Creating a Successful Employee Reward Program: 6 Key Strategies to Consider

Today’s workforce is more diversified than ever. And companies looking to leverage this rich and vast resource of multi-generational, multi-cultural and multi-lingual employees for competitive edge are finding employee reward programs very effective for upping employee satisfaction, spurring motivation and increasing productivity. Small businesses have the advantage of creating the employee rewards program they’d like to see implemented throughout the growth of the company.

The main challenge for companies in implementing a successful employee reward program is making sure the program is aligned with key business goals and objectives. To that end, here are six key strategies to consider for creating an employee reward program that works.

Begin with the end in mind: Corporate success comes from meeting specific goals, and those goals need to be made clear before implementing an employee reward program. After all, the achievement of corporate goals is dependent upon employee performance. And since employee performance is the product of actions and behaviors, both good and bad, it’s critical to reward employees in ways that reinforce only those actions and behaviors that align with corporate objectives and increase performance.

  • Make all employees eligible: In order to be successful, an employee rewards program must make all employees eligible for recognition. And that must be made abundantly clear to the entire workforce at the outset. Otherwise, at the first sign of favoritism, real or imagined, the program and those who implement it will suffer a damaging loss of credibility as employee morale takes a nose-dive. Without establishing and maintaining a level playing field for all employees even the best reward program will fail.
  • Make the program multigenerational and multicultural: No employee recognition program can be successful unless the rewards being offered are relevant and meaningful for all employees, regardless of age or culture. While taking generational and cultural differences among the workforce into account is no small feat for HR, the benefits are well worth the effort. A simple and direct way to gain a better understanding of what types of rewards might be preferred by employees of different generations and cultures is to ask them in an anonymous survey what culture they most closely relate to and what types of rewards motivate them most.
  • Give personalized rewards: While giving a reward that best matches the employee’s age and cultural background is critical, making that reward personal to them by including a note of thanks from upper management will go a long way in making the employee feel truly valued and appreciated. Long after the money is spent or the luster of the gift is gone, the power of a personal note or letter of recognition will continue to reinforce and reproduce positive employee behaviors.
  • Leverage technology: In order to be successful, employee reward programs must be effectively and efficiently communicated and promoted in order to maximize employee participation. In today’s tech connected world there are all kinds of ways to promote programs and educate employees using the communications platforms that they are most familiar with. Web based platforms, email, and social media are just a few tools that can be used to give extra depth and relevance to reward programs. And many companies are discovering the power of recognizing employees through social media platforms and delivering their rewards digitally.
  • Monitor effectiveness: Employee reward programs can go a long way in creating a positive corporate culture. That being said, it is still incumbent upon HR to show that the program is achieving the strategic objectives of the company, such as increased performance, productivity and ROI. Today’s sophisticated HR platforms allow businesses to accurately monitor and measure ROI as well as other key indicators of employee performance. Armed with this information, management has a better picture of how well the reward program is working as well as areas that can be improved upon to increase employee motivation and performance.

 The above six strategies will go far in helping an organization implement a successful employee reward program. To make any program more effective, it’s critical that employees understand that the reward is performance-based. It’s also important for management to present the reward sooner than later, as delaying a reward can dramatically reduce its effectiveness.

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Overwhelmed in the Workplace! 5 Reasons for Employee Burnout

In today’s competitive business world, employee burnout is a growing occupational hazard. Characterized as exhaustion accompanied by a loss of interest in work-related activities, burnout is said to be primarily stress-related. While there are a number of factors that can contribute to burnout in the workplace, certain stressors have been identified that employers seeking to mitigate employee turnover should be aware of. The following is a short list of the five main reasons employees experience burnout.

Unrealistic Expectations and Employee Burnout

To stay competitive, companies often cut back on personnel and resources while expecting the same or better results. The result is that employees are faced with unrealistic expectations by management as to what they should be able to accomplish. This can lead to a stressful work environment where employees are unclear as to how to proceed and constantly worry that they do not have the time or resources needed to properly complete the task. Try as they may they will never feel successful in meeting management’s impossible expectations, putting them at higher risk of burnout. Managers need to be sure that employee work requirements are both realistic and that the means of achieving desired objectives are clearly understood.

Lack of Sufficient “Down Times”

Today, many employees are subject to high-stress “crunch times” that require them to put in long hours in order to handle more intense workloads. As long as these intense work periods are followed by adequate down times, employees can generally handle them. But when every day feels like “crunch time”, and the down times become few and far between, stress builds up as employees feel overworked and under appreciated. To avoid employee burnout from overwork it’s incumbent upon management to factor sufficient down times into the work schedule.

Lack of Empowerment

Employees thrive best in a work environment that gives them a sense that they belong, have a real purpose, and that the work they are doing really matters. They also do better with managers who ask for ideas and suggestions relative to the job at hand and allow them the opportunity to use their creativity and skills to solve problems without being micromanaged. Conversely, work environments where employees feel that they have no say or control over how the work gets done, and are constantly micromanaged, are at risk of creating burned-out workers.

Lack of Recognition

Working for a company that never shows appreciation and employee recognition for a job well done is no fun for anybody. Companies where management fails to recognize and reward both individuals and teams for their achievements run the risk of putting employees who feel under appreciated and taken for granted on a path that will lead to burnout. Implementing a program that recognizes and rewards employee achievements via awards, public praise, bonuses, and other means can go a long way in elevating morale and reducing burnout. The key is to avoid generic cookie-cutter awards and make sure that employees are recognized and rewarded in ways that are personal, meaningful and relevant to them.

Poor Communication

In every company there are barriers to communication that exist between employees and management. Failure to address and break down these barriers can lead to poor communication and eventual employee burnout. Good workplace communication is about managers engaging employees with real-time face-to-face conversations. It’s about sharing passions for the company and clearly explaining the company’s mission and objectives. It’s about being open and encouraging honest feedback to show employees that their ideas and opinions matter. Most importantly, it’s about staying positive and helping employees feel confident, inspired and empowered.

When employees stay motivated to light things up they are far less likely to ever burn out.

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