall Group’s own benefits and wellness research launches next month and we will be sharing results in future blogs).

Speaking of health metrics, O.C. Tanner’s are quite strong. The company has 1,100 global clients in more than 150 countries, a 30% market share in in rewards and recognition, an average client retention of 14.5 years, and it recognizes about 35,000 people daily. It has seen strong financial growth over the last twenty years, and project an even greater rate of revenue generation due to its expanding product offering.

It is also good to know that O.C. Tanner lives by its vision to appreciate great work. Throughout the campus tour, company leaders showed how they recognize the work done by their employees; buttons, stickers, and pins are available through each workplace, to be freely given when employees go above and beyond. There is even a gong in place to strike when a new product group delivers on KPIs. For the future, we hope that as O.C. Tanner continues its growth, builds out and emphasizes its technology capabilities, and further demonstrates the value of its offerings without losing sight of the core differentiators (in-house manufacturing, bundled services, enterprise-level focus) that have allowed it to become an organization fast approaching its 100th anniversary.

Daria Friedman, Principal Talent Acquisition Analyst, and
Cliff Stevenson, Principal Workforce Management Analyst,
Brandon Hall Group

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