Employee Recognition Schemes (That Work)

Keeping your employees engaged, recognised and rewarded is one of the easiest ways to keep them motivated and to increase retention. Many businesses have discovered that after budgeting for a staff reward scheme, work output increased, engagement increased and employee turnover reduced.

But with so many employee recognition schemes out there, all seemingly different from the last, how do you know which one actually works? After all, it’s a lot of effort for everyone involved to introduce such a scheme only to remove it six months later after not seeing any benefit.

We’re here to guide you in the right direction and pick the perfect employee recognition scheme that will product results. Employees that are more switched on, more willing and more loyal, all from a scheme that pays for itself almost immediately.We’ll be breaking down why an employee recognition scheme is so important, why they work and what type of rewards are actually worth having. Shock – Employees don’t react well to being given money!

Attract and engage

Why employee recognition is so important

Without your employees, your business doesn’t run! The people in your business are your single most important asset and as an HR manager, leader or business owner, it’s up to you to ensure your employees are doing what you want, when you want and up to your standard.

But it’s equally your responsibility (and in your best interest) to ensure your employees are happy. Why? Because unhappy employees don’t work as hard, aren’t as engaged and are more likely to leave.

Why is that a problem? Well it means you aren’t getting the most out of that person (or people) as you would like. They don’t feel valued and so don’t care about the company they work for or the work they are doing and that has a massively negative impact on your business.

Unhappy employees are also far more likely to leave, and while it may seem good that a disinterested employee leaves your business, the cost both financially and time wise to replace that person can be huge.

Worse still, if that new employee eventually feels the same as the previous employee, then you’ll be in a never-ending cycle and an expensive one at that.

Employee recognition schemes solve all of these problem and more. What may seem like an additional cost to begin with actually turns out to be a massive saving.

For an affordable price, you are ensuring your employees are:

Investing in an employee recognition scheme also has the advantage of attracting top talent. If you’re hiring for a role and among your benefits includes an employee recognition scheme, you can be sure that the best hires are going to want to work for you.

Employees prefer things over cash

It may seem easier to throw bonuses at employees for good work, however cash doesn’t usually fix anything. In some cases, cash can actually be far more costly and not working the employees favour at all. By adding more cash to an employees paycheque, they could subsequently have to pay more tax and other charges, meaning their ‘reward’ is getting eaten into.

Cash is cold and impersonal, and while everyone would like more money, it’s actually far less effective at producing the results you want. Everyone also has their own opinion on ‘how much cash is worth’, so while you may think you are handing out generous bonuses, the employee may have the view that it’s not that big of a reward.

"Money satisfies, but it has very little impact on daily behaviour."

Don Rheem, author of "Thrive By Design: The Neuroscience That Drives High-Performance Cultures"

Instead, employees react far better to being given either physical things or experiences. It works in the same way as receiving gifts for a birthday – Cash is nice, but when someone gives you a present or has organised an experience for you, it feels as though they have put in more effort.

Anyone can shove some cash into a card, but for someone to buy you something or organise something for you, it shows commitment and thought.

Be sure not to read into this too much and go out and buy a load of chocolate in bulk, as once again the perception of the item can be different from the employer’s view and the employee’s view.

Another highly effective way of ensuring your employee rewards scheme works is to give the employee a choice and let them decide on what their reward is.

Staff reward schemes with choice

Giving employees the power and independence to choose their reward is essential. Without it, the choice of the reward once again comes down to the employer, which once again puts the perceived value away from the employee.

But how do you manage the overall cost of the rewards?

This is where points-based reward schemes come in. Every reward has a value assigned to it in the way of credits or points. The more expensive or desirable an item, the more points it requires.

That way you can be sure that after receiving a few points, employees aren’t simply exchanging them too easily for high-value goods.

Every item needs a value assigned otherwise the whole scheme becomes too easy. If employees are able to obtain high-value items for minimal reward, then they actually become less engaged as the whole scheme actually becomes too ‘easy’.

Points-based staff reward schemes

Much like at the arcade where the best prizes require the most tickets, staff reward schemes that require employees to exchange credits or coupons for prizes work incredibly well.

Rather than ‘doing something good = reward’, those that give credits can give the employee incentive to ‘save up’ for the larger prizes. This in turn perpetuates the engagement and the commitment to their work.

Since the employee is choosing the reward and they have placed their own value on that reward, the effort required to earn credits in order to be able to obtain that reward is far greater. In essence, the employee has created the desire to be more engaged by themselves by placing value on the item they are trying to obtain.

In affect, employees motivate themselves. A very simple connection is made between engagement and quality work = reward, which in turn gets them closer to an item or experience they want.

It’s a very simple behavioural technique but one that works immensely well.

And what happens once the employee has reached their goal and has enough credits to obtain that reward? The cycle starts all over. They see something else in the catalogue they want and they start saving once again.

Having a well stocked catalogue for everyone

It’s therefore incredibly important to have the right reward on offer that appeal to a wide range of people. This can be difficult, but there are platforms out there that offer thousands of rewards, from physical goods to experiences.

Not having the right rewards means the whole employee recognition scheme fails to work. The employees are gaining credits or points but there’s nothing that interests them enough to spend them.

They effectively have no reason to gain points as there is nothing that they want to exchange them for. In turn they have no reason to be motivated or engaged.

A diverse catalogue of rewards needs to appeal to everyone in your company. Since everyone is different, this means having an incredibly diverse list of prizes that the employee can browse at their leisure and find multiple items that appeal.

Some people may be drawn to desirable items such as electronics and luxury goods, while others may prefer days out and experiences. Having a wide mix of rewards, with varying levels of credit required, ensures your rewards scheme appeals to everyone and therefore gets everyone onboard.

Embrace social recognition

Getting the balance between personal, one-on-one recognition as well as company-wide recognition is highly important.

Personal recognition from a superior is an excellent way to reward an employee and they react well to this kind of praise. Personal recognition should always be a part of any reward scheme no matter what it is.

Yet at the same time, social recognition has two advantages. One is to praise the employee in public, which also has a positive affect much like personal recognition, but the other is to motivate other employees in the company.

If employees see other employees being rewarded, it in turn motivates them as well. Seeing an employee being rewarded publicly is the proof they need to show them that this scheme works and that they too could experience the same treatment.

Social recognition doesn’t have to be a big song and dance either, we’re not talking reward ceremonies. It can be as simple as digital recognition online via a message board, notification or chat.

Work Honors does it all

So where do you find an employee recognition platform that:

The answer – Work Honors!

We understand what makes a rewards platform work, which is why we’ve built one!

The ultimate platform that does absolutely everything you need it to in order to see incredible return, we’ve taken our own advice and created something that businesses love and employees love even more.

See how it works, get in contact with us today.

If it's time for change where you work, get in touch with us today. We're happy to answer any questions you may have and advise you on how you can make the best from the Work Honors platform. No pushy hard-sell, just a chat with one of our lovely team.

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