According to an Employee Benefits survey, less than 25% of employees received incentives in the last two years, despite 80% suggesting that a reward programme would show that their work is valued. But how do you go about developing an effective reward scheme?
Align your objectives
Aligning the interests of your business and your employees is crucial. This could mean rewarding clear goals like financial targets, sales or growth, for example, but equally valid might be rewarding a culture of innovation, dedication shown in winning a new client, or a positive attitude and team spirit. In reality, it may take several different tactics to make each member of staff feel included. The important thing is making sure that everyone's working toward the same goals.
Involve your staff
If you're starting an incentive scheme, you need to maximise employee 'buy in'. Consulting them on the goals and the rewards is a great way to encourage participation, and to foster a greater sense of ownership and commitment to your brand.
Praise good work
Whether you're awarding an 'Employee of the Month' title or lauding a job well done, praising good work is a valuable part of rewarding your employees. A personal, discrete 'thank you' can be powerful coming from a respected boss - and taking the time to do so shows a valued individual that you care. However, singling out an employee for well-earned praise in front of colleagues sends everyone else a message about what you want from your workers.
For most people, career goals are as important as financial ones. This means that the chance to provide creative input, to take on additional responsibilities, meet clients or train for a new skill represents a valued reward for work well done.
If you are awarding a bonus for sales, new clients, business expansion, or any finance-driven goal, the payout should reflect a fair proportion of your employee's contribution. A £20 book token would be more insulting than appealing to a salesperson who's just won a five-figure client, so stick to classic gifts like flowers and champagne if you're reluctant to put an obvious price on your thanks.
Gifts can be as meaningful and inspiring as cash, and if your business is low on liquidity, make the most of your assets. Credit card reward schemes are a great source of incentive ideas. For example, American Express small business cards partner with a number of high-end brands like Links of London and Osprey, so you can tailor your gifts to your staff and fund them with points accrued through essential company spending.