Developing Your Employee Rewards Program

October 22, 2021

Contrary to what some may think, it usually takes more than compensation to motivate employees to perform at a high level with something close to alacrity — day in and day out. Team membership is fine, and of course it’s important to be a “team player,” but employees also need to feel appreciated for what they bring as individuals. 

Essentially, they need to be recognized. So, if your company needs help in this area, here’s what you need to know about developing an employee rewards program.

The Issue

Organizations and employees are often at odds in this way: business owners are always eyeing the bottom line, trying to see how they can achieve more for less. The problem, particularly when unemployment is low and people have options, is employees want more from you.

Companies that understand this have established employee reward and recognition programs to boost retention and to nudge employees to perform — or keep performing — a certain way to achieve desired results.

What’s an Employee Rewards Program?

Companies develop an employee rewards program to acknowledge employees’ contribution to the organization’s success. This is usually, but not always, separate from the organization’s compensation plan and structure.

How Will We Know It’s Working?

Good employee reward programs help lure and retain top-shelf talent, and make certain employees know they are appreciated, held in high-esteem, and inspired to attain corporate goals.

What are the Different Kinds of Employee Recognition?

Prior to developing a total rewards program, you need to familiarize yourself with the disparate types of employee recognition. First, you can recognize an employee privately. Maybe the top boss will give you a quick phone call, praising you for something you accomplished. Then there’s public recognition, wherein you get called out, in a positive way, in a speech by a higher-up.

Recognition can also come via a promotion. Maybe that’s a new position or heightened responsibilities. Finally, there’s monetary recognition – a paid holiday, a pay increase, or a gift, for example.

How Will I Know What Our Employees Want?

It’s a good idea to develop a survey to assess morale within the company and how valued they feel. You can use the results to help inform your rewards and recognition program.

How Will I Know Which Employees to Reward?

You need to determine what kind of performances, skills and results would merit a reward and whether these are in line with your organization’s aims, culture, and values.

What are the Main Features of an Effective Employee Recognition Program?

Some companies frequently acknowledge accomplishments of every size so that employees are “into” their roles and performance. Then there are timely rewards, which are presented shortly after the accomplishment as positive reinforcement.

Values-based recognition motivates individuals to aim for common goals, and inclusive recognition, which is conducive to parity in the corporation. Specificity is another characteristic of a favorable rewards program because it seems more genuine when a person’s exact achievement is pointed out. Lastly, visibility is key, since publicly acknowledging an achievement can spur colleagues on.

The bottom line is remuneration is no longer an employee’s chief motivator, although you can’t expect to skimp on salaries and attract and keep good talent. Employees want to know what they’ve done to add to the outfit’s success. They also want these contributions to be acknowledged.

Keep all this in mind when developing your employee rewards program and you’ll be well on your way to having a workforce that has “bought in” and will do its best for you.

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