employee rewards program budget
Mar 22'

Reward Programs for Employees That Won’t Bust Your Budget

Right now we’re all looking for ways to keep our teams more engaged. Employee rewards programs are a great place to start. Proven to help motivate staff, boost engagement and improve retention - they can be a hugely effective tool for HR teams working in the current climate. 

So what’s the catch? 

Like everything else in life, budget is an issue that cannot be ignored. There’s a common misconception out there that you have to spend big in order to have an effective program. But the good news is that you don’t have to spend big in order to have a big impact. In fact, companies can achieve some exceptional results without breaking the bank.

employee rewards program

Here comes the science bit

Before discussing dollars and cents we should first explore the psychology behind employee rewards and recognition in order to understand what makes it so effective. 

You see, we’re all hardwired to respond to recognition. It’s a basic human need. One that causes a physiological reaction that releases dopamine into our brains. Dopamine, for those of you who don't have a textbook handy, is often called the “happy hormone” because of the fact that it stimulates the parts of the brain that creates positive emotions like satisfaction and enjoyment. 

The thing is that the value of a reward doesn’t necessarily correlate with its psychological impact, instead, it’s the act itself that’s the primary factor in our psychological response. 

the pyschology of an employee rewards program

Achieving big results on a budget 

It doesn’t matter how big your budget is, it’s what you do with it that counts. So for those looking to achieve maximum results with minimum impact on your bottom line, here are a few ideas to help you deliver an impactful recognition program on a budget. 

Money isn’t the only motivator

They say that cash is king, but Google, the tech giant that’s regularly recognized as one of the world’s best places to work, have found that money alone doesn’t motivate staff. In fact, the company discovered that cash incentives actually made people less happy while rewards like gifts or experiences were far more effective at motivating its people.

So instead of rewarding your staff with cold hard cash, why not give them something they’ll remember? Whatever you choose doesn't have to cost the earth, all you need is a little creativity and you can create one-of-a-kind experiences that don't cost a single penny to implement. 

One of our favourite examples comes from one of our clients, that runs a regular competition where a top performer can win the chance to have the company CEO come and wash their car for them. It’s an example of the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that can create truly memorable rewards. 

boss washes employees car

Leverage the power of peer recognition in your employee rewards program

By far one of the most popular trends in employee rewards programs over recent months has been the rise of peer-to-peer recognition. Put simply, this incredibly effective technique empowers everyone, not just managers, to recognize each others’ achievements.  

It may sound like a small change but it can add up to make a big difference. That’s because peer recognition amplifies the emotional response that people feel when they’re being rewarded. So instead of receiving recognition from an individual, they’re getting it from an entire team. This means that the reward means more, even if its dollar value is actually less.

Give them something tangible 

For years bosses have been using employee rewards programs in order to build a strong culture and create happy, motivated employees. But since the onset of COVID-19 and the rapid shift towards remote working, gifting has become more important than ever. 

The reason for the enduring popularity of this kind of reward is because it’s tangible and employees can easily see how it adds something to their lives. In our remote world, this kind of physical gifting also adds a personal touch that can help to create connections even when your workforce is spread far and wide. 

Best of all you don't have to spend big on gifts in order for them to have a big impact. Indeed the old adage that “it’s the thought that counts” really comes into play here. Some of the best examples we’ve seen are where our clients really take the time to tailor a gift to the person who’s receiving it. In one company, an employee who’d recently gone on paternity leave was rewarded with a month’s supply of recipe boxes to help make life at home a little easier. In another, a dedicated coffee fan was rewarded with a year’s subscription to a bean delivery service. 

coffee as an employee reward

Employee rewards programs that are here to help 

Creating an employee rewards and recognition program that extracts maximum value from your budget is easy to set up, especially if you adopt employee reward and recognition software like Bucketlist. 

Bucketlist’s employee rewards program is customizable to your business, making it easy and fun for managers to recognize and reward your peoples’ milestones, achievements and hard work. 

To find out more visit https://bucketlistrewards.com/product. Alternatively, you can contact us for a free demo to find out how Bucketlist’s employee reward and recognition software can help you keep your workers happy and engaged. 

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