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Every organization rewards its employees in some way, whether it’s simply through the salary and benefits they receive or the occasional awards ceremony celebrating an anniversary or other milestone. But a paycheck and a plaque aren’t enough to make workers feel valued. That requires incorporating rewards into every part of the employee experience, from business development to wellness initiatives. In short, it requires a true employee reward system.
Ready to learn about what an employee reward system entails and the benefits it can deliver to your company? Let’s get started.
What is an employee reward system?
An employee reward system is the structure an organization puts in place to provide tangible forms of recognition to its employees. It can be as small as an initiative to provide an Amazon gift card to every employee of the month, or it can be as robust as a points-based reward program powered by a modern employee reward and recognition platform. The goal of any system is to deliver rewards that employees actually want, showing them that your company appreciates their contributions and keeping them motivated.
What goes into a great employee reward system?
An employee reward system is only effective if it’s consistent and personalized. This means that employees must be rewarded frequently, not just when managers feel like it or remember to do so, and that the rewards they receive must be tailored to match their personal tastes. It’s the difference between handing out a swag bag at a yearly company retreat filled with items that go straight to the trash or the thrift store and giving employees something that excites them every time they contribute to the company.
Providing rewards frequently doesn’t just mean when team members secure a win or deliver exceptional performance. Rewards should be delivered for everything from helping out a fellow employee, to providing helpful feedback, to making a new hire feel welcome with a few funny quips during an onboarding session.
Peer-to-peer, points-based rewards
Of course, managers and other leaders aren’t present for every occasion that calls for recognition, nor should they be expected to be the sole providers of rewards at your company. That’s where peer-to-peer rewards come in. When everyone can show appreciation to their teammates in a tangible way, stronger relationships and a better culture develop organically.
How can your company empower every employee to give out rewards without interrupting their daily workflow? Simple: leverage an employee reward platform that supports a points-based reward system. Your company sets a certain monthly budget for each employee — say around $10 or $20 — and they receive the equivalent in reward points. They can then send these points out to anyone they want to recognize in the company. Recipients watch their points total rise and redeem them for rewards that speak to them from a built-in marketplace. The next month rolls around, and the cycle of recognition keeps going.
Better yet, redeemable points are the perfect add-on to another key part of an effective employee reward system — non-monetary recognition.
Even the best employee rewards fall flat if they aren’t combined with frequent, genuine social recognition. While they won’t get you a free meal at your favorite restaurant or a ticket to that concert you’ve been dying to go to, messages of appreciation provide you with the psychological support and motivation needed to excel on the job. Make non-monetary recognition a key part of your company’s reward system by training leaders on why and how to provide it, while enabling all team members to show appreciation whenever and wherever they feel like it with a mobile-friendly recognition platform.
Rewards informed by employee feedback
Letting employees choose their own rewards goes a long way towards the goal of personalization. But there are occasions, like when building an incentives or rewards program or preparing for an employee awards ceremony, where a deeper understanding of the types of rewards team members want is called for. Your people leaders can ask team members about their thoughts and preferences one on one or in group settings, but this takes valuable time they may not have, and employees won’t always be comfortable sharing their true thoughts.
Avoid guesswork when building and fine-tuning your employee reward system with an employee engagement solution tailored to gathering accurate, actionable feedback in real time. Look for a platform with anonymous, easy-to-use feedback channels like pulse surveys that let you frequently track employee sentiment without forcing team members to spend dozens of minutes wading through a lengthy questionnaire. And for all the thoughts and insights employees have in the interim between surveys, you can use real-time, always-on channels like AI-driven HR chatbots, so team members can express their voice whenever they have something to say.
The advantages of building an employee reward system
Now you’ve got a solid understanding of how to develop an employee reward system, but what about the why? Simply put, a cohesive, well-put-together reward system that consistently provides personalized recognition is far more effective at boosting the factors that lead to employee and organizational success, like engagement, retention, and productivity. According to Achievers’ 2022 State of Recognition Report, these are just a few of the benefits that come with effective recognition and rewards:
- Over half of employees say that they’d feel the negative impact of a salary freeze less if they felt recognized for their efforts.
- Two-thirds state that feeling recognized would make them less likely to job hunt.
- Weekly recognition almost doubles productivity, engagement, belonging, and employee advocacy when compared to employees who receive only an average amount of recognition.
How to choose an employee reward system platform
While building an employee reward system that delivers these results might sound like an incredibly involved endeavor, it doesn’t have to be. There are employee recognition and reward platforms that streamline the entire process and are designed to empower every team member with the ability to reward their colleagues.
When selecting your recognition and reward solution, first ensure that it offers the basics: top-notch security, a mobile-first design philosophy, and compatibility with the tools your employees use every day, including core HR systems. Then evaluate it for those features that will elevate your employee reward system: the ability to combine social recognition with reward points, a centralized space to publicize each moment of recognition at your company, and a rewards marketplace filled with a huge range of brand-name gifts and incredible experiences. Finally, see if it has the capabilities needed to constantly accelerate the impact of recognition and rewards at your company, like real-time reporting on participation in your recognition program, a user experience that makes rewarding others fun and engaging, and the ability to explicitly tie recognitions to key company values.
Develop an impactful employee reward system with Achievers
Luckily, you’re already in the right place for finding a platform to supercharge your organization’s employee recognition system. The Achievers Employee Experience Platform includes Achievers Recognize, a recognition and reward solution that includes all the incredible features listed above — and more. It also includes Achievers Listen, an integrated employee engagement platform that ensures you’ll always know what team members are thinking about your recognition and reward program and other key drivers of success at your company.