From childhood, we are all taught to understand the importance of a reward system, and, even though we might no longer require inducement to get out of bed or eat all our dinner, we still like to receive recognition for a job well done.
In the workplace, a defined reward system is an indication to your employees that you recognise their hard work and are willing to give praise where it is due. In turn, this leads to improved motivation and greater productivity. Staff will be happier at work because their morale is high, cultivating a positive company culture throughout every level of the business.
As part of your HR strategy, you should implement such a system in order to focus on compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation. This doesn't mean that you have to break the bank with lavish gifts or trips, either; if you are a small business, for instance, something as simple as snacks in the kitchen or a few drinks on a Friday afternoon can go a long way towards fostering team spirit and loyalty. The process can be cyclical, too: the more profit you make, the more you can give back to your employees, and the more energy they will put into their work.
To provide some guidance on how to reward your employees for a job well done, we've compiled a brief list of ways in which you can show your appreciation.
Customise the Reward
As with all things in life, everybody has different tastes. Rewarding staff with a bottle of wine is a nice gesture, but not everybody drinks alcohol; likewise, employee X might be thrilled with a bouquet of flowers, but employee Y might throw them in the bin on the way out.
Therefore, the easiest to provide a reward that will be appreciated is to ask. It's also a great excuse to get to know your workers a little better and find out what their interests and hobbies are.
Keep a list close at hand so when an employee has done something extra special that deserves individual recognition, you can show your appreciation with a reward you know they will love.
Look out for Their Health
An excellent way to show employees that you are interested in their wellbeing – both on a physical and psychological level – is to offer healthy snacks at the office, as well as gym memberships, massages and anything else you can think of to promote their health.
The benefits of doing this are two-fold, as well. When employees eat healthily and are of fit body and mind, they are able to work more productively. You can offer special gifts as rewards, too, such as spa vouchers or personal trainer classes.
As well as ensuring you have a happy and healthy workforce, it will also make your employees feel like you care. This is especially important to millennial and Gen Z workers, who place a greater emphasis on incorporating nutrition and exercise into their work-life balance.
Put on a Monthly Activity
At the end of the month, most employees are just happy to see their paycheque, but you can make things a little more interesting by offering your team an end of month activity if they meet a specific target.
Clarify what the goal is at the start of the month and if it is met by payday, promise to take them out to participate in the activity. Again, you can kill two birds here: pick something that, while fun, is conducive to team building, such as paintballing, escape rooms or rock climbing. Ensure that it is safe and inclusive, though, and that it is something that everybody in your team is able and happy to participate in.
Offer Paid Leave
Everybody needs time off work to recharge their batteries and concentrate on their family or their personal goals, and while all companies offer a certain number of days off a year, sometimes it just isn't enough. Therefore, the incentive of extra paid days off is a great reward and one that everybody can work towards.
If you have the budget, these extra days off can also include trips or special activities that the company will arrange and pay for, such as buying tickets for an employee and their family to attend a theme park. Rewards such as this are a great way of building loyalty and showing that you are sincere about recognising hard work, ensuring a successful retention strategy in the long term.
Name and Fame
Sometimes, material recompense takes second place to simple recognition; if you don't have the budget for lavish gifts, but still want to show your appreciation, then why not get a plaque and put it up in the office?
Many companies operate similar schemes, such as a designated wall where 'employees of the month' are proudly displayed. Shower your praise externally, too; tell everyone you have the best employees in the business by bragging about them on social media. This approach encourages higher standards, as employees will all want their own place on the wall of fame.
Provide Custom-Made Goods
Most of us have our own coffee mugs at work so, as a boss, why not offer custom made and personalised mugs to staff members as a reward?
Of course, if someone is working late every night and throwing their blood, sweat and tears into a particular project, then a mug is probably a rather underwhelming way of saying "thank you". However, for meeting small goals and targets, it is a perfect way to show your appreciation. It is something the employee will use at work, too, so it acts as a constant reminder that you will always reward them for their hard work and application.
It doesn't just have to be a mug, either. Other personalised gifts could include t-shirts with unique prints, keychains with photos of their family members, mousepads with things they often say on them or playful pens with their names on them. All of these things can be used in the office, and are relatively inexpensive.
Take Everyone Out
All work and no play makes anyone a dull person, and dullness is the enemy of innovation. Therefore, help employees to break out of their daily routine by taking them away on a day trip.
Just make sure that they know that the trip is a reward for a job well done. You can incorporate a team-building element into it if you want, but the key thing is that your employees enjoy themselves and don't worry about work for that one day. Whether it's an all-expenses-paid day at a resort, a trip to the beach or something off the beaten path, it will raise morale and allow your employees to de-stress.
How do you reward and recognise your employees for good work? Let us know your suggestions and ideas in the comments below.