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.

 

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.

Low Budget Employee Recognition and Reward Ideas to Enhance Employee Motivation

Low Budget Employee Recognition and Reward Ideas to Enhance Employee Motivation

Seeking recognition and appreciation for their work is basic human nature and nowhere is this behavioral trait more evident than in professional work environments. In fact, employee recognition and rewards have emerged as the key aspects for creating a highly engaged workforce committed towards business growth. The process is aimed at acknowledging the efforts, hard work and workplace behavior of employees that contribute towards the success of an organization and fulfillment of its objectives.

However, most small and medium business organizations and even larger enterprises tend to feel concerned about the costs involved in implementing a proper employee recognition and rewards program. What such organizations fail to understand is that it is the intent of recognizing and rewarding the employees that matters the most, rather than the money they spend for the same. Business organizations can plan for a recognition system that suits the needs of their employees as well as their budget more efficiently.

Planning a Suitable Rewards and Recognition Program

The most important thing that business organizations need to understand is that the rewards being handed out to employees neither need to be expensive nor in the form of cash. In fact, most employees feel satisfied by the fact that their seniors are aware of their efforts and willing to acknowledge the same. However, employers need to make sure that any non-cash rewards that are chosen should keep the interests of the employees in mind. It has been observed that such rewards are more effective in enhancing employee motivation rather than cash rewards. Discussed below are a few low budget employee recognition and reward ideas that can help enhance employee motivation and engagement levels considerably.

Public Recognition

Acknowledging and appreciating the efforts and hard work of the deserving employees publicly is the most common and cost-effective method. Such public recognition can be made in front of the team members of the selected employee or the entire workforce at an organization level event. In either case, the employees tend to feel a sense of pride and achievement, which motivates them to further improve their performance. Such recognition should ideally include a certificate of merit and a small medallion or trophy which can serve as a constant reminder for the employee.

Workplace Benefits

Another cost-effective way of rewarding the employees is to offer them some desirable benefits at the workplace for a specific time period. The benefits can be extended permanently, in case of repeat achievers, which will also prove inspiring for other employees. These benefits may include flexible work timings, free pickup, and drop facilities for a specific time, upgraded workstation or even paid training for skill enhancement. Such rewards tend to enhance the motivation level of the entire team as the members are able to see the benefits gained by one of their own thanks to their diligent and sincere efforts.

Paid Outing with Family

A majority of employees today struggle hard to create a perfect balance between their work and family life. In addition, the cost of enjoying an outing with a family is often very high, which is why an average employee tends to do it less frequently. Hence, being rewarded with an opportunity to spend quality time with their family without having to worry about the expenses for the same, is something that most employees will find appealing. The venue and type of outing can be decided on the basis of the level of the employee receiving the reward.

Time Off from Work

The highly competitive work environments today often make it impossible for employees to take time off from work. This can lead to their physical and mental exhaustion and can even cause a reduction in their efficiency. One way to avoid this problem and integrating it with employee recognition is to give the employees time off from work. The employees can choose between coming to the office and doing nothing or staying at home to indulge in an activity that helps them to unwind and relax. A couple of days off from work will ensure that the employees feel truly acknowledged for their efforts. It also helps them feel wanted and cared for by their employers and thus helps them develop a stronger bond with the organization.

Formal Meal with Top Management

The idea of enjoying a formal dinner with members of the top management is also a great way of acknowledging and rewarding the employees in a budget-friendly manner. Most junior level employees are in awe of these top-level professionals and sharing a meal with them as a reward for their efforts and hard work often proves to be quite motivating. Moreover, this method of recognition and appreciation also provides the top management to interact with the high performing employees and assess their suitability for enhanced positions within the organization in the future.

All the above options (and many others we can think of) make it possible for business organizations to maintain a relatively low rewards budget without losing out on the benefits of employee recognition and appreciation.

HiFives Team

Frequent recognition might work better than annual increments

Frequent and timely appreciation from the supervisor might have a greater impact on employee motivation than even annual increments – according to a research study by a prominent HR consulting firm. Annual increments are supposed to aggregate employee performance over the year, rank and stack it against their peers and then reward the employee with an appropriate percentage hike. This is too much to expect from a single exercise no matter how thorough it is. It tends to disregard small ‘wins’ which could add up to bigger things and focuses on the high impact stuff. Hence, employees working on mundane stuff tend to get overshadowed by others working on big, visible projects (might backfire as well!). Plus, the increments themselves might not be differentiating enough.
The most important factor is the impact on employee motivation and performance improvement. Typically, annual increments either leave one with a bitter taste in the mouth or a rosy view of one’s performance. It hides more than it reveals!

Hence more frequent recognition by one’s manager is more effective for the employee’s development and performance improvement. However, most organizations continue to focus their HR efforts on annual reviews and increments – a few progressive organizations have started creating more noise around regular feedback and appreciation through things like Spot Awards, Floor Meetings, Thank You Cards or simply a Pat on the Back!

-by HiFives

Cash or kind – what works better?

Do you remember the last time when you got a Rs 5,000 cash award in your pay cheque? No? That will be the most likely answer unless you are one of those who scrutinizes the salary slip every month in the hope that there might be something extra! Well, for the most of us the cash award just disappears without a trace in the salary slip. We won’t even remember that we got something extra – even less chances of remembering how we spent it!

What if, you had got Rs 5,000 worth of products of your choice instead of the cash award  -some trendy gadget or a home appliance? You are more likely to remember about the award every time you see the product you got, right?

Well, non-monetary awards seem to have better recall value than cash awards. Apart from the fact that you might end up saving some taxes as well. Kind seems kinder than cash when it comes to rewards!

-by HiFives