What is the value of rewards to culture and motivation?
In a Reward Gateway global study the largest percentage of people (55%) said that the biggest factor in them feeling motivated was whether they felt appreciated. Motivation and productivity have a direct impact on business results, so investing in a solid recognition and rewards plan is just good business. Adding in a reward component to your recognition strategy will add variety that can elevate a recognition moment and ensure the appreciation is truly felt.
We already give out long-service rewards. Isn’t that enough?
While long-service awards can be a fun part of your recognition plan, they shouldn’t be the only plan. Each year, $46 billion is spent on long service awards but long service awards only reward tenure – meaning it's possible to reward a disengaged employee simply because they've worked at your organization for a long time.
The real goal is having an employee who will bring their best to work each day to help meet (and hopefully exceed) your business goals – which is why it's key to invest in recognition programs that help employees feel engaged, respected and motivated in the workplace more than once every five years.
What is the appropriate organizational budget for rewards?
Throughout your decision-making process, the number one question you’re probably asking yourself is “how much is this going to cost me?” But I suggest reframing that and asking yourself (and the business), “What impact will it have on our organization, and how much is that worth?” Putting the “why” before “how much” will help you build your business case later.
Don’t assume your budget needs to be spent all in the one way either. Variety is important to allow for continuous and multi-directions recognition. Say you’ve got about $100 to spend per person, per year (that’s a pretty decent budget). Instead of
spending it all on one type of recognition, let’s take a look at how you might spread that out across different types of awards.
Peer-to-peer eCards (no approval required): Unlimited
Peer-to-peer instant awards (no approval required): $15- $25
Manager awards (nomination and approval required): $50
Monthly or quarterly awards (nomination and approval required): $75- $100
Annual awards (the cherry on top for a small group of employees): $150-$250
If you have concerns that your reward strategy will exceed your budget, talk with your Client Success Manager on ways you can cap rewards or manage individual manager reward budgets to prevent surprises.
Who should have the ability to give out rewards?
This answer is different at different companies and can change over time. If your front-line managers are already thoughtful and consistent about giving out non monetary recognition, then the closer the reward budgets can be to the front-lines, the more likely that great work will be seen and be rewarded. In fact, each employee at Reward Gateway has a budget (12 rewards a year) that they can use to reward their colleagues.
If you think rewards are something you’d like to include in your recognition strategy, but you aren’t sure how the organization will react, here is how one of our clients handled that situation. First, they started with a focus on “recognizing with words” (as they called it). After a few months of reinforcing the need for recognition, the company gave reward budgets to middle managers. While the CEO was concerned the budgets would be empty in no time, they found managers were very thoughtful about providing rewards and needed encouragement to spend what they had! This opened the gate for front-line managers to also get reward budgets. Over the course of 6 months the organization grew into their full Recognition and Reward plan. Not sure what your organization might be ready for? Connect with your Client Success Manager to discuss your options.
What do I need to know to ensure rewards make the biggest impact?
- Provide rewards that are valuable to your team. For example, if you provide coffee cards to a shop that isn’t convenient to your team it can take away from the prize. If all you ever give out are coffee cards, what about the people that don’t drink it?
- Provide a specific reason for the reward. As with any strategic recognition, it's important to tie the reward back to the actions the person did and the value/impact it supported. If you give out rewards without giving reasons, it may miss the mark. For example, if managers give each person on the team a reward on a quarterly basis without telling the person what they did to deserve the reward, it may be taken for granted and you miss the opportunity to reinforce the actions that lead to success.
- Track usage to ensure even distribution. Regardless of the size of the reward, if some groups are more likely to get them - regardless of the quality of performance - a feeling of unfairness may outweigh the appreciation. It doesn’t need to be perfectly even, but keeping track reveals groups or individuals that may need additional focus and ensures consistency across the organization.
What is the role of technology to ensure effective rewards?
- Save time with the administration of rewards
- Track budget and usage to illustrate the progress of your program over time
- Provide visibility to where on the front-lines the rewards are or aren’t going
- Allow for customized, easy-to-redeem rewards