6 Corporate Rewards Programs to Reward and Engage Your Team

Date: September 15, 2021
corporate culture

When you hire employees, it’s an exciting time of growth. You look forward to seeing how your new team members will contribute to the company’s overall success and expect them to stay for some time. But this isn't always the case. You may find employees who lack motivation at work or lose interest along the way. 

To retain talent, you should focus on keeping employees engaged and motivated. One of the best ways to do this is by introducing corporate rewards and recognition programs to show appreciation and create incentives for your employees based on their achievement, contribution, and impact on the organization. 

Well-thought-out employee recognition programs boost employee morale and promote healthy company culture. However, with so many incentive programs out there, finding the right one for your organization can be challenging. Read on to discover the most impactful recognition programs to engage employees and improve the employee experience.

How a Corporate Rewards Program Helps Motivate Employees 

Rewards and recognition (R&R) programs go a long way in retaining employees and boosting employee engagement. A well-planned, dynamic rewards and recognition program can help create a positive work atmosphere. A recent study shows that employees who received awards supported their organization more than those who did not receive recognition. The rewards motivated employees to keep focused and reach their goals. Some of the benefits of employee recognition programs include:

  • Higher employee retention rates
  • Boosts employee engagement 
  • Promotes a supportive company culture 
  • Increases productivity and growth
  • Greater collaboration among the team
  • Employees enjoy the workplace 
  • Employees are motivated by friendly competition 

When employees remain motivated, there can be tremendous growth within the organization. Continuous motivation drives employees to do the right thing, increasing performance in a strong and inclusive workplace culture. However, what might work for a smaller organization may not work for a corporate organization. Hence, it’s important to carefully plan and customize your organization’s corporate rewards program so that employees stay motivated to perform better.

6 Corporate Rewards Program Ideas 

The concept of incentive programs is much more than just monetary awards (although it is one!). To remain competitive in today’s job market, employers should explore multiple strategies to keep employees engaged and motivated. Here are some reward and recognition ideas that employees love.

Peer to-Peer Recognition 

Peer-to-peer recognition is a special type of employee recognition because instead of the recognition coming solely from leadership, employees are encouraged to recognize each other. It’s a great way to boost morale, improve camaraderie, and identify team players.

Peer-to-peer recognition doesn’t have to be overly formal to be successful. A simple online platform to shout out colleagues for lending a hand or a job well done could be all it takes to solidify this practice as part of your company culture. If this is a new practice for your team, encourage management to lead by example and kick it off.

Reward Employees for Milestones 

When employees complete a project, or any activity that adds value to your business, recognizing them for a job well done can radiate positivity. It is best to reward them immediately before you move on to the next project. This shows employees that their time and effort are recognized and don’t go unnoticed. The types of awards here could be paid time off, restaurant coupons, or gift cards. Milestone rewards boost employee experience, morale, and engagement.

Work Anniversary Recognition 

Recognizing employees' work anniversaries shows that you recognize the value of their tenure at your organization. Using an automated platform can easily do the job for you, so you never have to worry about missing a team member’s special day.

Celebrate Small Achievements 

Recognizing employees is not only about celebrating the big wins. Even small achievements deserve recognition, and doing so could encourage them to put in more effort and accomplish more. You can celebrate employees' small achievements after meeting 30-day goals, tackling tough tasks, helping others, or hacking productivity. 

Inclusivity Across All Employees 

When planning to award and recognize your employees, make the conscious effort to involve everyone within the organization. Every individual, team, and work location must have an equal opportunity to participate in the program. Inclusive workplaces make all employees feel equally important and valuable. 

Experiential Rewards 

Experiential rewards mean gifting an experience to your employees. This may include sporting events, special dining, movies, travel, concerts, exclusive training workshops, and cultural activities – among other rewards. There are many unique experiences to choose from to keep it interesting.

Experiential awards are an exciting way to increase employee engagement. These types of rewards often exceed employee expectations, improve the employee experience, and motivate them to keep performance up. 

This could be a good opportunity to include your employees’ family members or significant others, who they work so hard for. When you give your employees a memorable experience like a company-sponsored trip or tickets to see their favorite artist live, you’re giving them memories to last a lifetime. While experiential rewards may be more costly than issuing a transactional or monetary reward, it has the potential to create a lasting impression of your employer brand.

6 Steps to Design a Successful Corporate Rewards and Recognition Program 

Designing well-thought modern employee recognition programs might seem daunting at first, but with the right tools at your fingertips, it can actually be quite simple – and fun! Below is a step-by-step guide to creating a successful corporate rewards program. 

Understand How Your Employees Feel

Your team is your most valuable asset, so why not ask them how they feel? Conducting an internal survey can provide the feedback you need to create a successful program. This will give you a clear view of how your employees feel about their work, their colleagues, and the organization as a whole. 

You can also use the survey to gauge your employees' mental health, overall experience, and preferences.. Once you understand how your employees like to be recognized and rewarded, you’ll be able to design a program that’s easy, effective, and appropriate. 

Determine the Channels for Your Corporate Rewards Program 

Now that you know how satisfied your employees are at work and have an idea about how you can make them happier, let’s look at the different channels you can use as part of your R&R initiative.

  • Public channels- Post employees' achievements publically on your website, newsletter, or social media pages to celebrate their achievements. 
  • Private recognition- A senior executive or HR professional can share thoughtful notes appreciating employees privately for their exemplary performances. 
  • Monetary rewards- Gift hampers, training programs, pay increases, paid vacations, lunch treats, and sporting events are some favorite monetary awards. 
  • Job promotion- An internal promotion to recognize an employee's hard work and dedication increases employee morale – not only for the promoted employee excited about their new role, but it may also motivate other employees to see that leadership likes to promote from within.

It'd be best to determine which channels employees are comfortable with through your internal survey. For instance, some employees are okay with public announcements, while others prefer a more private approach.

Work Out the Criteria and Frequency for Rewarding and Recognizing Employees 

When determining the frequency of rewards and recognition, it’s important to be consistent and involve employees in the decision. Ask them what moments or accomplishments warrant recognition and stick to it across the board. Goal completion and work anniversaries are a great place to start. Additionally, look for the meaningful moments unique to your organization that are worth celebrating.

Plan the Budget for Your Corporate Rewards Program 

Create a corporate rewards budget based on the size of your organization, frequency of recognition, and types of rewards for different achievements. The employee survey you conducted in the first step can help you decide on the incentives – ones that will motivate employees to work toward getting rewarded. You can also plan rewards that are in line with your corporate culture and promote organizational values. As an example, if your organization has a learning culture, you may include a sponsored new skill training as a reward. 

Keep in mind you want to be consistent and fair across the board, so make sure you allocate an appropriate and sustainable budget that will keep your program running for the long-term. A short-lived rewards program that only certain employees are able to reap the benefits of because it wasn’t budgeted for properly can have an adverse effect on company morale. 

Communicate about the R&R program 

When you’re ready to roll out your R&R program‌, it’s time to create awareness. Announce the program through multiple channels – verbally at a company meeting, outline the program in a company-wide email, or even hang up posters communicating the details. Transparency and clarity in explaining the rules for rewards and which achievements will be recognized shows you are being sincere and fair with your initiative. You can also encourage project managers and team leaders to promote the program.

Evaluate the Success of the Program 

Once implemented, analyze the program. To understand its effectiveness, gauge employee satisfaction once again through feedback surveys. Measure employee performance and progress as well to see if the corporate rewards program is actually helping employees perform better. Then, use these insights to make the necessary changes or try a new method.

An Employee Rewards Program can Boost Employee Engagement

Celebrating employee milestones and achievements can dramatically improve employee engagement and retain talent. Reward and recognition reinforce behaviors aligned with your organization's core values, enhancing company culture and improving performance at the same time. An effective corporate rewards program is a win-win for employees and employers alike.

Creating an effective corporate rewards program is now easier than ever with employee recognition software. Technology today can support HR professionals in their R&R efforts by automating processes, increasing transparency, and ensuring timely execution of rewards and recognition.If you’re curious about what this type of support could look like for your team, check out Bucketlist Rewards. We provide quality rewards and recognition software that can be customized to your needs and help you achieve your R&R goals in real-time. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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