Rewards show you care, which helps motivate employees.
Work is called work for a reason. It is the opposite of play. In unengaged workplaces, it can be seen as something you have to do (to pay the bills) versus something you want to do (for satisfaction and reward).
From the time we were children, incentives were used as a form of motivation for completing work (“if you clean up your room you can have some ice cream”). There’s a reason for this and that is, incentives work.
It all comes down to human needs.
If we told you a free coffee card or discount on personal auto insurance, offered through a company, was a basic human need, you’d laugh. But it all starts to make sense if you look at the most famous pyramid outside of Egypt.
Maslow’s Pyramid was created by a psychologist named Robert Maslow as a theory to describe the hierarchy of human needs. While it was written in 1943, Maslow’s findings continue to provide valuable insight around motivation.
Maslow found that there are basic physiological needs (food, shelter) and the need for security. But there are also more profound needs that drive human behaviour. This includes the need for belonging and esteem (feeling valued and respected).
Belonging and feeling valued are key motivators among workers. This helps explain why employee reward programs work as a recruitment tool, a retention and loyalty tool, and a tool for creating a strong, unified team. Let’s look at each.
1. Attracting employees.
As the population ages and more workers approach retirement, attracting the next generation of employees is critical.
Most companies work hard to ensure their salaries, health & wellness and vacation benefits are competitive. So, it is often the little things, like an employee discount program, a bonus day off on an employee’s birthday, or a micro-bonus system, that will tilt the scales in your favour when hiring.
2. Retaining employees and building loyalty.
When you find good employees, you want to keep them. Replacing an employee can be costly – with recruitment, retraining and onboarding expenses to consider. Plus, turnover results in lost knowledge and experience. Employee reward programs are a way you can show employees their hard work and efforts are appreciated. As with recruitment, such programs may also help you maintain an edge over your competitors.
3. Promoting belonging and community.
Perks, incentives and bonuses offered through an employee reward program can help build a sense of community and comradery in the workplace. This is especially true if these rewards are available to ALL employees, regardless of experience, position and skillset. When all employees reap the benefits, it gives them a common cause for celebration and helps to build a unified corporate culture.
While performance-based incentives for individuals or teams can provide a powerful source of motivation, they can risk alienating those who are not on the receiving end – and can act as a disincentive in some cases.
Get motivated as an employer.
There are a wide variety of employee loyalty programs available. Find one that works for your company and its employees. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complex (the easier the better!). In many cases, the value comes from the good will you build.