Many corporate leaders say that their employees are their most valuable asset.
Unfortunately, stats say that these are just empty words, as many managers fail to appreciate their employees’ efforts and acknowledge them. As a result, their once engaged employees turn into disenchanted slackers.
To be more precise, 85% of employees are not engaged at work. Who could blame them given that their level of job satisfaction has been steadily dropping over the past decade?
Contrary to popular belief that it’s all about money, the truth is that only 12% of employees who actually leave their jobs are motivated by finances.
There’s something more important than cold, hard cash, and that’s the sense of being valued and appreciated. Establishing an effective reward system in your company will help you keep your employees happy and motivated.
Here are some ideas that you can use if you’re not sure how to put your money where your mouth is.
Reward System 101
Before you start sketching your reward system, it’s essential to identify your company’s goals – giving sales a boost, improving customer satisfaction, or increasing productivity. That will give you a sense of direction as to what kind of employee behaviour you want to stimulate.
For example, instead of expecting your employees to work overtime and expand their work hours, it’s much better to promote a work-less-achieve-more approach. Another factor that you should take into consideration is focusing on employees’ social needs. This means that you should establish and maintain a positive and pleasant work environment, as well as encourage your employees to build good relationships with their co-workers. But more on that later.
Talk to Your Employees
If you aren’t sure what the most suitable reward for your employees would be, there’s no need to take a guess. Just talk to your employees and they will tell you what makes them tick. However, you need to be careful about this because if you don’t somehow guide their responses and limit the number of options, you’ll find yourself in a situation that you can’t fulfil their demands.
Surveys with multiple-choice questions are the most effective tools for getting structured and useful feedback. Creating a fair and transparent reward system is of great importance as otherwise you risk falling into the trap of favouritism and being perceived as biased. This will create a toxic work atmosphere and make your employees bitter, frustrated, and unproductive. To avoid this worst-case scenario, you should:
- Make sure that your employees understand what kinds of achievements and behaviours are desirable and rewarded;
- Ensure that your employees are rewarded in a timely manner;
- Promote equal opportunities for all employees in order to prevent some of them from having an unfair advantage.
What’s the best way to reward your employees? It’s true that the money makes the world go ‘round, but there are other highly desirable perks that people who work for you would appreciate. Moreover, cash isn’t a powerful motivator as 78% of employees aren’t willing to put in more effort into their work, even for a 10% increase in salary.
This is a win-win situation because you can motivate your employees without breaking the bank. Your reward system needs personalization to fit the needs and desires of various individuals who work for you. There are many creative incentives which can make your employees happy and turn you into everybody’s favourite boss.
Here are a couple of ideas to help you get the ball rolling.
- Telecommuting and flexitime. These two options are one of the most favourite non-monetary rewards. Let your employees work from their homes whenever that’s possible, as that will allow them to spend more time with their families which can significantly improve their levels of satisfaction. If you aren’t sure how this concept would work in your company, you can test it by allowing your employee of the month to work from home for a couple of hours once a week. If you are wondering about the productivity part of this arrangement, then you should know that according to a study, remote workers experienced a 13% increase in their performance.
- Teambuilding activities. As we have already mentioned, a happy workplace is instrumental in boosting the productivity of your employees. By hosting fun teambuilding activities, you’ll bring people closer and they will have a chance to spend some quality time with their co-workers away from the always hectic office, which will additionally strengthen their relationship and build trust. Sometimes you can simply organize a scavenger hunt around the city, play some mini golf, have a cook-off, or treat your team to a board game tournament. Or you can go the extra mile and take your team to a day trip and spend some time hiking, playing mini golf, or sightseeing. If your schedule is busy, then a brainstorming session at a local spa or coffee shop can be a good idea.
- Offer subscriptions. Who doesn’t like to make some popcorn and enjoy a relaxing Netflix show? Your employees would surely appreciate if you’d surprise them with subscriptions for some cool streaming services, gym, or even subscription boxes (socks, pie of the month, or beauty products). Cinema, concert, and sports events tickets are all-time favourites, so make sure to list these as your regular incentives.
- Hand-written notes. Sometimes the simplest gestures make a big impact. By taking the time to compose a heartfelt note in which you’ll express your gratitude to a hard-working employee, you’re adding a personal touch to your business relationship. It’s even more effective if you publicly praise them for the achievement in a company meeting.
- Free food. There’s no such thing as free lunch, but you can offer your employees free snacks, drinks, coffee, and fruit. It won’t cost you much, and you’ll show that you care about your employees and their well-being and satisfaction.
- Company freebies. Everybody loves cool, branded swag, and your employees will most certainly be happy to receive mugs, T-shirts, bags, or caps with the logo of your company. Besides being great incentives, these items will turn your employees into brand ambassadors and walking billboards for the promotion of your company.
Designing an effective reward system takes time and resources, but its benefits in terms of improving the productivity of your employees and the subsequent growth of your company are tremendous.