GroupM builds team relationships & promotes transparency with a decentralised recognition programme

GroupM Nether­lands accel­er­ates and simplifies its recog­ni­tion programme with Kadonation Select, allowing more than 200 team leaders to effort­less­ly manage and send per­son­alised gifts to their team members.
A fragmented recognition policy with little impact on key HR metrics.
A uniform, decentralised recognition programme via one platform.
Unity, efficiency and a positive working environment.

GroupM, a leading media agency with more than 1,000 employees spread across various offices, came up against the challenge of a decentralised and fragmented recognition policy. This led to not only inconsistent gift-giving but also a real administrative headache.

The solution came in the form of decentralisation and the implementation of Kadonation Select as a recognition platform. Kadonation Select brings everything together: HR are still in the driver’s seat, team leaders are given more options and responsibility, and the system remains GDPR-proof and efficient. The result? A streamlined recognition policy and a positive working environment where employees consistently feel valued and engaged – regardless of location or department. 

About GroupM

GroupM is a US-based media investment group that’s part of the multinational holding company WPP plc. Since 2013, GroupM has been the world’s largest media-buying agency.



Company size

1.000 FTEs

Customer since




As an HR manager, you don’t need us to tell you that employee recog­ni­tion and appre­ci­a­tion is crucial for the success of your organ­i­sa­tion. But how do you go about that? The answer lies in your recog­ni­tion policy. This powerful tool acts as your secret weapon, a guide that clearly explains the when, how and why of recog­ni­tion. The extent of these rules varies from organ­i­sa­tion to organ­i­sa­tion. But one thing’s for sure: your recog­ni­tion policy can make the difference between being merely good and extremely successful.

The pre­dictabil­i­ty you gain from a uniform approach also makes budgeting easier. Plus it ensures con­sis­ten­cy. You’ll never have a positive influence on the motivation, engagement and happiness of your employees if you show your appre­ci­a­tion for your teams in different ways for the same occasion.

Mandy Stoop, HR & Recruit­ment Specialist at GroupM Nether­lands, felt the same.

In the past, you would get, say, 200 euros for your birthday in one office, and 50 euros in another, which of course doesn’t make much sense.’

Mandy Stoop

HR & Recruit­ment Specialist


A fragmented recognition policy with little impact on key HR metrics

GroupM NL, a leading media agency with multiple offices in the Nether­lands, came up against the challenge of a decen­tralised recog­ni­tion policy. With more than 1,000 employees across 8 entities, the company was expe­ri­enc­ing issues with fragmented policies and incon­sis­tent recog­ni­tion among its employees. We have now become one GroupM in the Nether­lands, so we have to work together more and join forces,” says Mandy Stoop.

This coming together
was also the perfect oppor­tu­ni­ty to re-examine their​‘moments that matter’. Because all these different entities had also led to a fragmented recog­ni­tion policy.

Mandy:​‘In the past, you would get, say, 200 euros for your birthday in one office, and 50 euros in another, which of course doesn’t make much sense. We thought it was important to harmonise this too: you don’t want your employees to be frustrated because of dif­fer­ences in terms of recog­ni­tion, and we think it’s really important that we demon­strate that we’re a good employer.’

The logistics of it was also a real hassle: HR had no control over what was being ordered, the cost centres were unclear, you had to tread carefully with GDPR when passing on employee data to each other, and so on.


A uniform, decentralised recognition policy via one handy platform

To tackle this challenge, GroupM opted for a uniform, decen­tralised recog­ni­tion policy. The organ­i­sa­tion imple­ment­ed Kadonation Select as its recog­ni­tion platform. More than 200 team leaders were assigned rights & respon­si­bil­i­ties in the platform to enable them to effi­cient­ly put that uniform policy into practice.

When big and important decisions are being made, GroupM NL also involves their Chal­lengers Group. Mandy:​‘This is a group of around 15 employees who come from all over the organ­i­sa­tion. They form an important sounding board, which has certainly helped us to support changes like these.’

When you use a decen­tralised recog­ni­tion policy, the centrally created guidelines are put into practice by the team leaders. And HR are able to keep their finger on the pulse through those team leaders. Because they know best what’s going on as well as the occasions, pref­er­ences, per­son­al­i­ties and tastes in their team.

Kadonation has helped us 100% to maintain unity in our work culture.’

Mandy Stoop

HR & Recruit­ment Specialist

It was this group that chose Kadonation Select as a platform to help shape and manage their recog­ni­tion policy. More than 200 team leaders now use the platform and the policy was rolled out without any problems. ​‘Kadonation has helped us 100% to maintain unity in our work culture.’

HR are still in the driver’s seat
and define the boundaries of the policy via Kadonation Select. For example, they set up approval flows and budgets for each occasion. Previously we had no policy for birthdays, and the respon­si­bil­i­ties for arranging a gift were very fragmented. Kadonation Select encourages us to think about this proac­tive­ly and takes a lot of work off our plate, because birthdays, for example, are now handled auto­mat­i­cal­ly,” says Mandy.

Moments that matter

Research shows that a gift from their employer makes 7 out of 10 employees happy*. It doesn’t always have to be a big gift – what really creates that warm feeling is the recog­ni­tion of the moment. Don’t forget your personal message!

What are the moments that matter?

  • The classic holidays: 7 in 10 employees receive an end-of-year gift from their employer, but gifts for Sin­terk­laas or Easter are also popular.But be careful: not all employees celebrate these holidays.
  • Birthday or work anniver­sary: these days are just that little bit more special than your average workday.
  • Off­board­ing is also an event that you can easily do something with, especially if you take into account the increasing number of boomerang employees’. After The Great Res­ig­na­tion, where a record number of workers decided to leave their job during the pandemic, reportedly came The Great Regret: after the crisis more than 55% of pro­fes­sion­als indicated that they wanted to return to their previous employer.
  • Personal and work-related milestones: from moving in together or getting married to having a baby, adopting a child, getting promoted or achieving great end-of-year results: as an employer you can certainly show that you celebrate those big moments.
  • What about something different? Don’t forget about those atypical moments. Like a​‘back to work’ gift after the summer, for example, or a present for the company anniver­sary. But also if someone’s been off for a long time or to support them during a difficult period.

As a business leader or HR manager, it is impossible for you to keep track of all the important moments, let alone make full use of them. But those missed occasions lead to missed engagement. And that’s why a decen­tralised recog­ni­tion policy is so powerful.

Investing in a smart recog­ni­tion programme also has a positive impact on retention, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and absen­teeism. Only you know how big that impact could be for your organ­i­sa­tion.

The Kadonation Select recog­ni­tion platform guarantees an efficient and profitable approach. Feel free to contact us and start increasing the impact of your recog­ni­tion programme. 

Handy features

Thanks to Kadonation Select, GroupM also has a better idea of where their budget is being spent: the cost centres are clear and at the end of the year we see exactly what we’ve spent on each occasion. We also no longer have to process a whole pile of receipts. This saves a lot of time throughout the organ­i­sa­tion.

Another feature that certainly stands out for GroupM is the handy inte­gra­tion with their HR software AFAS. This auto­mat­i­cal­ly imports our employee database and keeps it up to date at all times. This way, we’ll never forget anyone again. Team leaders are also notified via AFAS that Simon has suc­cess­ful­ly completed his pro­ba­tion­ary period and we celebrate this with a little thank you’, or they receive sug­ges­tions like order a gift for Charlène who has been off sick for more than 2 weeks’.

At the same time, it’s all GDPR-proof, which is absolutely essential in 2024. If they want to make me feel special, all they need to do is enter my name and the gift will be sent via the platform, without any personal infor­ma­tion being shared, like my address.”


Unity, efficiency and a positive working environment

The biggest gain we’ve made is creating a culture of equality and trans­paren­cy within our organ­i­sa­tion. This has not only led to all of our employees being treated in the same way, but also a sense of belonging and appre­ci­a­tion for everyone, from newcomers to expe­ri­enced team members.

As a result, we can proudly say that our recog­ni­tion policy con­tributes to a positive working envi­ron­ment where everyone knows where they stand and feels valued, right from their very first day with us. This undoubt­ed­ly also has a positive impact on our most important HR metrics like retention, engagement and motivation.

GroupM NL is con­scious­ly stepping away from the tra­di­tion­al holidays
.​‘Not everyone celebrates Sin­terk­laas, Easter or Christmas, so we try to focus on other moments like Valentine’s Day, a work anniver­sary or moving house. We also use Kadonation to organise a little gift during trial periods and onboarding.’

​‘With our recog­ni­tion policy we show that we value personal and pro­fes­sion­al milestones. It’s a testament to our engagement and commitment to making every moment special. That’s why we also celebrate those moments together, or make an occasion out of them. And we also try to be there for our employees during the more difficult moments too. With Kadonation Select it’s all a lot easier.

*Research carried out by Human8 on behalf of Kadonation – 2,000 employees – 2021

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