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How HR Technology is Helping Us Return to the Office

by Robert Hicks, Group HR Director of Reward Gateway, an employee engagement company

4 HR Tools to help combat the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this new world we’re living in, you might forget what day of the week you’re on. But for me, I know that on Fridays, it’s “survey prep day.” 

It’s the first in a series of tactics that I’ve put in place as our 400+ Reward Gateway employees begin the transition of returning to the office.

This hasn’t been easy. I’ve spent 3 months to this point planning for this particular moment, and I know that I could not be as far along as we are without the right tools to help me during this project.

We’ve worked hard to put in place systems to survey and communicate with our employees, while maintaining a focus on wellbeing and reward and recognition. It’s my goal to make sure our return to the office is as successful as the transition to working from home was. 

When I think about it, I see the technology revolution in HR accelerating and I am glad that I have the tools I have to help me make RG a better place to work. Here’s a look at some of them:

Making employee surveys simple

Back to my survey. We were preparing this particular survey to see when our employees think they want to return to the office, rather than being based at home.


It was a simple survey asking them to select a month as part of our return to work headcount planning. Like all things at RG, I’m grateful that we can use our own tools. The employee survey will run on our survey platform, taking a multi-channel approach to integrate into a sent email, appearing as a prompt on boom!, our employee engagement platform, and will count as we get replies.

This data is vital as we begin the difficult process of bringing people back into work, safely and with confidence.

Facilitating critical employee communications

But before that survey could go out, our employees needed to understand its context. It’s not enough to ask them a question when they’re unsure what “back to the office” would look like. So before the survey went out, we shared a comprehensive blog on what returning to each office would look like. It was a lengthy read, but the detail was necessary so all could visualize what it would be like to return.


Download Reward Gateway’s eBook to discover how to better connect your people through communications during COVID-19 »

Even with part of our global teams fast asleep in Australia upon launch, the blog received nearly 300 views the morning after posting. We decided on a blog so that employees could ask questions in real-time and get fast answers – our point person on this was Cat Lewis, our Head of Global Engagement and Internal Communications, who was monitoring the comment thread in real-time since she was notified as they came in.

The comments become a Q&A, so my colleagues and I can answer questions or respond to comments the moment they come in from our people. 

This reassures me that our employees are really understanding of what we’re trying to achieve as a business.

While we’re pleased to see high engagement with our internal communications platform, I knew this would gain extra views since we used our “Announcement” tool to ensure the first thing employees see when they log into boom! is the announcement, and it pushes this notification to a corresponding employee engagement app, too.

This means we know that people will read it, driving up awareness and usage and to give my team confidence that things will be read and understood.

Putting a new employee wellbeing process in place

“Wellbeing,” a word that is central to every aspect of the HR world of 2020. As an employer with employee wellness at the heart of what we do, we have been helping our employees get access to best-in-class tools like a wellbeing coach, a respected EAP program in each geo, our own Wellbeing Center that delivers hundreds of articles and videos on-demand, as well as enabling them to access their wellbeing allowance benefit (a cash sum) during the lockdown period.


Now our employees love this benefit – they can use the money for anything from a new treadmill to language lessons or sleep aids. But the process now is that they go and fill out a Google form on our platform, which my team then has to manually process.

For future wellbeing windows, we’ll be able to use our own benefits automation product to manage the benefit across all our geographies. 

So when we tell staff they can apply for this year’s allowance, we’ll greatly reduce the admin typically needed for this much-loved benefit by as much as 50%! We’ll also have better reporting on how much employees are requesting and what they are using it for, which will feed into the Total Reward Statements we have just launched globally. I’m happy that this means that our People team will have to answer fewer questions on how much someone has left to spend.

To finish reading this post, go to https://www.rewardgateway.com/blog/hr-technology-and-covid-19.



Robert Hicks

Robert Hicks

Reward Gateway

Robert is the Group HR Director at Reward Gateway, an employee engagement company. In his spare time he goes to gigs, watches football and cricket and enjoys the odd ski weekend.

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