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Employee recognition schemes: top tips for success

You’re paying your staff fairly. What more do they want? 

 
If your company takes this attitude to employee recognition schemes, it’s making an all-too-common mistake. The fine art of making your employees feel rewarded – beyond their payslip – shouldn’t be an optional afterthought, occasionally tossed into a contract to sweeten the deal. If you use employee recognition schemes consistently and effectively, you’ll see the far-reaching benefits right across your business.
 
The fact is that when it comes to recruitment, competition has never been more fierce. Your prospective employees aren’t the only ones who need to be looking over their shoulder – they might compete to work for you, but you’re going to be competing to keep them once they’re through the door. This makes employee recognition schemes one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal. 
 
By implementing systems that promote a positive culture and an enviable workplace at every level of your business – week in, week out – you can be confident that your efforts will be reflected in productivity. A yearly bonus or a Christmas hamper just won’t cut it.
 
Here are a few ways to rethink how you reward great work, creating employee recognition schemes that go beyond a box-ticking exercise to reward everyone involved…

1. Yell it from the rooftops!

Someone’s just managed to deliver a major project on time after single-handedly keeping it afloat for two months. How do you give them genuine recognition for going above and beyond? 

The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re not just firing off a direct ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ email. This shows the bare minimum of gratitude and you can be sure it won’t motivate them (or indeed anyone else) to work similarly hard next time around.
 
But equally, you can do better than ccing the rest of the team, or even quietly inserting an extra few hundred quid into the person’s next pay packet. Think about how you can incorporate structured, workplace-wide recognition into your business instead.
 
At the next quarterly meeting, could you hold an awards ceremony? Not only are vouchers or other financial bonuses all suitable prizes, but you never know what public validation could do for an employee’s self-esteem – not to mention their relationship with their colleagues or their future promotion prospects.

2. Reward work regularly

There’s nothing wrong with a good old bonus to boost an employee’s bank balance in reward for their hard work – so don’t assume that you need to go replacing financial incentives with spa days or steak vouchers.
 
But whatever you’re handing out, think about how the current timeframe might impact motivation. If bonuses are given on a once-a-year basis, how much is someone working their socks off in April really going to be driven by the nebulous possibility of a cash boost the following January?
 
Changing the structure of your employee recognition scheme to be more frequent will make the link between work and reward feel much more direct – and you’ll see the tangible benefits of recognising employees much faster too. Hard work is much less likely to be forgotten if it’s recognised immediately.
It’s not as simple as seeing who’s worked the hardest and rewarding them accordingly. Think about the context – how did they achieve the result?

3. What messages are we sending?

If someone’s been staying daily until 9pm in order to get something across the finish line, rewarding them could promote an unhealthy work-life balance. The last thing you want is all your employees thinking it’s necessary to do the same. Before you know it your office culture will have deteriorated and staff retention rates will begin to fall.
 
Instead, try rethinking your approach to rewards by tying them more closely to your company’s values. Who has worked in a way that really reflects your mission statement? If someone has supported colleagues, had a revolutionary idea or worked truly proactively, these are the things that deserve to be spotlighted. 

4. Recognise everyone equallty

We don’t mean you should start blindly handing out rewards regardless of whether employees have earned them. 
But there are few things more likely to spark resentment than an office where visible teams get recognition and those under the radar don’t. So if your sales representatives are popping a bottle of bubbly every Friday while the basement IT team go home empty-handed two hours later, it’s time for a rethink. 
 
No matter how varied the work done in your organisation is, it’s possible to put a structured recognition scheme in place that rewards anything outstanding. So scrap the spontaneous treats unless they’re office-wide, and don’t just use numbers to measure achievement. 

5. Use our engagement and wellbeing platform

Once you’ve got a solid employee recognition scheme in place, it’s important to find a way to make staff feel rewarded even after an ordinary day’s work. Our unique engagement and wellbeing platform will help your employees to make their salaries go the extra mile – via the perks and savings they’ll get on shopping, dining, fashion and entertainment from our iBenefits app. 
 
It’s sure to boost engagement and retention – not to mention your brand as an employer – and it’s just one of the ways we ensure your staff are supported from recruitment to retirement.