Seven Tips to Make Staff Incentives Stick

The foundation of any business is its employees. Without motivated employees that work toward measurable goals, chances are your business will stagnate, and fail to grow or make a difference in your industry.

In addition to having strong hiring and onboarding processes, upper management can help improve the current dismal engagement percentages through special recognition programs that help increase motivation and morale. Successful employee recognition programs allow everyone in the organization to participate in and have the opportunity to be appreciated.

Below are seven tips that will help keep your incentive programs successful now and in the future.

-Have clear objectives

When it comes to employee recognition it’s vital that the program has clear objectives and standards, and that they are properly explained to employees who are eligible for the recognition — which should be every employee.

Additionally, employees need to feel that reaching the goal is fair to everyone and that it doesn’t show bias towards certain employees and job positions. If the set goal favors certain employees over others, disengagement and other negative behaviors quickly spread, which defeats the whole purpose of creating a recognition program in the first place.

-Offer rewards employees actually want

Giving employees who do a great job an individual prize or promotional item is a great way to add extra incentive and keep everyone working hard. But the key is to give them something that they will actually use. Awardco uses innovative technology and partnerships (Amazon Business, Priceline Hotels, ticket events, company store and custom items) to help organizations build custom recognition programs. Furthermore, our programs — from service awards to spot recognition and social/peer to peer recognition — help lead the employee recognition industry into the 21st century.

In addition, not all recognition rewards have to be tangible or expensive. Sometimes the little things, like a handwritten note or a quick company shout-out, can go a long way in making an employee feel appreciated. As such, putting some thought into the award will help the recognized employee feel more appreciated than just giving them a notepad with the company logo on it.

-Don’t devalue recognition

For employee recognition to matter it can’t be undermined. For instance, a recognition program that is so frequent in reward (or rewards certain employees who are not deserving of it) opens the door for program manipulation at worst and employees taking it for granted at best.

By Thaninee Chuensomchit: Shutterstock

“Oh great. Bill wins the big sales prize. Again. I’ll just take my third set of steak knives and go home.”

And it’s a quick way to make recognition ineffective. That’s why it’s vital that employers revisit current recognition programs to make sure they are valuable to the employees. Anonymous surveys and one-on-one meetings are a great way to receive feedback on recognition programs.

-Always thank your employees

The employee/team that receives the recognition should be thanked personally by the individual overseeing them, and even by upper management in the company. Taking the easy way out by sending the winner an email or having a staff member drop their reward off at their desk is a surefire way to devalue your recognition program.

-Boost teamwork

In addition to having employee recognition for individuals, it can be a good idea to also give recognition to an entire team or department. This is not only a great way to boost morale but it can also create a better sense of belonging and bonding. And when these two factors are present, the better engagement and teamwork these departments will produce.

-Avoid bias

With recognition, it’s vital that the person or committee that decides who gets the recognition avoids all forms of bias in their decision. If employees begin to suspect bias it will greatly devalue the recognition/appreciation and lead to damaged employee relations in the workplace. A great way to avoid bias is to create concrete goals and objectives to adhere to. When those objectives are not being met, it’s time to reevaluate.

-Instill recognition in company culture

Recognizing an employee won’t have a lasting effect if everyone forgets in a few days or months. That’s why recognition programs should correlate with your established company culture. It will feel like a more genuine program when employees believe in it and remember to recognize and appreciate on their own. What can this look like? It can be as simple as having a small recognition program that recognizes two employees every week for their hard work and rewards them with gift certificates for lunch.

By Dean Drobot: Shutterstock

“Come on, universe!”

Creating recognition programs takes time and effort from both management and employees, but it isn’t impossible. When these recognition programs create value and relate to your company culture, the more success you’ll find.

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