employee dreams
Nov 22'

Making Employee Dreams Come True Through Personalized Rewards and Recognition

We’ve all heard of the “Great Resignation” and the “Great Reshuffle”; concepts describing this global pattern of employees leaving their current role for one that aligns more closely with their lifestyles and values. Along with the trend of Quiet Quitting and the rise in popularity of remote work, it’s clear that there’s been a shift in priorities. People are placing more importance on personal relationships, wellbeing, and dreams: 

  • 47% of people are more likely to put family and personal life over work than they were before the pandemic 
  • 53% of people are more likely to prioritize their health and wellbeing over work than before the pandemic 
  • “Quiet quitters” make up at least 50% of American workers. And this trend of not going above and beyond at their jobs and merely meeting their job description is here to stay.

What does this mean? First, employers need to do more to motivate and retain their staff, or risk losing them altogether. Providing competitive salaries, great benefits that go beyond regular staff perks, and remote work options (where possible) are a given. 

But beyond that, employers need to create meaningful employee reward programs to help employees feel appreciated and fulfilled in their roles. 

The case for personalized rewards and recognition 

While employee reward programs are a great way to help your staff avoid burnout, recharge your team, and help them feel more fulfilled in their roles, employers can take things a step further with personalized rewards and recognition.

What are personalized rewards and recognition? They’re basically employee reward programs that are catered to each employee. With personalized employee rewards, employees can enjoy their rewards on their terms. 

According to ADP, personalized rewards and recognition puts power in employees’ hands and lets them decide what specific perks motivate them. Personalized employee rewards can fund things that matter to them most.

Platforms like Bucketlist Rewards can drive personalized rewards for employers and make it easier to implement rewards unique to individual staff members. Personalized rewards are a great way for employers to show that they care about their employees’ aspirations outside of work and help support employees to achieve their life goals and dreams outside of work too.

Let's look at a great example of personalized rewards in action!

Checking off Mike’s bucket list: All aboard the steam engine

At Bucketlist, one of our core values is “Achieving Life Goals”. This isn’t just limited to professional goals; in fact, we encourage people to work towards their life goals. One of the ways we do this is through our Bucketlist Benefit, which is a yearly monetary fund that every team member gets to use towards checking items off their bucket list. Everyone also receives an additional day off each year that can be used to pursue their dreams. 

Here is a story about Mike, one of our Bucketlist engineers, and what he used his benefit for this year!

Trains have always been a part of Mike’s life because his father, John, loves them. John modelled trains in the basement, restored old rail cars, and operated miniature trains for fun. Every family vacation, or really, any chance he could, John would share his joy with the rest of his family. 

For that reason, when Mike created his bucket list earlier this year, he included a special surprise item that he knew would create a lasting memory for himself and his train-enthusiast father: a ride on a steam train.  

These days, finding a steam train to ride is not as easy as it sounds. The pandemic had put a halt to local operations, leaving Mike to expand his search to find the perfect opportunity. After much thought, he decided that the best place to go would be the Kettle Valley Steam Railroad in Summerland, BC. This had the added benefit that other members of the family could join in on the fun. And so, Mike began hatching a plan to make John’s upcoming birthday one to remember…

Executing the special bucket list surprise

Months ahead, Mike invited John to go on a trip together for his birthday. Very little details were shared, aside from the fact that he would need to pack an overnight bag. Imagine John’s surprise when he was told - the night before - that they would be taking an airplane! 

When their flight landed in Kelowna, Mike arranged for his son, Lucas, to meet them at the car rental location. As they approached the desk, Mike feigned astonishment as he exclaimed, “Hey, that person looks like Lucas!” 

John looked to where Mike was pointing and said, “So it does…Wait a minute, that IS Lucas!” Lucas played it coy and pretended that he had no idea what lay ahead for the day either. 

Next, they drove to Summerland for lunch and “bumped into” two additional grandchildren at the restaurant. No one gave away the surprise over the meal; it was quite a feat but everyone played their parts well. 

After lunch, they got back in the car and drove to Kettle Valley. Somehow, the family was able to navigate the trip and keep John distracted from finding out what was about to happen - especially when they were driving past signs with directions to the railroad. As they rounded the final corner, a steam train emerged from the desert and Mike heard a gasp from the seat beside him. 

Before the train trip began, the Rowling family explored the historical surroundings and Mike’s niece bought a train engineer’s hat for John to complete the look. They boarded the train and began the journey by listening to the sound of the big engine as it built up speed, enjoying the cool breeze in the open air rail car. The scenery was spectacular as they traveled over the Trout Creek trestle bridge.

At the midway point, the engine decoupled, turned around, and recoupled at the other end. The grandchildren had no idea that watching the engine couple to the passenger car would be so fascinating for John. He was happily explaining the mechanics in the hopes that one of them would catch the train bug! 

It’s safe to say that John had a wonderful birthday filled with pleasant surprises and wonderful memories. And now, Mike can cross another item off his bucket list. Steam train ride with Dad: Check ✅ 

“When I first started with Bucketlist, I was inspired by the Bucketlist Benefit to make my own personal bucket list. I started dreaming about how I would achieve these goals. The obvious item for me to focus on was the one involving my father - he is not getting any younger! It was an emotional trip and so special that we were able to include the grandchildren and pass on my father's passion for trains to another generation. I don't think any of us will ever forget our shared experience!” 

- Mike Rowling, VP of Engineering at Bucketlist Rewards

The main takeaways from Mike’s story

Showing employees you truly care is easier than you think, especially with an employee reward program. Personalized rewards and recognition have several benefits for employers:

  1. Increase employee retention and boost workplace morale as employees feel more appreciated
  2. Improve workplace culture by creating a whole-person workplace
  3. Helps build a work culture of trust and loyalty

Bucketlist tip for giving meaningful rewards: 

Giving your employees a reward that they can share with their loved ones is an impactful gift that goes a long way. And giving an experience as a gift is something that will create special memories that they can cherish together for years to come. When you take care of your people, it helps to build trust and loyalty between the employee and employer.

This is also a great employer branding strategy; those stories will forever be associated with the memory of an employer that genuinely cared about their personal lives and interests outside of work.   

If you would like to learn how to offer personalized and meaningful rewards for your team through Bucketlist Rewards' company recognition platform, book a free demo of the platform with us here. Our mission is to help you help your employees achieve their life dreams. 

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