How and why should businesses reward their staff

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Rewarding staff for doing a good job not only makes them happier, it makes them more productive. Employers often make the mistake of trying to save money on costs that are not seen as critical like employee reward and recognition, without realising that it might be costing them more by not rewarding their employees.

Rewards can come in all shapes and sizes. Yes a nice, big financial bonus works well but that is not the only solution for rewarding employees for working hard. A simple thank you shows an employee that they are appreciated, especially when it is done genuinely and relates to a specific task.

Rewarding experiences

Other types of reward could include organising a day away from the workplace for  teambuilding exercises like cookery courses from Seasoned Cookery School or maybe treating the team to lunch. The great thing about these kinds of activities is that they can help with team building, so the team get to know each other better and can work more collaboratively as a result.

When employees know that they could earn an enjoyable day away from the office, this can provide great motivation to work harder. Experience days can also allow people to feel more relaxed and is great for mental health, especially if the work environment can be quite demanding.

Financial incentives

Many businesses use a financial incentive scheme to reward their employees, such as a salary increase dependent on performance. By setting clear objectives, employees will usually strive to achieve a high performance rating in order to receive a pay rise or bonus. Other financial incentives can include a bonus for loyalty, i.e. after 2/5/10 years, they get a certain amount. If your business is suffering from a high turnover of staff then it can be more cost effective to offer loyalty incentives rather than pay out large amounts of money on recruiting replacement staff.

Employee benefits and perks

Setting up a benefits scheme for employees can also be largely beneficial, especially if it is aligned to business objectives. For example, if you are trying to encourage employees to be more environmentally friendly then offering a Cycle to Work Scheme or reduced public transport fares etc. will help with your objective.

If you have affiliate businesses that you can organise discounts with then that is also a great way to offer perks to staff. Local restaurants might be happy to provide staff discounts, as they know that it makes good commercial sense if they are going to attract more customers that way. If you deal with tech companies, you could potentially negotiate reduced rates for software or hardware for employees from your suppliers.

Recognition schemes

Some people are motivated more by receiving recognition from management and peers for their work than they are for other kinds of rewards. There are ways to set up recognition schemes that do not involve financial rewards, such as the giving out of certificates for work well done. You could operate a peer voting scheme, where employees nominate a colleague that they think has done a great job – with the rationale for the nomination printed on the certificate.

If you have a small budget to play with then you could include a voucher as a reward for the person that received the most nominations. Sharing the news of who is nominated through the employee intranet site or setting up a noticeboard with pictures of the winners also helps this kind of scheme to be successful.

Promotions and career development opportunities

Depending on the processes within your business, it might not be possible to just give someone a promotion when they deserve reward for their good work but having a clear career path will help employees to feel rewarded and engaged. Providing training, either through paid courses or by working with mentors can give employees a reward of a different kind. Not only will the employee feel that they are working towards the next step in their career, their new skills will help to drive the business forward.

Investing in employee’s development is always a great investment, as long as they do not take their skills to another company. It is therefore equally important to keep your top talent as happy in their roles as possible. Having good conversations with employees about where they want to go in their career and giving them the right opportunities will help to ensure you keep your best employees.