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20 Feb 2024

How reward and recognition can help transform a workforce

Recognition and reward needs to be delivered differently – and can result in a high-performing, resilient and sustainable workforce

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Reward and recognition strategies have long been a cornerstone of strong employee engagement, performance and retention, but how programmes are delivered is changing.

Before Covid-19 cast its shadow over the modern workplace, many reward and recognition strategies relied on face-to-face interactions. Employee appreciation was often spontaneous, tangible and visible, whether it was physical awards or events, an all-hands meeting to celebrate sales or cake in the breakroom for someone’s birthday.

In a hybrid business environment (against the backdrop of stagnating wages and growing recruitment and retention challenges), reward and recognition strategies must adapt to suit today’s workforce needs and acknowledge sustainability efforts.

Shifting expectations

Here are just some of the ways expectations around employee recognition are changing:

  • Timeliness is key. You should still consider rewarding employees in the moment, whether they’re working from home, in the office, or splitting their time between. No good deed should go unseen. Remote and hybrid workers shouldn’t feel overlooked when praise is handed out. This can be digital shout-outs, rewards via a benefits platform, or acknowledgement across the company’s communications channels.
  • Your rewards programme should enhance motivation, morale and wellbeing alongside existing perks and benefits. One study found that employees who feel recognised enjoy an 89% higher sense of drive and determination. Furthermore, employee appreciation can help reduce stress levels and increase job satisfaction, with 73% less likely to feel burned out when recognition is offered.
  • Rewards and recognition should closely align with progressive company values and sustainability initiatives to encourage and amplify positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) actions. Employees want to work for purpose-driven organisations. Research by IBM found that 68% of potential employees are more likely to apply for a job with an organisation they consider to be environmentally sustainable.

Modernise rewards and embed company values

It’s important to have a relevant programme for the hybrid working era to meet evolving employee expectations of rewards and recognition and reap the benefits of a more engaged and motivated workforce.

Here are five questions to consider when looking to modernising your reward and recognition programme:

1. Does it have clearly defined criteria?

It’s vital to outline the types of actions and behaviours you’re looking to reward via your programme. That way, everyone is on the same page with reward and recognition, and there’s complete transparency, fairness and consistency throughout the organisation.

2. Does it align with your company’s values?

Your rewards programme is a great opportunity to meet sustainability targets while encouraging staff to embrace company values. For example, you could reward employees who implement energy conservation measures or spearhead community outreach programmes.

3. Are peers able to recognise smaller actions?

In the age of hybrid working, sometimes small yet meaningful acts can fly under the radar simply because they happen online. Ensure your rewards platform allows staff to recognise and celebrate their colleagues. Small gestures can have a huge impact on teamwork and morale.

4. Are your goals realistic?

Lofty and ambitious goals are to be admired, but if they can’t be realistically achieved it can lead to employee discouragement and demotivation. Ensure you’re not setting your employees up for failure when designing your rewards programme.

5. Do you offer alternatives to monetary rewards?

Vouchers are a popular choice for employee rewards, but green alternatives could help you further underline your sustainability credentials. For instance, you can reward staff with a paid day off to volunteer with a charity, plant trees or contribute their time to an ESG project.

Elevate morale with an online reward platform

Whether someone’s gone above and beyond when hitting a deadline, shown kindness to a new start, or helped achieve a key ESG milestone, the importance of recognition hasn’t diminished. However, its delivery and implementation must adapt to changing working conditions, employee expectations and sustainability requirements.

Complementing those organic in-office moments with a relevant reward and recognition programme and a digital platform available to all, including dispersed teams, can significantly boost employee engagement, motivation and retention.

Flexible employee benefits platforms like FlexGenius, powered by Avantus, offer fully integrated reward and recognition modules, allowing organisations to roll out innovative and engaging reward programmes simply and efficiently, tailored to their workforce needs.

In partnership with Avantus

Flexible Benefits & Technology specialist providing online, highly configurable platforms to Customers and Intermediaries worldwide.

Contact us today