Opinion

Is it time to review your approach to employee reward and recognition?

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, your approach to reward and recognition may need to evolve to remain appealing and to continue rewarding positive behaviours which bring your company values to life. Here are some things to consider:

How often are you recognising employees?

A study by Reward Gateway found that 59% of people would rather work for a business where they felt recognised than be in a higher paid job without any recognition. This is one of the reasons why we are seeing a shift towards employers creating a more continuous culture of reward and recognition. Reminding employees on a regular basis that they are valued. Instead of focussing on rewarding staff on an annual basis, or during performance reviews, look for innovative ways to thank, praise or reward employees throughout the year.

Are you offering what people really want?

Staff surveys are a useful tool for monitoring what people would most appreciate and to check if what you currently offer,  is still appealing. For example, a recent survey by Sodexo revealed that millennials would rather receive experiential rewards over financial gifts. Rewards often work best if they contribute a little something extra to everyday life. This could be money, shopping, travel or experience vouchers, or extra time off. When it comes to recognition, do employees like a personal thank you from managers? Or would they prefer a shout out from their peers?

Is your reward scheme easily accessible and understood?

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 expensive. Simple and sincere acknowledgments still go a long way. We’ve seen lots of companies reward their teams with inexpensive treats, from cakes on a Friday to breakfast rolls on a Monday. Social media can also be a great platform to give ‘shout outs’ to employees for their hard work or to share praise they’ve received. 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.   

Is everyone playing their part?

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!