Tailored reward schemes | Incentive & Motivation


Tailored reward schemes

Natalie Vescia, B2B Marketing & Client Relationship Manager at Wickes, explains why employers need to ensure that they fully address staff requirements when delivering motivation and reward programmes.

Businesses need to consider whether their rewards for staff are appealing and if they meet their individual needs. If a reward scheme is considered to be irrelevant by staff, take-up will be low and employees will be left asking – ‘what’s in it for me?’
With research from talent and career management company Right Management showing that low employee engagement and lagging productivity were the greatest HR challenges that UK employers faced in 2013, it is clear that tailored rewards that increase motivation are vital for businesses to remain successful. The choice of rewards needs to be matched carefully to the workforce in order to maximise take-up.

At best, a reward that doesn’t hit the mark will be ignored and the impact lost. At worst, an ill-considered reward will only serve to alienate an employee from their employer by showing that the business hasn’t taken into account their lifestyle and needs. Businesses should ensure they consider the different lifestyles of staff and provide incentives that will really motivate each one to go the extra mile.
Involving employees in the identification and selection of their rewards and incentives not only provides businesses with firm indicators of what rewards will appeal, it also reassures staff that their needs are being taken into account and, ultimately, encourages buy-in to the scheme.


Communication is key and needs to happen at every stage of the reward planning and managing process. With research from the 2013 Study of Rewards and Incentives revealing that nearly 70% of employees would be motivated to put in extra effort at work if they knew they would be rewarded, it is vital for employers to communicate effectively. Non-cash incentive schemes, particularly vouchers, offer multiple impact points. A feeling of goodwill is generated when the member of staff receives their reward and again when they redeem and experience heir reward. These types of incentives deliver long-lasting impact and ensure the reward will be remembered and appreciated for a long time to come.

To encourage engagement with a reward scheme, employers should paint a picture of how the reward can be useful to their employees. This is an effective communication method and enables the employee to really understand how they can put their reward to use and how it will benefit them as an individual.

When considering younger employees, motivating generation Y, the iPod generation, to go the extra mile can be challenging. Global research by Ashridge Business School reveals that the biggest concern for managers worldwide about Generation Y in
the workplace is employee retention. Frequent job changes and lack of life skills mean that managers are concerned that future leaders will lack the experience to enable them to judge risk and make effective decisions. With 70% of generation Y workers
eaving their first employer within two years of joining according to Experience.com, employers have to work a lot harder to keep them motivated.

Generation Y are career-hungry, driven and often unwilling to wait, they want instant gratification and immediate information. They are the social media generation who like to be connected at all times. These younger employees are constantly looking for new opportunities to improve their skill set and are unlikely to wait around if they are not happy in their job. Encouraging this generation to remain with one organisation isn’t always an easy task. One-for-all incentive schemes are not effective for this group, they want benefits to be tailored to them so that they feel like their values and needs are taken into account.


Reward and recognition schemes, regardless of the age of the employee, should be inspiring, entertaining, and possess realistic goals. Employers who tailor rewards to suit their workforce could even influence
employees to build up a desired culture that will lead them to behave and make decisions in a certain way. Although building a strong team culture and effective performance objectives are important, rewards add to and complement this. The rewards market has changed dramatically in recent years, and is set to grow even more as organisations recognise the need to tailor rewards to different groups of employees. With the requirements of staff and their lifestyles constantly evolving, it is crucial for companies to move away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach and adopt an individual approach. Businesses should consider the needs of their staff and address the ‘what’s in it for me’ question head on. This will be key for boosting motivation levels, investing in behaviour change that not only delivers return on investment, but also leads to a successful, happy workforce.

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