Employee Rewards Program Best Practices

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Best Practices for Building an Employee Rewards Program

An effective employee rewards program is more important than ever. In the ever-changing business world, the folks who determine your company’s success are your incredible employees. But it’s always a challenge to let them know how much the company recognizes and appreciates their efforts. Competitive pay and benefits are essential to attracting and keeping great people, but they aren’t the only way to create a more engaged and satisfied team.

That’s where a well-thought-out employee rewards program comes into play – it’s the secret ingredient that boosts your team’s motivation, performance, and loyalty. 

An employee rewards program that excites your employees can make a big difference to your bottom line. Employee recognition programs shouldn’t be overwhelming, but you do want to make sure your program is robust enough to inspire all of your employees. 

Our Employee Rewards Program Tips and Best Practices

We’ve created this list of employee rewards program best practices to help you create a plan that works! 

Identifying Shared Values and Goals

It all starts with understanding what drives your employees and what makes your organization tick. What makes them proud to be part of your company’s journey and encourages them to stay long-term? How does that align with your company culture and long-term goals? When these two pieces fit together, it’s like finding the missing piece of a puzzle. 

Conduct listening sessions with a diverse cross-section of your employees early in your program design to learn what rewards they want. Their responses may surprise you! For example, studies show millennials prefer spending on experiences over material things. Gen Z tends to favor positive feedback and public praise. Other generations also have preferences, but the bottom line is to prioritize listening to your employees. The more information you have, the easier it is to align the program with employee and company values. 

Leveraging Social Recognition

The Disney Legacy Award is an excellent example of a highly engaging recognition program built on publicly acknowledging employee success. Each year, employees cast votes for co-workers who deserve recognition. Being part of the selection process builds camaraderie, gives everyone a voice, and helps employees feel valued, even if they don’t receive an award. In true Disney style, they celebrate award recipients on the website, social media platforms, press releases, internal communication channels, and on a unique name tag the employee wears daily.

You don’t have to have a Disney-sized budget or HR team to create a successful peer-to-peer recognition program that leverages social recognition. Even on a smaller scale, being publicly recognized by your bosses and peers brings a sense of fulfillment and new motivation to perform better! Social recognition is a low-cost but high-impact reward and practically runs itself if you use recognition program management software. 

Recognizing What Really Matters

Sure, performance is essential, but there’s more to the story because the success of your business relies on more than numbers. Your workplace’s behaviors and attitudes can make or break your business. It’s important to reward people who contribute to the culture and energy of your company in ways that often go unrewarded. 

Innovation is an excellent example of an area to add to your employee recognition program. Rewarding those who dare to think outside the box, even if things don’t go perfectly the first time, will embolden your team to keep innovating. Do you have consistent, dependable employees who are always willing to lend a hand? Celebrate their dedication and watch others strive to be the next honoree.

Celebrating Teamwork 

In a world that often highlights individual accomplishments, don’t overlook the power of teamwork. Don’t leave out individual recognition altogether – Employees want that, too! Your goal is to find the perfect mix of individual and team recognition for your company. Finding that balance is vital to maximizing employee engagement. 

Celebrating moments when your employees work together to achieve something amazing will inspire future collaborations, whether it’s departments, remote teams, or satellite location-based teamwork–Reward the whole team, not just the leader or most visible employee. If your teams work in the same physical location, you can send them to a beautiful location for a deluxe dinner, buy a box for a local sporting event or concert, or buy all-access passes to a local attraction or festival. Remote workers can also gather for special events and activities, it will just involve a bit more planning and travel expenses on your end. 

Learning and Growing Together

For many employees (especially millennials), growth and learning opportunities matter just as much as recognition. Training your people is always a wise investment. But instead of giving it as a mandatory practice, you can repackage it as a reward reserved for the deserving few.

Top companies like Starbucks and OshKosh Corporation invest in their employee engagement through robust continuing education programs. OshKosh offers tuition reimbursement to deserving employees who want to pursue an MBA or earn another degree. Starbucks offers free college tuition to junior and senior employees who earn degrees through Arizona State University’s online programs.

Celebrating Every Step

Big employee rewards are great, but the small victories matter, too. Consider creating an ongoing points-based reward system. Employees earn points for hitting milestones you set, which they can trade for rewards they’ll enjoy. Each employee can set goals based on their skill level and receive rewards as they earn them. Keeping rewards in the reach of every employee, not just your high-performers, creates a more equitable workplace where people can thrive! 

Crafting an employee reward program with achievable reward levels helps you build a workplace where everyone feels valued. Employees who genuinely feel valued are highly engaged and more productive. Their excitement translates into your success. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

How to Craft the Right Employee Rewards Program for Your Team

By offering incentives, recognition, and tangible rewards for exceptional performance or milestones achieved, such programs not only inspire employees to excel but also enhance retention rates, attracting and retaining top talent. Ultimately, an Employee Rewards Program is a strategic investment that not only boosts individual and team performance but also contributes to the overall success and growth of the organization.

Ready to build a robust employee rewards program that incorporates these practices? Reach out to CoreCentive here for a free consultation so we can help you make it happen!