An awards and recognition program was one of the most exciting employee engagement ideas your team came up with this year, but excitement is quickly turning to panic as you begin to put it all into place. You’re not alone.
We’ve compiled some questions you should ask as you get organized. Work your way through these, (to build your to-do list) for a rewards program that’s ready to launch in no time.
Employee Rewards Program
1. What Will You Recognize and Reward?
You’ll need to be clear on what you’re rewarding if your program is going to do the things you hope and reinforce the goals of your organization.
Eligibility levels should be clear. Will you be recognizing length of service? How many years of service are required before an award is earned? Consider threshold levels that are realistic: Has anyone ever stayed more than 10 years?
For greatest impact, recognition should come close in timing to the behaviour that earned it. So how do you acknowledge that employee in customer service who went out of his way to satisfy or retain a valued customer? How about when a customer mentions an outstanding experience, and the worker who made it happen?
Maybe safety is important enough to recognize. Or if you’re trying to entice employees to stay active and healthier, maybe rewards for fitness or participation would be appropriate. How will you track progress for individual workers, or for their department as a whole?
Would it make sense to establish an “Employee of the Month” (quarter, year) award? How about rewarding efficiency or sales achievements?
Having the parameters of your program spelled out is important to running a program that’s viewed as consistent and to avoiding accusations of favouritism.
2. Who gets an award? Who makes the award?
Who exactly will be rewarded through your program?
This is the eligibility issue. You might think this would flow naturally from pin-pointing the behaviours or achievements to recognize, but it’s amazing how many details there can be here.
For instance, is the program open to students or part-time employees? How about interns? What about repeating an award for the same employee – what are the rules there? Is this a management tool only, or can workers recognize each other? A manager’s perspective on recognition will likely be different than a worker’s. This will likely differ from manager to manager as well. For consistency sake, guidelines and standards must be crystal clear.
3. Have you chosen award items that will motivate your employees?
This is the proverbial carrot. Award items come in all shapes, sizes and quality levels. With a diverse workplace, what motivates one employee may not do it for another. Choice and flexibility can help with that.
What you know about your staff will help when you identify what workers actually want. Is it plaques, pins, gift cards, apparel, or certificates? Can employees see what the reward items are? How?
You’ll need to map award items to achievement categories. Which awards are available for which achievements, which anniversaries, and should these differ by location?
4. How much should you spend?
The industry standard for employer spending across recognition programs is roughly 1-2% of payroll annually. For tenor awards, $25 per year of service is typically spent. Either way, deciding on spending levels in advance is key. Uncontrolled spending is a no-no, for a rewards program as with anything else.
Then you’ll need some metrics on activity. How is the program doing? Is it being used? Who should collect that information, and where? Who can have access to the data? Who needs a report?
5. How will you order and store reward items?
Now you’re wading into the waters of logistics.
No matter how clear you think you’re being about your recognition program, if you’re not controlling awards items themselves, there’s room for abuse. If allowed to, people will set their own standards and order in a way that suits them.
So, you’ll need to order all your awards items, then warehouse them, right? Not necessarily. There are certainly options here. For instance, an online company store provides an efficient way to order pre-approved awards items and, in many cases, eliminate the need to keep inventory at all. Orders are fulfilled using a network to ease shipping across major distances.
6. How will you share information about your rewards program?
Your program can’t reach and motivate workers if they don’t know about it, including how to use it properly. What about down the road when there are announcements, updates, or changes?
You’ll need a clear set of messages that explain what the program is and how it works, for everyone involved. You’ll want to choose methods that are well suited to your “audience” – possibly reaching out to multiple locations or a dealer network.
The bottom Line
Setting up rewards programs can be complex, but it needn’t be panic-inducing. By working your way through these questions you’ll map out how you want your program to look and function.
For many companies the answer to these questions – and the ticket to success – is the use of an online company store to bring a rewards and recognition program to life.
An online company store can be set up as a permission-based tool for ordering, reporting and paying for products. Centrally-controlled awards budgets can be allocated by department, branch, location, or partner.
When marketing programs are run from a single source, the store serves as your hub: an up-to-date tool that houses the rules of the game including FAQs, documents, tutorials, award levels, and of course, your catalogue of award items.
Proforma SI can work with you to design and deliver a successful reward and recognition program. Our convenient, cost-effective online platform allows you to leverage technology but retain complete control of a program you design. Download the eBook to find out how we bring it all together so you can ‘set it and forget it’!