Employee Reward Programs: What Works?
Employee rewards and recognition are as varied as the employees themselves. You’ve probably been with companies that keep it ultra simple (read that cheap) and do little more than a passing “thank you.” On the other end of the spectrum are firms of almost urban legend status, that share the wealth in jaw-dropping ways. But like everything else that a business does, the expenditures on employee rewards should be evaluated on the basis of cost and benefit. Often, the best ones are managed by professional companies, such as Online Rewards.
If you think that an employee rewards program may not seem like something to worry about until your company is larger, think again. Even if you’re a tiny startup or #sidehustle, you should remember that your employees are critical to your success. And they need and deserve to know they’re part of that success. As Entrepreneur says, every company needs a strategic reward system. For employees, that addresses these four areas: compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation.
So what makes for good employee reward programs? What are some things to avoid? Here’s a few tips from the experts that should help you in designing yours.
Involve The Employees
Rather than simply going with your idea of employee rewards and recognition, ask your employees what they think should be rewarded. How do they want to be rewarded? Instilling ownership in the rewards program will go a long ways towards creating the motivation to succeed.
Be Clear and Transparent
Rewards that are given out in a seemingly random or too subjective manner will undermine your efforts. One that communicates that when “X” happens, the reward is “Y” not only motivates, it gives assurance that everyone is operating on a level playing field. When everyone has a fair shot, it’s only results that matter, and there’s no worry of favoritism.
Make Timely Rewards
It’s likely your business will have goals and rewards for multiple time frames. But more frequent rewards are typically more likely to reinforce the behaviors that resulted in the rewards. Like checkpoints or milestones, they become signs that we’re on the right path. In reality, the smaller accomplishments, and rewards, are just pieces of the bigger results you’re striving to achieve.
Keep It Objective
Avoid the temptation to set up a rewards programs that can be viewed as something only available to a favored few. Don’t let a manager be responsible for choosing the best among the best. Again, clearly outlined rules that everyone sees as making rewards available to anyone who meets the criteria are best.
An employee rewards program can be a way to both share the joys of success and be a valuable tool for maintaining a highly motivated workforce. Whether your team is small or large, human nature drives us to seek the rewards we clearly see. Plus, employee retention and job satisfaction are likely to be significantly higher. If you don’t have one set up, now is the time to get started establishing one.