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When It Comes to Employee Rewards and Recognition, Value Rules

Cindy Mielke | October 19, 2016

Everyone likes to be recognized for their work, but not everyone wants to be rewarded in the same way. It’s an easy concept to grasp, yet it’s also one of the trickiest hurdles companies must overcome in implementing an employee rewards and recognition program. And often, even though you’re trying to do the right thing, to employees it can feel stale, impersonal and insincere – or even political. But with careful planning and execution, a customizable solution can address these challenges and others. Here are a few ways to add variety – and value – to your employee rewards and recognition program.

Keep it open. Research shows that employees often place more value on recognition from their peers versus their manager. Consider a program that lets you keep your options open and allows for participation at every level – peer to peer, manager to employee, employee to manager as well as recognition for colleagues outside of the department. This process ensures that the goodwill gets spread far beyond the individual receiving the recognition.

Keep it interesting. Cash might be any easy reward to pass along, but it can also be, well, boring. Thinking creatively can help draw more attention to your program and get people excited about it. For example, gift cards are more personal and more exciting than cash. In fact, in a survey by Incentive Magazine, 37 percent of executives and HR decision makers said they found gift cards more effective than cash. For more insights into the value of thinking beyond cash, see our whitepaper: The Shift Away from Cash as a Workplace Incentive.

Keep spreading the good news. Sharing an employee success story allows the individual to receive even more positive recognition for their efforts, multiplying the value of the reward. It’s also a meaningful way to inform other employees about best practices while reinforcing your company’s values. An effective rewards and recognition program should offer streamlined communication methods to help you spread those “good news” stories far and wide as well as promote program offerings and campaigns.

Keep it personalized. Consider what your employees actually want for rewards. What do they value? Think about the age ranges of those you’re rewarding or even do a favorite things survey. The act of recognition is important, of course, but you don’t want the reward to be a disappointment. Implement a program that centers around truly inspirational incentives or one that lets employees choose their own reward. Go a step further by actually personalizing the reward itself. (That’s something you can do with our GC GiftPass.) The most effective recognition is sincere, and personalization is one way to show that.

Keep it easy. From the nomination process to reward redemption, it’s gotta be simple. Someone who may have jumped through hoops to do a great job isn’t going to want to feel like they have to jump through more to get their reward. And that goes for administration, too: If the program is tough to use and track, no one will do either.

With some forethought and planning, you can implement a rewards program that’s truly valuable – and effective.