Employee Reward Programs: The Basics
There are many strategies for rewarding employees, and they all do tend to accomplish the same thing. Employees who are recognized for their contributions are encouraged to keep performing at that level. And for those employees who are only average, incentives can and do motivate them to improve. Here are some of the basic requirements for a well-received Employee Reward Program.
Maintain the Program
The most important element in employee reward programs is to follow through. If you’re going to take the time to implement a program, then the very least you can do is maintain that program. There is nothing more disheartening to an employee than to have strived toward a reward that suddenly no longer exists. Once you start an employee reward program, maintain that program.
Make the Rules Easy
Make any guidelines for achieving a reward very clear. For example, if you’d like to give out a $100 gift certificate to your ‘Employee of the Month’ each and every month, then you’d better define what Employee of the Month actually means. If the reward goes to the person with the highest customer satisfaction score, let all your employees know this from the outset of the program.
At the same time, your employees need to know what actions will disqualify them from the program. Perhaps chronic lateness, maybe being late three days out of the month, will serve to disqualify an employee from the running that month. That’s fair enough, as long as your employees know that ahead of time. In addition to being fair to the employees, being specific regarding qualifications lets everyone know what they should strive for. Perhaps the employee who is late once a week will make an effort to be on time, knowing that a reward might hang in the balance.
Offer Valued Rewards
There are many choices regarding what you can offer as a reward. Monthly rewards work best, most of the time. It’s a reasonable amount of time in which to earn a reward, and it gives everyone a chance. The specific reward program will vary based on your company profile and your budget. It’s important to ask your employees for input about what they consider a valuable reward for the effort. Some possible suggestions include:
Printing up several blank form letters designed to congratulate employees. These can be very simple, with spaces for the date and the employee name. Give a stack to each supervisor or manager. When an employee goes above and beyond, they receive a letter. Photocopy this letter for your own files, and the employee who collects the most letters in a given month wins.
Having tokens custom made for your company, perhaps resembling poker chips. These tokens can be rewarded based on whatever scale you decide, and then employees can trade them in for various rewards. In order for this to work, you must come up with a list of rewards prior to launching this program.
Team Rewards are an Option
If your organization has several locations or departments, you can consider group or team rewards. Groups like to win, and competition can bring out the best in your employees. A group lunch is a good reward for the winner of these competitions, but feel free to get more creative. Perhaps ask for input from the employees. They might have some good ideas for valuable rewards.
These are only a few ideas for how you can reward your employees. Get creative, and remember that the cost of these programs is usually minimal, and is well worth the effort. Everyone likes to be recognized, and employee reward programs are a wonderful way to boost production.