Evidence shows that employee incentive programs can be a great way to keep workers motivated and to ensure that they are successfully engaged with the company and their job. However, it is essential that companies take the time to fully consider their options before instituting such an incentive or reward program. If not implemented properly or with enough thought, there is a high chance that the employee incentive program could actually end up backfiring and producing the opposite results.
The point of an employee incentive program is to motivate workers to do their best. Unfortunately, these programs can also create bad feelings amongst the staff, create jealousy between employees and even negatively affect employee performance. At the same time, these programs can also create a risky situation where employees begin to ignore safety or company rules in order to hit their targets and receive their awards. For these reasons, it is vital that any company considering instituting such a program does their research prior to implementing the program to ensure that it can actually produce the desired results. With this in mind, we’ll now take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts of employee reward programs to make it easier for you to design the ideal program that can actually provide the desired results.
Do focus on feedback.
Employee feedback is essential when creating and implementing any reward or incentive program. Your program obviously has a much higher chance of being successful if your employees are on board. This is why it is essential that you continuously ask for employee feedback and take this into account when designing or instituting the program and also when considering making any changes.
Do make programs ongoing.
Although there is nothing wrong with running a short-term incentive program, studies have shown that these programs work far better when they are run over the long-term. If employees know that they will always be eligible for rewards based on their performance, it generally makes them much more likely to do their best each and every day. On the other hand, a short-term program will only provide motivation as long as the program runs, and then productivity may immediately decline again as soon as the program finishes.
Do involve everyone.
It is important that everyone who works for a company feels like they are part of the same team, no matter what position they hold. This is precisely why most experts recommend that employee rewards programs are available to all workers within a company, which means both full-time and part-time workers as well as management. If you choose to leave some employees out of the rewards scheme, it will only serve to alienate those employees who are left out.
Do focus on small frequent rewards.
Most experts recommend offering smaller, more frequent awards instead of focusing on larger rewards. Giving out smaller rewards more frequently allows you to award a larger number of employees and should also help to eliminate the jealousy and negativity that may be directed to anyone who earned larger over-the-top rewards.
Don’t forget to set a reasonable budget.
Having an employee rewards programs is all well and good, but it definitely shouldn’t break the bank. The point of this type of program is to motivate employees to work harder, but any benefits the program provides will be useless if the rewards themselves cost the company too much time or money. This is why it is important to set a reasonable budget for the rewards program and stick to it to ensure the program doesn’t do more harm than good.
Don’t make your programs too easy.
This one follows similar lines to the previous factor, as you want to make sure that the possible rewards actually motivate your employees. However, this won’t happen if you make the rewards too easy so that most employees can receive them. The point of this type of program is to reward exceptional performance, so you want to make sure that this is actually what your program does.
Don’t forget teamwork.
Teamwork is an essential part of any business, and any team is only as good as its members. This is precisely why it is important to recognize teamwork by rewarding the entire team for their impressive performance instead of limiting the award to only the team’s leader. If you do choose to reward only the leader, all it will do is create negativity in the team and harm its overall performance.
Don’t overlook online options and physical awards.
You should be creative when it comes to determining the awards. This means using all available options, such as online apps, and it could also include providing employees will small physical awards like pins and plaques. The awards should actually be meaningful and something the employee will want to receive, so make sure you choose carefully.
At the end of the day, instituting an employee incentive program can provide a great number of benefits to a company. However, it is vital that employers take the time to plan out and implement their program to avoid running into the many common pitfalls. There are a range of different factors that you will need to consider when designing the program if you want to have any chance of the employee rewards program actually providing the results you desire.
McKenzie Brower is a contributing writer and media specialist for the Award Pins for Employees. She regularly produces content for a variety of employee motivation and HR development blogs based around business challenges which comes with motivating employees and improving employee happiness around the office.