Key Points to keep in mind while developing a successful employee rewards program

Key Points to keep in mind while developing a successful employee rewards program

Making employees aware of how much they are appreciated is essential for organizations seeking to improve their overall bottom line. In this context, employee rewards programs can prove highly motivational and help organizations derive the benefits of higher employee engagement, productivity, and retention. However, in order to ensure the success of such programs, they need to be designed in an intelligent manner and implemented with great care. It is also important for organizations to ensure that these programs need to be developed in a manner that makes them customizable to fit the company culture. Given below are a few of the most important points that need to be kept in mind while developing a successful employee rewards program:

Frequency of rewards

The modern work environment is extremely stressful and competitive, which is why it is important to recognize the efforts of the employees quite frequently. In fact, organizations need to do away with the tradition of rewarding and recognizing their employees on a yearly or quarterly basis. Frequent recognition is likely to reassure the employees constantly that they are being valued and appreciated for their small and big achievements.

Making recognition spontaneous

It is important for organizations today to ensure that the employee recognition program is lightweight and spontaneous. This means that recognition should not be confined to a certain schedule and should be offered as and when an employee does something that is worth appreciating. Such spontaneous recognition is deemed more authentic and fills the employees with a sense of gratitude.

Rewarding in time

Rewards and recognition can provide the best results only when they are offered on time. Delay in appreciating the efforts and achievements of the employees simply to adhere to a pre-defined timeline can make the whole process ineffective. This is because people tend to quickly forget the achievements of others. Delayed recognition not only diminishes the sense of achievement for the employees in question but also fails to motivate their peers.

Be specific about the behaviors to be rewarded

Rewards and recognition should be associated with specific achievements and actions of the recipients and thus enhances its value. A successful rewards program should clearly outline the criteria for which the employees are being appreciated. Even any form of verbal or written recognition may seem incomplete unless it specifically states the task or action for which praise is being bestowed on the employees.

Equal opportunities for participation

A great recognition program should level the playing field for all members of the workforce. This essentially means that the program should encourage participation from employees working at various levels within the business hierarchy. In order to keep the program well-organized, it may be divided into sections, with each section covering a specific level of employees. Such an approach is sure to boost employee motivation and engagement across all levels within the organization.

Ensure the highest level of transparency

If for any reason, the workforce believes the rewards and recognition system to be biased, it will render the process completely useless and ineffective. Hence it is important for an organization to ensure complete transparency in designing and while implementing the rewards program.  For this, they need to take their workforce into confidence by sharing with them the most important aspects of the program from time to time.

Maximum visibility 

Making the rewards program visible means that the employees are appreciated and rewarded for their achievements on a more public platform. Maximizing the visibility of a rewards program ensures that the other members of the workforce feel inspired by learning about the commendable work done by a colleague. It motivates them to make a similar positive contribution towards organizational growth and receive similar appreciation and recognition for their efforts.

Alignment with business objectives

Recognizing great work is important, however, if it is not relevant for meeting business objectives, it becomes more of a formality. On the other hand, when a reward program that is properly aligned with the business objectives, employees are likely to make a greater emotional investment towards fulfilling them. This helps in bridging the gap between ‘the organization’ and ‘my organization’  for employees and motivates them to advance their own growth along with the growth of their organization.

Make the program measurable

It is important to ensure that the rewards program being developed is measurable. This means that the organizations should be able to quantify the improvement in employee engagement, motivation and productivity after the implementation of the program. It also helps the organizations to identify any drawbacks or shortcomings in the program that need to be rectified to get even better results.

The above-discussed aspects need to be given serious thought and consideration to ensure that the employee reward and recognition program being developed is beneficial and satisfying for both the organization as well as its employees.

Should Employee Rewards and Recognition be targeted only towards entry-level employees?

Should Employee Rewards and Recognition be targeted only towards entry-level employees?

Employees today are no longer satisfied only with good pay packages and benefits, even though these are still considered to be the two most important aspects of career growth.  In addition to these two key factors, employees today want to be treated fairly and feel valued and appreciated for their efforts by their employers. In fact, a large percentage of young professionals base their decision of joining an organization on its ability to fulfil these essential aspirations. They believe it to be a significant motivating factor for the employees to make a positive contribution towards organizational growth. It is the awareness of this fact that has led organizations to have well-defined employee rewards and recognition programs in place. However, the one major error that most organizations make in this context is to have such programs only for their entry-level employees.

What makes this approach inappropriate?

Most organizations feel that while rewarding and recognizing entry-level employees is of utmost importance, it does not hold much significance for employees working at other levels within the organization. They believe that since the other professionals have a greater experience level and in most cases have been associated with the organization for too long to feel insecure or not being valuable enough. Unfortunately, most mid and senior-level employees do not share this thought and feel the need for consistent motivation and appreciation as much as entry-level employees. Thus by opting to focus only on the newest members of their workforce, in terms of employee recognition, organizations can actually end up demotivating their older and better-performing employees.

Consequences of selective recognition programs

Organizations having recognition programs focusing only on entry-level employees are likely to suffer from several disadvantages. Sadly, such organizations fail to acknowledge the consequences of the absence of a fair recognition program valid for all employees. The most common consequences are discussed in brief as follows.

Development of divisive company culture

One of the biggest consequences that organizations face by opting to have a recognition system focusing only on entry-level employees is the birth of divisive organization culture. This culture is rarely beneficial for the organization, as it will not only breed dissent among the employees and affect the level of cooperation and support that new employees receive from the older ones. This can further hinder the proper functioning of the business and may even hamper effective communication between co-workers and even with the management.

Reduction in employee engagement level

The absence of a fair rewards and recognition system increases the disappointment levels of even the most dedicated employees. As a result, they tend to become indifferent towards the happenings around them and this naturally increases their disengagement level. The decline in engagement levels can also result in a significant rise in employee turnover. This can hamper smooth operations in the organization and also cause a decline in its productivity and even credibility as an employer.

A decline in the employer brand

Organizations that prefer to ignore the efforts and contributions of their highest performing employees while rewarding and recognizing their entry-level employees lose their credibility as a preferred employer. In fact, the best candidates might stride clear of accepting any employment offers from such organizations as they feel that their hard work and contribution towards will not be appreciated or even acknowledged after a specific time period. Most young professionals may value this above any additional perks and benefits; the absence makes them least inclined to take up any job offers with such organizations. This naturally has a negative impact on the brand value of the organization as a recruiter, making it increasingly difficult for them to find quality candidates for various roles.

Demotivated employees lack innovation and creativity

When organizations fail to acknowledge their long-serving employees, it naturally brings down the overall motivation level of the entire workplace. The members of the workforce tend to carry out different tasks in a programmed manner rather than feeling any kind of excitement or involvement in the same. They also tend to become less creative and innovative as they see no point in exploring unique ideas and options to enhance organizational growth. In most cases, the employees even stop taking any initiatives and wait for instructions from their superiors to perform tasks that they could have done voluntarily if recognized and rewarded appropriately.  This, in turn, makes the overall work environment somewhat dull and boring and promotes absenteeism among employees.

The best way to avoid the above-discussed consequences is for organizations to adopt a comprehensive employee reward and recognition system across all levels of the organization.

Employee Recognition and Rewards that work best for a Multi-cultural Workforce

Employee Recognition and Rewards that work best for a Multi-cultural Workforce

Limited praise and recognition have been acknowledged as one of the biggest reasons behind the high employee turnover rates in most companies across the globe.  Many organizations with a multi-cultural workforce still struggle to retain their best employees through rewards and recognition. This is primarily due to the fact that these organizations fail to develop a reward program that takes the cultural sensitivities of the employees into consideration. While most organizations focus on having an innovative and diverse rewards program, but they fail to factor in the cultural nuances to make it truly effective and satisfactory for their employees hailing from different countries and cultures across the globe.

Need to consider cultural aspects

It is a well-known fact that different things might hold completely different meaning in various cultures. That is why the lack of understanding of the cultural values and nuances of different groups can make even the best rewards meaningless and may actually be hurtful and insulting for the recipients. This can surely impact the overall motivation and engagement level of the employees and force them to seek other employment options. In comparison, organizations that focus on the cultural differences between members of their workforce while developing their employee recognition programs enjoy better retention rates along with higher employee performance and efficiency.

Important things to consider

Creating an employee recognition program, suitable for a workforce comprising of members belonging to several distinct cultures, requires the organization to focus on several important things as discussed below.

Get to know the recipients

Every time an organization chooses to reward and recognize one of its employees, it should invest time and effort in gaining information about his/her cultural background. The organizations should especially focus on learning about how sensitive the employees are about their culture and its various nuances. Some employees may not even be aware of specific aspects of their culture that others might find offensive, while others may feel extremely sensitive about even the least practiced cultural aspects. Making an effort to understand the cultural sensitivity of the recipients can help plan their rewards and recognition in a better and more satisfactory manner.

Learn about overlapping cultural aspects

Companies should also try to learn about some major cultural aspects, especially those aspects that might overlap with other cultures but might have an entirely different meaning in each community. This is especially true in the case of employees belonging to Asian, African or even Middle Eastern communities. This will prevent the organizations from making any serious mistakes while rewarding the employees of a multicultural workforce due to lack of proper understanding of the seemingly insignificant cultural nuances. In some cases, this oversight may prove catastrophic as it might lead to the alienation of an entire section of the workforce belonging to a specific culture with one singe oversight.

Verify the truth of cultural stereotypes

Cultural stereotypes can lead to unconscious bias and often cloud the decisions related to choosing the best rewards for employees. As such it is important for organizations to ensure that they verify the truth behind these cultural stereotypes and how relevant these may be for the employees about to be rewarded and recognized. This is applicable for both positive and negative stereotypes, although following the latter blindly is likely to cause greater damage. In case the stereotypes are verified to be true and are likely to influence employee reward and recognition significantly, then it is advisable for companies to seek alternative solutions.

Establish clear lines of communication

Most organizations communicate with their top-performing employees through indirect channels. This can give rise to a lot of assumptions and confusion, especially with respect to the cultural nitty-gritty. Hence it is important for organizations with a global workforce to establish clear and direct lines of communication between the employees and their managers. This proves beneficial for both the parties involved as the managers can gain a better understanding of the employee ideology and outlook while also getting a direct solution to any doubts and queries about their culture and ethnic beliefs.

Focus on building a unique organization culture

One effective way for organizations to make their employee rewards and recognition programs work for their multicultural workforce is to focus more on building a unique company culture. They can integrate the various positive aspects of different cultures to develop a homogenous culture at the workplace that seems familiar yet distinct to every individual employee. The rewards and recognition program should then be developed according to the philosophies of this workplace culture rather than the individual cultural background of each employee. This is also an effective way to instill a deep sense of camaraderie and teamwork between the members of the workforce.

The rapid globalization of businesses has necessitated the growth of a multicultural workforce even within small and medium level organizations. Keeping this workforce happy and motivated can be a tough task unless companies choose a reward program based on above-discussed parameters.


Guide to Creating an Effective Employee Rewards and Recognition System in Five Easy Steps

Guide to Creating an Effective Employee Rewards and Recognition System in Five Easy Steps

The significance of employee appreciation and recognition in enhancing the satisfaction and motivation levels of the workforce has been well-established. However, many small and medium level business organizations still feel that setting up an employee rewards program is likely to put an extra burden on them in terms of time, money and resources. Such organizations tend to be ignorant of the fact that employee recognition programs can be developed with a minimal budget. Moreover, any investment in terms of time and resources will pay back with huge dividends through the enhanced loyalty and efficiency of employees for assured business growth and success.

Consequences of Absence of Employee Recognition Programs

The promise of frequent appreciation and rewards for their good work is what drives most employees to handle their various tasks and responsibilities in a highly dedicated and efficient manner. However, when an organization fails to establish a proper rewards and recognition program for its employees, it unwittingly sends the wrong message to its existing as well as potential employees. They feel unsure about their value in the organization as well as the kind of professional growth opportunities they would likely get there. Most importantly, the lack of a pat on the back for their hard work,   innovative ideas and effort create a sense of loss of interest in their work. This naturally reduces the employee engagement levels leading to a significant downfall in their productivity.

Five Steps to Develop an Effective Rewards Program

Having understood the pitfalls of not having employee rewards and recognition program, it is time to look at the five easy steps that can lead to the development of such a program:

  1. Have a Clear Vision of the Program Goals

Before starting with the development of a reward and recognition program for their employees, it is important for organizations to have a clear understanding of the reasons for setting up the program. They should be absolutely certain about the benefits they intend to gain from the program in addition to boosting the morale and productivity of their employees. In addition, they also need to be well aware of the values and behaviors they intend to reinforce among the members of the workforce through the employee recognition program. Having a clear vision of the program goals and communicating the same to the members of the workforce will help establish a strong base for success.

  1. Seek inputs from a cross-section of employees

Once the objectives of the program have been defined, organizations should seek inputs from employees across different levels and departments. Their opinions and concerns about the type of rewards and recognition to be offered, the eligibility for participation and even the frequency of offering the rewards should be heard and addressed in an appropriate manner. This helps in establishing a sense of trust among the employees and makes them feel like an integral part of the entire process of setting up the reward system. It also lends greater credibility to the system in their eyes as their views and opinions are taken into consideration.

  1. Set up a Rewards and Recognition Steering Committee

Setting up a committee for running and managing the rewards and recognition program is of utmost importance. It ensures that all the decisions are made in a fair and transparent manner with proper representation of the interests of HR, management, supervisors, and employees themselves. The committee also handles the nitty-gritty of organizing regular reward functions, deciding about the best rewards to be handed out and procuring any tangible items from their trusted sources in a cost-effective manner.

  1. Establish Nomination and Selection Guidelines

Setting up proper guidelines to ensure that only the most eligible employees get nominated and selected for receiving rewards and recognition is the next important step. For this, the management of the organization needs to work closely with the committee members and the HR managers to ensure that the guidelines provide an equal opportunity for every employee to participate. To avoid any complications, the rewards may be divided into different categories to ensure fair participation and selection of employees working at various hierarchical levels within the organization.

  1. Announce and Launch the Program

Finally, it is time to announce the good news to the employees and launch the program by making them aware of its objectives, eligibility criteria and selection process. It is also advisable to send a mass email detailing the various aspects of the rewards and recognition program to enable the employees to understand the same in detail. In addition, the rewards committee should be willing to answer any questions and queries of the workforce to further improve employee engagement and program efficiency.

Most great employee reward and recognition systems are not established overnight but these basic steps can help to move in the right direction. These steps may need to be modified as per the unique requirements of individual organizations to get the maximum benefits.

Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organization Culture

Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organization Culture

Much has been said and written about the significant role played by employee recognition in enhancing the engagement and retention of a business workforce. In fact, many experts are of the opinion that a majority of professionals across various organizational levels consider being appreciated at the workplace to be more important than receiving additional monetary benefits. As a result, organizations today are paying much attention to the development and implementation of efficient employee rewards and recognition programs. Integrating these programs with the company culture can further add value to the benefits that organizations expect to reap from them, which can result in enhanced business success.

Need to Integrate Employee Recognition with Company Culture

It is an accepted fact that both employee recognition and company culture help in maximizing performance and minimizing employee turnover. However, the idea of integrating the two for enhancing business growth is relatively new. Implementing this concept can offer multiple other benefits, in addition to those mentioned above. It can help develop a positive work environment where professionals can enjoy working. It will also promote the sense of self-motivation and commitment towards the organization within the workforce. Most importantly, it will help to build an organizational culture where performance is valued and appreciated and naturally attract top talent.

Tips to Integrate Employee Recognition with Company Culture

Building a work culture based on employee recognition is requires constant effort and dedication, especially by the managers, supervisors and team leaders. They can use the below-discussed tips to make employee recognition an integral part of the company work culture. The following tips can prove helpful for them in this context.

Develop the habit of On-Spot Appreciation

Managers and supervisors need to develop a habit of thanking employees every time they see them going above and beyond their call of duty. They need to assure the employees that their efforts are not going unnoticed and make them feel appreciated for the same. Managers need to steer clear of the mindset that employees must be aware of the fact that what they are doing is good and being valued. However, the mere acknowledgment of this fact by their superiors can go a long way in reinforcing their confidence and keeping them motivated.

Make Special Occasions extra special with personalized gifts

A majority of companies present gifts to their employees on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. The management can make these occasions extra special for the employees by presenting them with personalized gift items. Such initiatives reflect a sense of understanding and care for employees by the management. This can prove to be an extremely useful tool to motivate and win over entry-level employees trying to get a hang of things around them.

Take time to listen to the Ideas and Opinions of Employees

One way of appreciating employees on a day to day basis in order to develop a recognition based work culture is to listen to what employees have to say. The team leaders and managers should take time out to learn about any new ideas that their team members might have to enhance business growth. In addition, they should listen to their views and opinions rather than risk their sharing the same across social media channels. Even if the ideas or opinions expressed by the employees are not acceptable, they should be thanked for the same.

Empower the employees

Handing over a little additional responsibility to the employees makes them feel trusted. However, these additional responsibilities should not make the employees feel overburdened with work as in that case the employees will feel demotivated and dejected. Making the employees responsible for taking key decisions with regard to the company can help to empower them and build their confidence. In fact, many professionals view such additional responsibility as a form of employee recognition and feel motivated by it.

Maintain High Levels of Transparency

One of the most important aspects of building a work culture that is integrated with employee recognition is to maintain optimal transparency in everyday working. Managers need to be open and honest with their team members and keep them updated about any new developments in the company. This helps in building trust between the employees and the managers and also assures them of being an integral part of the organization.

Promote Habits of Relaxation

Many times managers might sense a slowdown in their teams. Rather than ignoring this as something that will pass with time, managers should motivate their team members to take a break and relax. They may even take the initiative of inviting the entire team to enjoy a cup of coffee or to take a stroll outside the four walls of the office. This helps the employees feel relaxed and also indicates to them that their hard work is being noticed.

Most organizations aim to turn into one where people will stick by even during the worst times. One way of achieving this objective is by integrating employee recognition with the organization culture.

Why timely Employee Recognition is as important as the program itself?

Why timely Employee Recognition is as important as the program itself?

The fact, that the only thing constant in a business environment is change, is well acknowledged and accepted. While some changes might not actually prove beneficial for business growth, most others are aimed at driving business success and profitability. The one change that has proven extremely beneficial for business organizations is the growing focus on ensuring employee engagement and happiness. Only a few years back, these aspects were handled by the HR department of an organization and were considered not significant enough to be an integral part of the key business strategy. However, today organizations have become well aware of the fact that a higher level of employee engagement is essential for enhancing productivity, innovation, and business growth. They also understand the significance of employee rewards and recognition for enhancing engagement.

How Recognition drives engagement

Employee recognition can help companies get amazing results not only in specific work areas but across the entire organization. In fact, industry experts are of the opinion that recognition is the most important tool that can be leveraged by managers to drive engagement and performance. This is because recognizing the efforts and achievements of employees is known to enhance their overall satisfaction levels of working with the organization. It also makes them feel valued and makes them feel inclusive in organizational growth. Most importantly, employee recognition helps in opening up avenues of communication between the employees and the management, which further improves engagement and performance.

Different Forms of Recognition

Employee recognition programs and strategies vary from one organization to another and are based on the unique needs of a company as well as individual employee preferences. Some easy ways in which organizations can recognize their employees are given below:

Written Praise

Short hand-written notes of appreciation or even emails appreciating the efforts and contribution of employees are common methods of employee recognition. These notes and emails act as tangible proof of the achievements of an employee and bring a personal touch to the whole concept of employee appreciation. Most importantly, they offer great flexibility in terms of appreciation shown to an employee.

Verbal Praise

Another common type of employee recognition is verbal praise, which is also the oldest method of employee appreciation. Verbal praise is almost always informal in nature and can be offered by the supervisors of the employees, their peers and even the members of top management in an ad-hoc manner. However, this does not diminish its value in any manner and proves equally effective in improving employee motivation and engagement levels.

Recognition across Corporate Social Media

Acknowledging and appreciating the efforts and achievements of employees on various social media platforms has been gaining much popularity. With most employees having an active social media presence, such recognition can go a long way in enhancing their motivation levels besides improving their overall engagement with the organization. Most importantly, being recognized on such platforms fills the employees with a sense of pride and makes them feel more committed towards their organization.

Significance of Timely Employee Recognition

There is no denying the fact that organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of employee recognition. This awareness has enabled them to take the necessary steps towards developing and implementing an effective recognition system. However, they still tend to overlook the significance of its most critical aspect, namely timely recognition. In fact, appreciating the efforts and achievements of employees in a timely manner is the key to establishing a self-motivated organization culture based on a successful, impactful and meaningful recognition program. The significance of timely recognition can be understood from the below-given reasons.

Closely link recognition to the action or event being recognized

Organizations often delay recognizing the desirable actions or behaviors of their employees until an end-of-year event or quarterly team/ department meetings. This often makes the whole exercise ineffective as most employees do not feel appreciated the same way if it were to be done immediately after the achievement. By recognizing the achievements in time, organizations can encourage the entire workforce to perform the actions that have helped their colleagues to earn the appreciation of their peers and superiors.

Encourages recipients to repeat behaviors

Failure to recognize employee efforts in time results in diminishing the impact for recipients and other employees. This is especially true for entry-level employees, who might still be struggling to establish themselves in the organization. This is a loss of opportunity to encourage similar behavior; it might even cause them to become demotivated.

Employee recognition needs to be done in the right way and in good time to get the desired results in terms of improved performance and higher engagement levels, which is why organizations need to adopt a policy of more effective and spontaneous recognition.

Useful tips for setting up an effective Employee Rewards Program

Useful tips for setting up an effective Employee Rewards Program

Most business organizations today are aware of the importance of rewarding their employees to enhance their sense of satisfaction and loyalty. In addition to being a good HR practice, it helps in boosting the morale of employees and makes good business sense. However, when it comes to actually creating an effective employee rewards program, most organizations are unaware of where to begin. Hence, they often resort to throwing money at employees in the name of rewards, which is neither feasible nor effective in providing the aforementioned results. So, it becomes essential for companies to intelligently plan and implement an employee rewards program. Discussed below are some useful tips that can help organizations to develop such a program.

Learn what motivates Employees

Employee temperaments and personalities differ significantly which essentially means that the things they value and gain motivation from are also quite distinct. The good news is that despite these differences, there are still some common motivation patterns shared by the employees from the same team or division. Learning about these motivation factors can help in establishing a strong base for an efficient employee rewards program. It might be impossible for companies to individually interview every employee to learn about what motivates them. The challenge can be overcome by asking employees to fill a quick survey form having open questions for gaining elaborate details.

Set meaningful Rewards Criteria

A successful rewards program is one that is based on meaningful criteria rather than favouritism or arbitrary picking. Employee recognition should be considered as something special that can be achieved through hard work and commitment. It should not be perceived as something like an entitlement for employees who have good relationships with their managers or team leaders. Most importantly, every employee should have an equal fighting chance to be part of the program, irrespective of their level and role within the organization. This can be ensured only by clearly defining the criteria that employees would need to fulfill to be considered for the reward.

Form a review committee

Irrespective of the size of an organization, forming a committee to oversee the employee recognition program is highly advisable. The committee may consist of just a few senior and mid-level managers, to begin with. The size of the committee can be increased at a later stage if the companies feel the need for the same. The most important thing to ensure is that the members of the committee should be known for their honest and unbiased decision-making capabilities. It is also essential for companies to promote the concept that serving on the committee as a matter of privilege and pride. This in itself can prove to be a reward for the employees who get the opportunity to take up the role.

Involve Team Leaders and Line Managers

When it comes to assessing the overall performance, contribution and achievement of employees, the feedback of their team leaders matter the most. Hence it is essential for an organization to ensure the involvement of the team leaders in any rewards program to make it truly efficient and successful. Most organizations commit the common mistake of seeking advice and feedback only from the HR, while completely ignoring the opinion of team leaders. This diminishes the credibility of the rewards program as most employees feel more satisfied if they are rewarded by the people they work with on a day-to-day basis. 

Know the characteristics of a good Rewards Program

This is perhaps one of the greatest requirements for setting up a good rewards program. The most important characteristics of a good recognition program are listed below.

·        It should be timely; as any delay in rewarding and recognizing employee, efforts diminishes its value.

·        It should follow a regular frequency as it ensures enhanced employee engagement, lower turnover, and better business results.

·        It should be specific, which means that it should aim to acknowledge some particular achievement or contribution of employees.

·        It should have some tangible value so that the employees continue to feel motivated long after receiving the reward.

·        It should be value-based so that employees feel motivated to work towards a common objective.

Make the Program multifaceted and diverse

Maintaining variety in the rewards and recognition program keeps the concept fresh and exciting for long. Employees tend to feel a sense of curiosity about the rewards that they will be given and this enhances the general enthusiasm for the program. However, care should be taken that the diversity is not achieved at the cost of hurting the sensitivities of other members of the workforce as it can render the whole process ineffective and even make the employees feel demotivated.

Developing an effective employee recognition system is not as difficult as it may seem, especially if organizations were to follow the above-discussed tips to enhance the feasibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of the program.


Motivating Blue Collar Employees – Using the Right Rewards and Recognition System

Motivating Blue Collar Employees – Using the Right Rewards and Recognition System

When it comes to employee motivation and engagement, most companies focus their efforts primarily on appeasing the white-collar members of their workforce. This is due to the fact that an effective white-collar support staff and management team is considered to be one of the most important facets of any business. Sadly, most organizations tend to overlook the fact that their blue-collared employees are equally important as they form the driving force of the company. These employees share the same need for appreciation and acknowledgment from their employers as their white-collar counterparts. Failure to do so is likely to affect their performance efficiency and productivity and hinder the smooth functioning and growth of a business.

What is meant by Blue-Collared Employees?

The workforce of an organization is comprised of different types of professionals specializing in various tasks and niches. However, the entire workforce can broadly be classified into two main categories namely white-collared and blue-collared employees. White-collar employees generally comprise of those members of the workforce who work in professional, supervisory, managerial and administrative roles within an organization. On the other hand, members of the workforce, who work in manual positions and use their hands to perform various tasks are classified as blue-collar employees. These employees are named so, as most of them are required to wear uniforms and coveralls along with protective gear. They generally include skilled workers employed in manufacturing, mining, construction and other such industries, tradespeople and even field officers and workers.

What hinders rewarding and recognizing Blue-Collar Employees?

One of the biggest hindrances in the way of rewarding and recognizing blue-collar employees is the traditional perception of them being inferior to white-collared employees. In fact, until quite recently, the members of the top management within organizations were of the opinion that white-collar workers were in greater need of motivation and engagement by virtue of their more responsible positions and higher education levels. They felt that the blue-collar employees did not have any such needs, especially since a majority of them are tied to union pay and benefits. However, the various employee surveys have made it clear that employees of both these categories have a similar craving for being rewarded and recognized for their hard work and efforts made towards organizational growth.

Creating a suitable Rewards and Recognition Program

The good news is that a majority of business organizations today are understanding the need to acknowledge and appreciate the performance and contribution of their blue-collared employees. However, since their employee motivation needs tend to differ considerably from the more sophisticated members of the workforce, companies need to do some thinking in order to create the best rewards and recognition programs for them. The four main types of rewards that can be considered by organizations to overcome this dilemma effectively are discussed below.

Tangible Rewards

Providing physically tangible rewards to blue-collar employees can go a long way in keeping them motivated and enhancing their engagement levels. Physical things such as gift baskets, company-branded gear, engraved tools and even embroidered vests for field staff can prove to be the most relevant and satisfactory rewards. In fact, handwritten notes of appreciation and gift cards are also highly preferred along with trophies and medallions as they help in sparking conversation and participation.

Monetary Awards

One traditional and highly successful method of acknowledging blue-collar employees is by offering them performance bonuses and a raise in salary. These monetary rewards are known to boost employee motivation levels significantly besides making the employees feel appropriately recognized for their hard work. More recently, other forms of monetary awards including paid lunches, floating holidays, gift cards for their favorite store or restaurant and company store vouchers have also gained much popularity.

Experience Awards

Providing an opportunity of once in a lifetime experience to blue-collar workers is also proving to be an effective way of rewarding them. Rewards like an invitation to company-sponsored events or enjoying a meal with the CEO or Chairman are often well appreciated especially by the employees operating at floor levels in factories. Other similar awards that are generally well-received include fully or partly paid vacations, a short sabbatical from work and special training and skill development that can help enhance the career growth of workers within this category.

Verbal Rewards

Even though most companies and managers no longer acknowledge it as a reward, a few words of praise still hold much value in terms of employee recognition. The very fact that their employers have chosen to single out the employees in a positive way makes them feel valued and appreciated. It assures them of the fact that their efforts and contribution towards organizational growth have not gone unnoticed. Facilitating a culture of peer-to-peer recognition among blue-collar workers can actually prove more beneficial than words of praise offered by line managers and executives.

The above discussion makes it quite clear that the organizations need to work proactively towards understanding job satisfaction and motivational needs of its blue-collar workers and fulfill the same.

Does Employee Rewards and Recognition make sense in a sales organization?

Does Employee Rewards and Recognition make sense in a sales organization?

This is perhaps one of the most confusing questions faced by managers responsible for handling a sales team. The fact that most sales-driven organizations have a well-developed compensation and incentive program already in place for its sales executives makes things rather complicated. However, these incentives alone might not always prove motivating for the sales representatives, as they do not exactly acknowledge or appreciate the efforts and dedication of the executives – only actual numbers. On the other hand, appropriate rewards and recognition can help in keeping the sales team motivated, especially during the low sales months. Also, most organizations expect the sales executives to share vital market intelligence with the marketing teams that can help in tweaking the marketing strategy or even the product strategy.  That is why a majority of sales organizations today are considering the option of creating effective rewards and recognition program for its marketing team in parallel to the existing compensation systems.

Need to constantly motivate the Sales Team

Sales is one of the most important business processes as it directly impacts cash flow and provides key information about customer needs and expectations. In fact, it is the members of the sales team, who are on the front lines of any business and who represent the face of the business in the marketplace. In addition to facing constant competitive pressure, they also need to deal with the changing preferences and buying processes of the customers. All these factors tend to take a serious toll on the motivation as well as the morale and dedication levels of any individual. That is why it is the responsibility of the business organization employing these professionals to have an effective reward and recognition program for keeping them constantly motivated.

How a Good R&R Program helps

The most important thing that companies need to understand is that all activities of sales representatives are purpose-driven. Unlike incentives and bonuses offered to a sales team, focused recognition and rewards tend to be more effective as they tend to be more personal and memorable. By publicly acknowledging and appreciating the hard work and efforts being made by these professionals to nurture client relationships, collect information, share insights and collaborate helps in solidifying their purpose and reinforcing transparency. A small investment in employee rewards can provide exceptional returns in terms of increased market share and better customer retention thanks to the boost in the motivation of the sales representatives.

Important Factors to keep in mind

Having a great reward and recognition system in place for the sales representatives is essential for creating a truly prosperous organization. However, it is important to keep some key factors in mind while creating such a system that offers the desired results.:

Integrating R&R Programs with Compensation and Incentive Plans

Like with most other employees in an organization, a rewards and recognition program can go a long way in keeping the members of the sales team happy and motivated all year round. However, it is important to ensure that these programs are integrated with the existing compensation and incentive plans. Relying solely on either the compensation and incentive plans or just the R&R systems can only provide temporary benefits. Integrating the two is the only way to bring about a lasting change in the attitudes and behaviors of the sales representatives and enhancing the employee motivation, dedication, and commitment towards the organization.

Ensuring feasible variety in the Rewards and Recognition

Most organizations feel that offering cash rewards along with a certificate of appreciation is the best way to keep the sales teams motivated. However, they tend to overlook the fact that such a system tends to become monotonous and boring after some time. In fact, the sales representatives often start comparing the regular cash rewards with the yearly bonus or incentives they receive from their employers. As such, it is important for the sales organization to ensure a feasible variety in the rewards and recognition being provided to the sales teams. This may be in the forms of tangible items, trips, and even gift vouchers that the sales professionals might find unique and appealing.

Recognize Both Individual and Team Efforts

Business organizations often commit the mistake of creating R&R programs aimed at appeasing only individual sales representatives or focusing only on the collective efforts of entire teams. Both these approaches can result in the failure of the employee recognition programs as they consider only one aspect of the overall sales process. In any sales-driven organization, the contribution of individual employees is almost as important as that of entire teams. Hence it is important to have a program that rewards and recognizes both individuals and teams as the case may be. This helps in promoting healthy competition between the members of the sales team while also encouraging them to work together as a single unit.

It is quite clear that a well-defined and properly thought through rewards and recognition program beyond the traditional sales incentive systems are essential for ensuring the growth and success of a sales-driven organization. Such a program can ensure a higher level of satisfaction and motivation of their sales representatives and deliver business impact well beyond just the sales numbers!

How to Reward and Recognize Customer Service Employees?

How to Reward and Recognize Customer Service Employees?

Great customer experience is one of the key requirements for ensuring the success and growth of any business organization. In fact, it is not uncommon for individuals to shift their loyalties to an organization promising to offer better customer experience.   In order to create such an experience, it is important for companies to train and prepare their employees to be customer-centric. However, such training and preparation form only one aspect of ensuring customer satisfaction and happiness. A customer service organization be it a call center,  front-office or delivery function also needs to focus on enhancing the happiness and satisfaction level of its own employees to get the best results. Companies can no longer undermine the fact that the success of their business depends on an ongoing stream of happy customers, which in turn is determined by the happiness level of the employees.

How Employee Happiness Influences Customer Experience

A customer-centric approach does not just focus on efficient communication with customers through a call center or front office but is more about ensuring better brand experience and establishing long term relationships with them. In a customer service environment, the employees handle the responsibility of fostering such experiences and relationships. By empowering the employees and enhancing their engagement and satisfaction levels, companies can ensure a significant improvement in these experiences and relationships. It has been observed that happy employees tend to be self-motivated and work towards delivering better customer experiences. Their commitment and sense of loyalty towards the organizations is significantly enhanced and this is reflected through an increase in their efficiency.

Using Rewards and Recognition to reinforce Customer-Centricity

Just being aware of the critical role played by employees in delivering great customer experience is not enough for a business organization. Rather they need to take the necessary steps to reinforce customer-centric behavior by creating a customer-focused culture. The most important step to be taken in this direction is to integrate employee rewards into the company culture. At the same time, they need to avoid the common pitfalls that can render the reward and recognition program simply useless. In order to ensure the same, the business organization needs to ensure the following.

Focus on the Employee Behaviors that provide Desired Impact

While deciding about the most appropriate rewards and recognition options for employees, business organizations need to focus on identifying and promoting employee behaviors that ensure an enhanced customer experience. For this, they need to first determine the things that really matter to the customers through a thorough analysis of customer data, their preferences, and reviews. The information thus obtained can be then co-ordinated with the various behavioral attributes of employees to learn about the ones that provide the desired results. Having identified the most effective behavior that drives customer satisfaction, the organization should take the necessary steps towards employee motivation to promote this behavior.

Integrate Reward Systems with Customer Experience

Proper alignment of the reward system with employee incentives with respect to the customer experience they create, is essential to create a customer-centric culture. This might require slight modification in the criteria used for deciding formal rewards such as salaries, bonuses, and promotions. The awareness of the fact that being customer-centric can prove beneficial not only in terms of gaining recognition and appreciation but also for ensuring career growth can act as a great motivator. In addition, it also helps in maintaining the credibility of the reward system by ensuring that only the most deserving employees receive them.

Set up Informal Rewards to Encourage Customer Focus

Employee recognition holds greater value than monetary benefits for a large percentage of professionals working in a customer service environment.  Thus by setting up informal rewards, that can remind the employees of their achievements and glory – it tend to prove more effective than just cash rewards. The simple act of posting an image of the top-performing employees for a specific period in the workplace where it is easily visible to other employees and customers can boost the morale and efficiency of the employees quite significantly. In turn, it can create a sense of pride amongst the customers who might have interacted with these employees and strengthen their bond with the company.

Focus on ensuring Better Work-Life Balance

At the end of the day, all employees are individuals with a life outside their profession, which they cannot ignore. No amount of rewards and recognition can replace the happiness that employees gain by spending time with their family and friends. Thus by providing opportunities for a better work-life balance for their employees, companies can enhance their happiness quotient. Happy employees tend to be more attentive and sympathetic towards their customer needs and are more likely to make every effort to ensure their satisfaction and happiness.

A customer service environment can prove to be extremely stressful and exhausting for employees as it requires them to deal with people of diverse natures, opinions and patience levels. The challenge of keeping the employees working in such environments motivated and engaged can only be overcome with an effective reward and recognition program.