It’s well known that recognising and rewarding employees for excellent work helps to ensure they feel valued for their efforts; creating a culture of high performance, increasing employee engagement and improving recruitment and retention.
However, as with salary and benefits packages, an organisation’s approach to reward and recognition may need to evolve to ensure it remains appealing. For example, a recent survey by Sodexo revealed that millennials would rather receive experiential rewards for hard work over financial gifts. While a study by Reward Gateway highlighted that recognition is just as, if not more important, than financial reward. It found that 59% of people would rather work for a business where they received recognition over a higher salary job where they felt they weren’t recognised.
If this has made you think it’s time to review your approach to reward and recognition, here are some things to consider.
How often do employees receive rewards or recognition?
We are seeing a shift towards employers creating a more continuous culture of reward and recognition. Instead of focussing on rewarding staff on an annual basis, or during performance reviews, employers are looking for innovative ways to thank, praise or reward employees as and when they do good work.
Are you offering what your employees really want?
Staff surveys are a useful tool for monitoring what employees would most appreciate and find engaging. It also gives you the chance to check if what you are currently providing is still appealing. Rewards often work best if they contribute a little something extra to everyday life. This could be money, shopping or experience vouchers, or travel incentives. Or it could be extra time off to spend with family or to enjoy some additional leisure time. When it comes to recognition, do employees place the most value on a personal thank you from managers? Or would they prefer a shout out of some kind from their peers?
Are rewards available fairly and is the criteria understandable?
All employees should understand the criteria behind any reward system in place and there should be equal opportunities for all team members – without it becoming overly competitive. If it’s perceived to be easier for those working in roles with obvious goals and objectives to earn rewards, those in less target-driven positions or support roles won’t be engaged or motivated in the same way.
Are you making the most of ‘free’ rewards?
It’s estimated that UK businesses spend over £35 billion a year on employee recognition but rewarding success doesn’t have to be financially based, or expensive for the business. Simple and sincere acknowledgments still go a long way. We’ve seen lots of companies find ways to reward their teams with inexpensive treats, which also bring people together, from cakes on a Friday to breakfast rolls on a Monday. Other incentives which don’t necessarily break budgets can be based on time. For example, an extra day’s holiday in December to get all the festive shopping and planning sorted, or to attend a child’s school play. Or, as we do here at Pure, time outside of the office to spend volunteering or fundraising for local charities.
Do you have a recognition culture which spans from the top level down?
While managers are often best placed to spot good work and give praise and thanks when it happens, they should also be recognised and rewarded by their own line managers and senior leaders for doing so. Senior leaders can also make a big impact by providing praise and thanks directly to employees. Recognition which comes directly from the top can really help to paint a bigger picture. Those in more senior positions are better equipped to share the direct impact a project or success has had on the overall business and why employees should feel proud of their contribution.
Does your reward and recognition fit with your culture and values?
Aligning rewards and recognition with company culture and values will have more impact on increasing engagement. It can also influence cultural change by sending out important messages about the value of employee contributions, the positive behaviours valued within the organisation and empower employees to bring company values to life.
Are you making use of social platforms?
Social media can be a great platform to give ‘shout outs’ to employees for their hard work or to share praise they’ve received. This not only shows employees they are valued and worth posting about but also highlights the organisation as a place where efforts are recognised and rewarded. Internal social platforms such as a staff intranet or internal newsletter can also be used to recognise and share employee successes, or as a hub to run peer-to-peer nominations for recognition awards.