Businessman Gary Abram, who has showed an interest in the fields of motivation and positive thinking, has come up with a smartphone app named Tak. The app is built based on the belief that employee recognition and rewards can increase morale and performance.
The idea surfaced after Abram sat in a board meeting for St. Mary’s Medical Center in Blue Springs, Missouri. He heard hospital CEO Deb Ohnoutka state that nearly one in four nurses were quitting every year, causing a massive employee turnover for the industry.
Health providers are desperate for ways to reduce this employee turnover rate. Some providers are beginning to use recruiting and talent acquisition technologies in an attempt to reduce health systems’ turnover rates by using predictive analysis.
Abram began thinking of a way to reduce this inefficient and expensive turnover, and thought that maybe by helping people see that their good work is noticed, they’d be more likely to stay in their position and continue to strive to do good work.
One year after the implementation of Tak, Ohnoutka said it appears to do what it was intended to do. Nurse turnover dropped from 24% to 17%.
“Our theory is that intrinsic rewards are more powerful than extrinsic rewards,” said Abram.
The app works by allowing each bit of thanks or recognition to be entered in the app, which in turn earns points for the recipient. These points can then add up and be redeemed for free food or gifts.
Ohnoutka says she’s surprised that not many points are being redeemed, and the program isn’t costing as much as she had expected.
“They’re really not using the money,” she said, “It’s more about being thanked, getting recognized, and seeing if they can get on the leaderboard.”
A variety of employee recognition programs have been proven to work. In fact, 86% of companies that use some kind of employee recognition program say they saw an increase in worker happiness.
A residential treatment center, Kids TLC, was Tak’s second customer. CEO Gordon Docking decided to make it available for the entire 250-person staff.
A few minor glitches, like employees giving themselves recognition in order to earn points, were noticed, and promptly fixed. A tracking program was also implemented to ensure a small group of employees weren’t just giving each other recognition to increase their points.
While Tak can be compared to other programs that “gamify” the workplace by giving points for things like clocking in on time and attending health programs, it’s different from the others. Users emphasize that it’s not the actual points or prizes that make a difference, it’s the recognition.