15 October 2015

10 Tips for an effective rewards and recognition strategy

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There is no doubt about it: rewards and recognition programmes are instrumental in driving engagement, increasing employee retention and has a positive impact on company culture and productivity. Now that’s just fine and dandy, but you can’t just throw random incentives at your staff, expect them to be over the moon with excitement and see your company’s productivity soar. Sorry to break this to you, but it isn’t that easy.
To help you implement an effective rewards and recognition strategy, follow these 10 tried-and-true tips offered by Incentive. 

1.       Plan with a solid strategy. Define metrics that align with the company’s mission. If employees are made aware of the company’s aspiration and how their work has a direct impact on where the company is heading, they will see that they are all in this together and that their role can have a major impact. 

2.       Communicate clearly and often. So you got your team all excited about the new recognition programme, that’s great, but your work is only starting. You have to continuously remind employees of the rewards and benefits so it stays front of mind and employees see how their work fits in the company’s general mission. Also, make sure you communicate the rules clearly. There’s nothing worse than thinking that you’re on the right track when really you aren’t.

3.       Deliver on-the-spot rewards. Who cares about rewards when you’re being recognised for something you did six months ago? Make sure recognition is timely, otherwise your programme might have an adverse effect and employees will just get annoyed.

4.       Entice with relevant rewards. Make things personal and unique. For example, younger generations that are more recent to the workforce won’t have the same tastes or interests to your baby-boomer employees. Also, offering a bottle of wine to a recovering alcoholic might not be a smart move.

5.       Develop a fair and justified rules structure. Let’s come back to those rules. Now that you’ve made them clear, make sure that they are fair. Rules should be understandable, goals should be achievable and everyone should have a fair chance. For example, if there is only one person that can reach the goal due to the essence of their tasks, you’ll probably have difficulty in getting your employees motivated in the first place.

6.       Manage programme efforts within a single platform. Upper-management might not be aware of rewards and incentives offered by middle management and different business units. Make sure that you combine all incentives under a single platform to offer a consistent and seamless strategy across your entire organisation.   

7.       Ensure upper-management buy-in. This sort of speaks for itself. You won’t go very far if company leadership doesn’t see the relevance in your rewards and recognition programme.

8.       Use technology to boost employee engagement. The opportunity to share achievement with friends and colleagues and even set up a little healthy competition is something that you will want to offer employees.  Organise something on your intranet and use social media to boost engagement and productivity.

9.       Seek continuous feedback. Constantly touch base with employees to answer any questions they may have about your programme and gather feedback to make future improvements. 

10.   Develop measurable results. You won’t know whether your programme is having a positive impact on engagement and productivity unless you can measure and analyse results. Determine the right metrics to evaluate your strategy’s success and measure throughout the time it is in place, this way you might be able to make some corrections to have a stronger impact.

Follow these tips to for an effective strategy, but also remember that intrinsic rewards are becoming more valued than extrinsic rewards. So before throwing money and gifts at employees, take a long, hard look at your organisation and ask yourself if you’re offering what they want and need more than anything: gratifying work, a balanced lifestyle and a positive working culture.
Although Alexandra didn’t know much about conference production before first coming across this opportunity with Akolade, she has quickly become passionate about her job. Gaining in-depth knowledge in a variety of new fields without going through exam stress? Who could ask for more? If ever you speak to Alexandra and wonder what that funny accent is, it is from Quebec, French-speaking Canada. Do not hesitate to ask Alexandra about her former life on the 47th parallel; she will be thrilled to talk to you about snow storms, skiing and -35⁰c!

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