While it might seem like a lot of work, implementing a rewards program for your employees is essential if you want to maintain a happy and productive workplace. Don’t believe us? A Gallup estimate shows that unhappy workers are costing employers $300 billion annually due to a loss in productivity!
This productivity loss manifests itself in a number of ways, from an increased number of sick days taken to a general slower work progress pace. The lack of productivity also results in a loss of work creativity and reduces overall drive to succeed within the company.
To foster a work environment that boosts happiness, productivity, and morale, you can certainly offer perks—in theory, these are great motivators, they won’t automatically boost employee engagement or foster brand advocacy. These perks need to be implemented as a part of a larger rewards and recognition program.
Proper recognition and meaningful feedback is vital to maintaining positive morale within the rank and file. You would be doing a disservice to your employees if you never reviewed their work or didn’t provide adequate training and support. These things are an invaluable part of recognizing all the hard work that your employees do for your company.
Once you’ve recognized the efforts and output of your employees, you’ll need to start building an effective rewards program. A pat on the back will only take you so far. Your employees need to know there is a system in place that encourages their engagement and productivity in order for these perks to be considered valuable rewards.
Rewards programs should be customized and tailored to each individual company. What may work for one company might not necessarily work for another, so it’s important that you create a program that fits your company’s and employees’ needs. For example, a company like Dropbox, the data management company, offers laser tag and arcade games in their office so that their employees can blow off steam and reset their creative juices. While these perks are fitting for a company like this, they might not work very well for a designer fashion retailer.
Not only is it important that your rewards match your company culture, they should also reflect your employees’ interests. You’re probably not going to want to reward your employees with an all-you-can-eat dessert and fried food bars if you run a health food company. Chances are, you hired employees who were interested in and passionate about health food, and therefore, would not really be motivated by a reward of a junk food pig-out.
So you see, a rewards program that works for your company will need to be individualized and customized. However, there are a few basic elements you need to include if you want to see success:
When your company has a big announcement, a product launch, or just a day-to-day bit of info to share, encourage your employees to jump on the social bandwagon through gamification. Using leaderboards, badges, and other video game-inspired attributes as rewards, employee engagement will go through the roof because: a) people like to play games and b) people like to win!
As with gamification, you can provide rewards for the sales team hitting certain numbers or marketing meeting a certain social sharing quota. Offer unique incentives to motivate your team to share with their social networks.
For extra special achievements, you can provide greater rewards like gift cards, free lunches, company swag, or even vacation days. Also, announce the great things your employees have done so coworkers can join you in congratulating them on their successes. Peer recognition is an excellent motivator.
Keeping track of employee progress is difficult without the right management tools. An employee advocacy platform offers a convenient way to get everyone on the same social page, monitor social sharing, and set up a variety of incentivized programs like leaderboards, badges, and internal recognition.
By taking these steps to implement a rewards program, you are guaranteed to see a rapid increase in employee engagement. Plus, you’ll be outfitted with the proper tools to sustain this level of interest, communication and results so that your team will continue to want to share with their social networks. When you reward your employees for doing a job well done, you tell them that you appreciate what they’re doing for you and for your company. You’re telling them that their efforts matter. And that kind of encouragement can go a long way toward improving productivity, your bottom line, and employee advocacy.
Russ is Co-Founder and CEO of Dynamic Signal, a Silicon Valley software company that provides VoiceStorm, a marketing platform that helps top brands partner with and leverage the social reach and influence of their employees, fans and customers to achieve their branding, marketing and commerce goals. A digital media industry veteran, Russ has more than 15 years' experience in the online marketing world. He co-founded and was CEO of Adify (acquired by Cox for $300M in May 2008), was EVP of Corporate Development at comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) and was among the first employees at Flycast (acquired by CMGi for $2.3B in January 2000).