When was the last time your employer made a really good impression on you? And I mean really good?
What was the last job you had that you felt good at? Valued? Recognised?
If you’re struggling to recognise a time, you’re not alone.
What about as an employer? When was the last time you treated your employees? Recognised their hard work? And rewarded it?
35% of employees in a post-COVID-19 study cited recognition as their number one ask for employers. The same study found that one in three employees hadn’t received recognition in the past six months.
Think about everything your employees have done to keep your business alive. They make sure the work gets done, products are made, services are sold, and goals are met.
What I’m talking about is a lot more than putting some money behind the bar at the Christmas do or taking them all out for a meal (although both of those are great options).
There needs to be a constant appreciation, recognition, and reward for their hard work.
This is not just being a good person, but this is being a good businessperson.
Why should I have an employee reward scheme or a perk box?
According to a study by Globoforce and SHRM, 90% of employees believe their recognition program has a positive influence on their engagement and motivation levels. A different study says that 52% of employees believe that recognising employees can increase engagement.
As PerkBox states: “A salary is what gets people to show up and complete the bare minimum of their workload. But what pushes them to work through roadblocks, to keep going during stressful periods, and to aim higher for themselves and your business? That’s the importance of employee benefits and rewards.”
Having a dedicated rewards system in place, with recognition, benefits, and more provides a wealth of benefits beyond just keeping people happy (if that wasn’t a good enough reward in itself).
- It Improves Company Culture
- It Fosters Healthy Competition & Increased Productivity
- It Instils better manager-employee Relationships
- It Increases employee retention
- It Improves your employer brand
These are just to name a few, but you get the picture.
It could be something as simple as putting a great welcome pack on the desk of your new starter all the way through to robust systems of rewards and treats to your employees for all their hard work.
Better Company Culture
Every company has a culture. It’s part of what makes your business. It’s the blend of its goals, vision, and ideologies for attaining the greater good.
By implementing a rewards and recognition system you are showing that your company culture does care, does want to show its appreciation, and most importantly that they aren’t just a number or a drone.
If you have ever worked in a company with a terrible and toxic culture, you know how horrendous it can be. And no amount of salary can ever make up for that or justify it.
This is a nice side effect of a recognition program. If you are showing appreciation to those going above and beyond, and if your company culture fosters healthy competition (i.e., no backstabbing) then this means people work harder.
By putting this kind of system in place you’re assuring your employees that their hard work and efforts will not be ignored.
That kind of healthy competition will provide increased effort, dedication, productivity, and potentially output from all. Imagine what that could do to your business?
Better Manager-Employee Relationships
One of the most common reasons people leave a job is because they hate their boss. They never got on with their manager because their manager didn’t respect them or recognise their work.
Employee rewards and recognition program gives managers a way to connect.
Couple this with an emphasis on clear communication and you’ve got the makings of some very productive relationships that will benefit your business immensely.
Do you really want to have to go through the recruitment mill again? Especially in today’s climate where there are more job vacancies than ever before but with very few of them being filled.
And when you factor in the cost of hiring a new employee can be up to 2.5 more expensive than the salary of the position itself, it’s better and easier to keep the employees you already have.
Like what we’ve said before about culture and managers, an employee rewards policy helps keep hold of staff. That’s why you are constantly seeing a whole host of job perks on job adverts nowadays.
If you have made your employees feel valued, from top to bottom, providing them with a good salary and great perks and treats, why would they leave?
It ain’t rocket science. It’s just good business sense.
Speaking of recruiting, if you do have to find someone then having perks and recognition, a great culture, fantastic employee-manager relations and a happy team makes you a very attractive employer.
Even with all of the benefits, we have just been talking about not a lot of companies are deploying this kind of system properly. Even then they’re typically only very large firms.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE!
Employee rewards and recognition program helps in building a powerful brand image. It promotes good relationships and helps develop an enthusiastic atmosphere at work.
With 5.5 million small businesses making up 99.9% of the business population in the UK your small business can really, really, benefit from getting on board.
When employees feel appreciated in the workplace, they become active advocates and supporters of the company and products. So, the cycle continues. They advertise your wonderful culture; you get more people and happier people driving better results and they shout out about you.
You get the picture.
What Kind of Benefits Should I Offer?
These kinds of employee benefits can be put into two major categories:
- Policies & Perks
A flexible working policy, giving people the option to work from home or dictate their times better so that they can pick up the kids, has been around for ages.
Guess what. It works! It’s now one of the top perks that people look for in a new company.
There are tons of things you can offer.
SmallBusinessPrices created an incredible infographic looking at some of the top options and perks that can benefit your business and employees.
But what about gifts?
Being able to provide gift boxes to staff that go above and beyond are all part and parcel (pun intended) of the recognition system.
We mentioned before about new starter packs. If you have a look on social media sometimes you will see employees greeted with a box of branded goodies that will help them in their day to day, or just as nice little treats to get them started.
Things such as notepads, pens, mugs, travel mugs, speakers, headphones, USB sticks and more can all be included in the box, and they help set the tone for what the new person can expect.
Likewise, you could also do anniversary boxes with one major gift and smaller gifts to be included for X years’ service.
These are just small tokens of appreciation that can go a long way, and when paired with concrete policies and programmes, create a place people are going to want to work in.
Foolproof? By absolutely no means is it foolproof, but these can go a long way to providing a great atmosphere and working culture.
When should rewards be given to employees?
This is what it all comes down to. You’ve seen the benefits, you understand how it can make your employees more productive and happier, you’re on board.
When do you hand out the gifts or perks?
This is down to you, but our advice is simple, put certain benchmarks in place that recognise both effort and results.
Did someone spot a mistake and rectify it saving you money? That’s a good time to reward them.
Did someone make an absolute killing in sales? That’s a good time to give a gift.
Has someone gone over and above what they normally do, and whilst it hasn’t brought money in or saved money, that effort needs to be recognised? Then provide a perk.
Now obviously gifting has a lot more cause and effect style of implementation, but policies and perks can work on a fundamental level.
Got a 6-month probation period? As soon as someone passes that period then the unlimited holiday perk kicks in.
These are just examples, but it highlights the point perfectly. Some perks and policies should be embedded across everybody, and some should be for cause and effect.
This should also stretch beyond individuals. Group achievements, collaboration, cross-communication, and achieving targets are worth celebrating together!
One thing we haven’t mentioned yet, but it is important to be explicit about why the reward is being given.
Making the recognition and reward public helps to set expectations in other employees about what level they need to reach to earn rewards.
How is a recognition program different to saying “good job”?
Your recognition program should include a definition of what constitutes and deserves recognition.
For example, a team member quickly fixing a mistake is definitely deserving of a “thank you” and a “good job”, however, a team member that spots a mistake and then documents a process on how to avoid making that mistake again in the future and educates their team members on it deserves a more formal recognition.
Subtle difference? Maybe. But by defining it everyone is on the same page about what needs to be done to achieve what they need.
What makes a ‘good’ reward?
If you were to receive the same gift on your birthday every year, you’d be sick of it pretty quickly. You might even start to anticipate it, make jokes about it, and eventually, you actively dislike it. Employee rewards are the same.
For an employee, reward to be effective, or ‘good’, there’s a few boxes they need to tick;
- The size of the reward needs to match the size of the achievement
- The reward itself needs to be seen as desirable by the employee receiving it (AKA personalised)
- The reward needs to be delivered on time – no belated birthday cards!
The size of a reward can be varied and does not always have to have a budget attached to it. Starting small, it could be buying a coffee for the employee.
Larger rewards can be gift cards to retailers that are relevant to the employee’s current life. Are they into golf? Then a new golf club or a voucher for membership could be great. They a big cinema buff? Then movie vouchers or a “big night in” kit could be great.
There are also non-monetary rewards. These can be far more meaningful than any other type of reward but can be difficult to think of. The exact reward really depends on what your business can offer, but some great starting points are;
- One-on-one mentoring sessions with an expert
- A sleep-in, early leave, or extra paid days off
- Unlimited holiday
- The ability to choose or influence the next team event
- A priority parking space
- And many more
Speak to them about implementing something they would like to see the business embrace, for example supporting a charity or what would help them to balance work and home lives.
Reward and recognition are a proven motivator
When all is said and done employee rewards and recognition program encourages profits, productivity and generate new ideas. When your employees look forward to coming to work, they work harder and invest more time to help your company reach its aims and targets.
Companies that give importance to employee recognition programs tend to have higher engagement levels and better financial results than those that do not. Reportedly, 63% of recognised employees are highly unlikely to leave their jobs.