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Brad Callahan
Vice President, Business Solutions Group

3 Steps to Refresh Employee Rewards and Recognition Programs

is losing steam? Maybe you’ve
seen progress toward goals slowing, or you’ve
observed a lackluster response to program rewards. Or, perhaps, you feel your program seems a little out of date. Any
one of these observations become green
field opportunities to reenergize your program with simple refinements.

To get started, I’d
suggest three steps for fine tuning your program
so it continues to inspire your workforce toward organizational goals.

. We’ve been working
in this industry for a while, and find that managers tend to think about rewards and recognition as though they are one
and the same thing. Unfortunately, this error in thinking leads to the
inappropriate application of each preventing them from achieving their full
impact. So, let’s return to what we
don’t always put into practice when we talk about employee rewards and

and are given
when the employee or team has achieved a defined goal or milestone. They take many
forms: paper certificates;
(plastic or, increasingly, ecard) redeemable for merchandise, dining
out or an event; or pre-loaded debit cards. Whatever form they
take, rewards are tangible, conditional, transactional and outcome driven.

It’s the public acknowledgment
of achievement and elicits a “feel good” response from the
recipient(s). Interestingly, we’ve found
that the good feeling of recognition has a halo effect that spreads to other
employees, especially those working closely with the recipient.

also found that recognition becomes
amplified when it’s showcased via social
media, now commonly used to support of peer-to-peer recognition programs that
we, and many of our clients, have in

It’s possible that there
have been some shifts in the make-up of
in recent years. The most talked about is the growing influx of
millennials. Your workforce may also be experiencing some changes in diversity.

. When rewarding the millennials in your
workforce, go the extra mile to tailor rewards as closely as possible to the individual’s
interests. More than other generations, millennials
want to be
. The more  closely
your reward aligns with the employee as an individual, the greater its impact
will be.

As for
millennials’ desire for all things digital, we’re
seeing an explosion in items that appeal. From fitness trackers to digital rewards, like the option
to download whatever song they want, there’s
a vast array of digital options. Be sure
you have plenty in your rewards program. 

If your workforce demographic is shifting
toward the younger side, re-think how your organization delivers recognition. As a rule, younger workers are
very comfortable with having their efforts recognized publicly and less
formally. In fact, they seek it. Social media is a great way to deliver
recognition to millennials.

The other point to remember
is that more than other generations, younger workers expect instant and
frequent feedback on how they’re doing,
so a platform that enables the delivery of sincere,
timely and relevant recognition is important.

Are you ready now to step back and take another look at your
rewards and recognition programs? If you would
like another perspective or some fresh ideas, contact a
. Our solutions team has the experience and creativity to
ensure your program moves in the right direction to remain relevant.

“Best Practices for Designing and Maintaining a Program—Designing Employee
Recognition Programs.”
“How to Recognize and Reward Millennial Employees,” Jeremy Boudinet, May 30,