Employee Rewards: How to Say Thank You to Your Greatest Assets

Finding the right employee reward and recognition program(s) can be a challenge if it is not done thoughtfully and correctly communicated. Many decision makers don’t set up such programs because they believe that they cannot afford such a new program at this time.  It isn’t about the cost of the program, but the return on your investment that should be the key.  If you created a reward and recognition program for your company and suddenly your productivity doubled, wouldn’t that be a good investment?

Monetary – Yes or No?

The best reward programs do not have to be monetary in nature.  A large majority of organizations have reward programs in place that are not monetary in nature.  Understanding what would motivate your staff is all important.  What may motivate one employee does not necessarily motivate another.

Types of Monetary Rewards

­ There are areas to look at that would directly affect employees in their current positions:

  • Employees are motivated to grow within an organization. As an employee takes on additional responsibility and is successful at it, consider a title that makes sense for their current duties.
  • Give an employee some additional responsibilities to show them that their hard work is recognized and appreciated. Sit with them to discuss what areas they would like to grow into, or what they would like to learn about and then find opportunities within the organization to meet these needs.
  • Offer employees the opportunity to explore classes or seminars that help them either with a professional or personal development goal. Employees are always willing to learn new skills to keep them current and being able to impact the organization.  These could also be a “Lunch and Learn” seminar put on by experts within your own organization.

Rewards that Involve Money

Money is always a motivator for employees, but giving the right amount of money the right way is the trick.  You can always set up a bonus program that provides an amount of money to employees for a job well done when the company has a profitable year.  Just be sure that the amount is able to be defended and understand what will actually motivate an employee.  Giving too little can also de-motivate your employees.  This type of program requires a lot of time to build and communicate to get the best results.

A Strategic Approach – Motivating the Employees

Designing the right rewards program to motivate and engage your employees is all important.  Reviewing programs that are currently in place to make sure they are getting the intended result is important.  When creating a new program, make sure that you will get the expected result by asking employees what would motivate them.  Using an employee survey could help in this area.

You also want to look at areas that would directly affect employees in their current positions.  Additionally, use programs that would be effective in hiring and retaining good talent as well as being competitive with your competition.  Here are some thoughts on these types of programs:

  • Employees are motivated to grow within an organization. As an employee takes on additional responsibility and is successful at it, consider a title that makes sense for their current duties.
  • Give an employee some additional responsibilities to show them that their hard work is recognized and appreciated. Sit with them to discuss what areas they would like to grow into, or what they would like to learn about and then find opportunities within the organization to meet these needs.
  • Offer employees the opportunity to explore classes or seminars that help them either with a professional or personal development goal. Employees are always willing to learn new skills to keep them current and being able to impact the organization.  These could also be a “Lunch and Learn” seminar put on by experts within your own organization.

Fun Programs to Implement – Out of the Box Thinking

There are some fun programs that can help with the morale within your organization that would recognize people in different and interesting ways.  Here is a sample of those types of programs:

  • Provide flexible hours of work within a set of core hours.
  • Create “Above and Beyond” notes that peers can give to others for doing something special.
  • Set up a monthly birthday cake and list the names of the employees who are celebrating a birthday that month on a poster above the cake. Everyone gets to wish the person a happy birthday and gets a piece of cake too.
  • Provide the employees with a “shopping day” around the holidays.
  • Provide a primo parking space to the “employee of the week”.
  • Take some employees on a tour of your vendors so they understand who they work with and how the product directly impacts their work.
  • Have a massage therapist come to the office at lunch time once a week to give massages. Employees can choose to pay for the massage or not. You may pay for one half.

Above all else, what one thing would make a difference?

There is only one thing that definitely will maintain a positive work force within your company.  A sincere thank you in some way, shape or form for a job well done is the best way to reward an individual.  Not recognizing someone who has worked very hard on a special project; or gone out of their way to help someone else; or always has a great customer service attitude can lead to a disappointed employee and one that will probably leave the organization.  Remember, employees join organizations, but they leave bosses who don’t recognize and reward them.

Want to learn more?

At KardasLarson, we consult with companies every day on how to effectively compensate and reward their employees. We would love to help you develop, design and deliver a reward and recognition program that will provide you with a way to motivate, engage, and retain your employees. We invite you to watch the video below to learn more about this topic.

Carol Kardas
With 25+ years of generalist HR experience, Carol’s focus includes compensation, training, and employee relations. She has advanced HR certifications: SPHR, CCP, SHRM-SCP.

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