Employee ‘high fives’ bond Panasonic workers throughout the company

If you’re a Twitter fan, you may have noticed Panasonic employees giving each other “high fives” on that platform and through hashtags on their posts such as “#LifeAtPanasonicAvionics,” one of the divisions that use this benefit program.

There are a lot of good things about working at Panasonic – floating holidays, time off to volunteer, a 401(k) match – but one that stands out as both fun and successful is the High Five, an online social recognition benefit that helps co-workers and managers recognize when someone has done something well and deserves a little special acknowledgement.

Those Tweets were just employees thanking each other and Panasonic generally for the shoutouts. Where the High Fives are normally noticed are internally on a special platform used by the company within special areas such as Avionics, which piloted the program, and throughout the organization.

Deanna Dixon, senior talent brand lead for Panasonic Automotive, said the idea of talking up the good works of individuals, divisions and other groups to one another grew organically. It was so well-received that it rolled across the board.

Engaging employees and rewarding them at the same time makes sense from a benefits and compensation focus. According to a study released by Deloitte’s Center for the Edge, only 13% of the U.S. workforce is passionate about their jobs; however, more than two-thirds of that group are optimistic about the future of their companies. Conversely, 68% of the U.S. workforce remains not engaged, despite an expected investment by U.S. corporations of over $100 billion in training and $1 billion in employee engagement in 2017.

Point program
The basics are something like this: You go onto the High Five platform, which looks almost like a Facebook page. You then write up a special note about your co-worker, your director, your team or anyone else and give them a warm high five online.

If you want to go beyond this, you can anonymously award them points, as well, to show your thanks. Each individual receives around 1,000 points monthly to reward to others. Managers and others can have more than that to give out. These points don’t roll over, so employees are encouraged to reward them within the months or they’ll go away.

Employees can use up their points right away or save them for larger purposes. Dixon, for example, saves her points to buy concert tickets. There’s a whole catalog of options – these include everything from gift cards to Panasonic products to even things like Christmas trees.

If you’ve used up all of your points, no worries. You can still add lots of positive comments that month or any month to people’s High Five boards, Dixon said. These public notes are well-loved and many people feel great when they receive them.

After the initial pilot program, Panasonic allowed all divisions to join one platform, so Dixon or any employee can highlight anyone else within the overall organization. Dixon and the benefits team also can see who uses it, who gets them and how many, allowing them to shoutout great work during meetings and the like.

This program has been great for employee motivation and retention, Dixon said.

“No matter what your generation, people love feeling important, valued and recognized,” Dixon said. “It makes employees feel important and see that people appreciate the work that they do. We can give points or a High Five for a great job in a meeting or on a product. Whatever people notice, it’s motivating for all of us.”

It also has become a great communication tool – for example, everyone can read about each other’s accomplishments via the High Five. Then, when you see that co-worker at a meeting or around the office, you can talk about their good deeds, Dixon said.

Community building
More importantly, people are really getting to know one another. They know which employees write the most detailed and thoughtful High Fives. They see what their co-workers are doing and how their work is making a difference.

“It’s helped us learn about what other people you walk by in the hallway do every day but you don’t think to ask,” Dixon said. “It really opens up communication, breaks down silos and keeps communication lines open.”

Panasonic knows that everyone is important to the organization – and the widely adopted and well-used High Five platform shows that, Dixon added.

“It gets down to the individual level (and) it helps us enhance and develop other programs,” she said.