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Why Employee Rewards Programs Are Key for a Positive Workplace Culture

  • author

    Hannah Prince

  • posted

    Apr 20, 2022

  • topic

    Employee Rewards

Why Employee Rewards Programs Are Key for a Positive Workplace Culture

Improving workplace culture has never been more important, not only to boost productivity and profitability, but also to retain employees. Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the phenomenon of the “great resignation.” According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, an average of nearly 4 million workers quit their jobs each month in 2021, compared with 1.75 million in 2019. So what kind of employee rewards programs and culture improvements can companies make to keep their teams happy?

Employee Satisfaction and Priorities Have Shifted

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way people work and what they expect from their employers. They are no longer solely focused on in-office perks or even financial compensation. Employees want to enjoy a good work experience, too, including better work/life balance and flexibility for remote work. In Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends survey, respondents said organizational culture was the biggest influence (cited by 43%) on companies’ ability to create a sense of belonging for their employees.

However, fewer employees seem to be happy with the workplace cultures they have. In 2021, 54% said their overall employee experience was negative, compared with 44% in 2020 before the pandemic, according to Alight’s Employee Wellbeing Mindset Study.

The Role of Employee Recognition in Team Morale

Research has shown that employees consistently give a lot of value to being recognized by their leaders. A SuveyMonkey poll found that 82% of respondents consider recognition to be important to their happiness at work. But the pandemic has affected that as well. About half of U.S. employees say that being recognized and thanked by their employer has become more important since the pandemic started, according to Blackhawk Network research.

But again, research shows that people don’t think their employers are doing enough. A study by BambooHR and Quantum Workplace showed that 53% of respondents want to get more recognition from their immediate supervisor. These studies underscore the necessity for companies to focus on their employee rewards programs.

How to Create Thoughtful Employee Rewards Programs

The key to building employee rewards programs that have a positive impact on morale, productivity, retention, and success is to make sure your appreciation is genuine. BambooHR and Quantum Workplace’s research found that only 56% of employees get “thoughtful recognition” from their manager. That means you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach.

Here are a few things to take into consideration to make your employee rewards programs more thoughtful:

  • Public vs. private. Whether employees prefer to be recognized publicly or privately can vary depending on the individual. Managers should make this part of their conversations with their team members, so they know which is more meaningful for each person.
  • A personalized message. Obviously a canned “thanks for your hard work” message doesn’t come across as very thoughtful. Make sure you call out specific achievements or appreciated actions.
  • A reward they’ll actually love. Assuming that every person would appreciate the same kind of gift card is another approach that will make your employee rewards programs less thoughtful. For instance, your standard Starbucks reward won’t mean much to the team member who doesn’t like coffee. An Omaha Steaks gift card is pretty useless to the vegetarian. And a more general Visa or Mastercard prepaid card might come off as impersonal. If you know enough about each team member, choose a reward to show that — a PetSmart gift card for the one with three dogs, a Home Depot reward for the employee currently renovating their house. In the case you manage a large team or don’t have that kind of personal insight, your best option is to let your recipient choose the gift card they want.

Countless Uses for Employee Rewards

Now that you know the importance of recognizing your team members and building thoughtful employee rewards programs, you need to decide where they can be best implemented. Of course, there are obvious applications, such as rewarding high performers or those who hit their quotas. But that’s not all that employee rewards programs are good for. Consider incentivizing employees to be healthy, get the COVID-19 vaccine, or take training classes. The possibilities to improve morale and retention are endless.

Learn about all the ways you can use Rybbon to boost your employee rewards programs today!

about the author
Hannah Prince

Hannah is a reformed journalist who has more than 15 years of experience and now focuses on content marketing for innovative tech companies.

Hannah is a reformed journalist who has more than 15 years of experience and now focuses on content marketing for innovative tech companies.

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