Personalisation is the name of the game for rewarding employees | Incentive&Motivation

Employee Engagement News: Personalisation is the name of the game for rewarding employees

Author: Iain Thomson, Director of Incentive & Recognition, Sodexo Engage

Rewarding staff is part and parcel of the modern working world, but despite this, many businesses still fail to tailor rewards to suit their employees. While traditional perks like bonuses may excite some employees, a personalised reward programme that appeals to each and every member of the team is key if businesses want to get the very best out of their staff. And that isn’t the only benefit: not only will this approach benefit employees, but it will improve the overall business too.


Different strokes for different folks


Rewards have become such a common part of staff management, it’s often easy to forget why they exist in the first place. Rewards not only help to get more out of your team, but also show employees that you care and value their work.


If you want to make a real impact, choose rewards that suit different personalities. For example, don’t give someone who is teetotal a case of wine – be sure you offer rewards they can actually enjoy.  From gift cards to experiences, there’s a whole world of reward options to choose from, and making sure you match the reward to the person is crucial in keeping staff motivated. The idea behind this personal approach is simple: giving staff rewards that they really want will keep them striving to meet their goals all year round.


Apart from matching the incentive with the individual’s own motivators, recognising their different life stages also helps to identify what rewards will go down well. But remember, a life stage isn’t purely about age; it’s also about recognising where they’re at in their life. Some employees may be enjoying single life, for example, while others may be planning a wedding or buying a house.


Drilling down to these stages and picking rewards that will suit their circumstances will improve the reward programme and will get a much bigger thumbs up from staff.  This may sound like a lot of work, but with the power of technology playing a major part in the rewarding process, it’s now easier than ever to deliver a more tailored experience to staff.


Speaking from the top
Once you’ve got a personalised plan in place, it’s important to make sure staff are encouraged to redeem the rewards – and that means clear communication. As with any large change, a new or updated reward programme needs to be initiated from the top down. Business leaders should be the first person to announce the initiative, with managers discussing it with their teams on a daily and one-to-one basis. This way, staff will be encouraged to regularly redeem their rewards and work towards achieving their goals.


Knowing how staff like to communicate is also an important part of keeping them engaged with the reward strategy – but this will depend on the make-up of the business. Some staff like company-wide emails to update them, others prefer to look at the office notice board. Millennials might prefer a more tech-savvy approach like apps and portals, while other staff may find written forms easier. Understanding these different modes of communication will make sure the rewards are reaching each and every staff member.


365 days of rewarding


It’s easy for reward programmes to have a massive spike following their initial rollout – and then drop off the radar soon after. But it doesn’t need to be that way! Just make sure that you continue to offer rewards that staff find appealing – that is the key to keeping a rewards programme alive and kicking for the long-term.


A simple calendar can also work wonders; dates, celebrations and holidays can structure a year-long reward plan that adapts to the changing seasons. Store cards at Christmas or holiday-related incentives during the summer are just some of the examples that can keep the team engaged with the business throughout the year.


That said, it’s important not to whitewash the strategy. Each business will have its own pool of staff and they need to be recognised in their own unique way. Some may not celebrate Christmas, for example, while other’s might not appreciate a team trip that takes them away from their family. Understanding what’s relevant will help you develop a culture that recognises each employee as an individual.


Personalised rewards like these are an important part of engaging with staff, but for it to pay off, it needs a long-term commitment from the business. Not only will you create a happier, more motivated workforce, but you’ll also give yourself an important competitive edge.

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