Know why you are rewarding 

If you’ve just been reading an excellent website all about rewards and suddenly spring into action, you will shock your employees, shock your bank manager and have a massive shock when it’s time to report on your returns. The strategy is everything.

1: Involve people

They say decisions shouldn’t be made in the boardroom. Calamity would be rewarding something near impossible or failing to see the bigger picture – why people fail. It might not be as simple as lacking a reward, but instead, training could be key. Keep an open mind and speak to your employees about what they need.

2. Don’t skimp to save

If the benefits outweigh the costs, you can do anything at all. Work out your margins properly and you can be the company who gives away a trip to Hawaii. What’s putting you off? Start small, but do start.

3. Prepare your managers

Managers aren’t always managers. Sometimes, they are the ‘do-ers’. Don’t let reward and recognition be another box to tick on their to do list. Make it a pleasure and show them how it should work. Giving back and seeing people flourish is why they excelled at management in the first place, so help reignite that spark.

4. Be prize savvy

Humans aren’t machines. What sets us alight one day is dull the next. Don’t treat saying thank you as a rinse and repeat exercise. Imagine if you got the same present every year? You’d be less enthused than accepting the gift from the person that just ‘get you’. There’s a whole industry around personalisation, gift cards that can be used anywhere, tickets for events and of course – surveys that ask what people want. Don’t be shy!

5. Be human 

A great automated reward platform is the stuff of dreams, but it’s never ‘all or nothing’. Some things warrant a company wide email, a quick stand up of applause in the office, a thank you on a post it or a call from the MD. Imagine the impact you can have when you genuinely give time and thought to someone.

6. Involve peer to peer

A reward landing on your desk from the MD is great – but something from your peers is better. Whether you pick up a peer to peer recognition platform or do something as simple as a monthly nomination, a thank you box or a shared notice board for achievements, creating thanks across the business costs next to nothing and can have a lasting impact on each employee.

7. Be consistent 

If it gets to August and you start to panic about the peak season, it’s easy to want your team just to knuckle down. You don’t have time to reward and recognise – right? In fact, this is just the time to start to look at rewards. Holidays are over or coming to an end, it’s the back to school feeling and in the depths of Autumn and Winter, it’s pretty easy to start to think about going on TotalJobs when nothing’s going well. Don’t be a fair weather supporter of your employees, remember that it’s when it’s most difficult for you to find the time, that it’s most important for them to hear that they matter.

8. Find what you can integrate

There are plenty of blogs with the 1000,001 ways to reward employees that you can get ideas from – but so many of these hint at a pretty poor working experience 99% of the time. If you think it’s quirky or interesting to ‘encourage employees to share their ideas’ as a reward instead of ‘as standard’ or a treat to ‘wear a pair of jeans’ – perhaps you need to think about how to integrate this into your working life as it stands. It’s all sector dependent, but if denim is a reward, it might be time to re-assess…

9. Reward healthy behaviour

Your employee can live and breathe your values, but when they get home, they need to live and breathe family life, whatever that looks like for them. Be careful to reward good behaviour, not burn out behaviour. A one off of staying late is a lifesaver. When someone feels that each month they have to pull in extra hours just to be recognised, you’re doing something wrong.

10. Reward the value

It’s easy to say thanks for someone’s time, effort, skill. What’s a bit harder is showing results. Can you share a customer’s experience that was improved because of a colleague’s behaviour? Whether that’s the fact they had a delivery for a birthday or they managed to save a large account, prevent fraud, save money, time or anything else, making a parallel between the ‘outside World’ and the internal processes can be an extremely power reward.