According to a recent Gallup poll, only 34 percent of American workers describe themselves as engaged in their work. That leaves 53 percent unengaged, and 13 percent actively disengaged and ready to act out in ways that can hurt their employers.
These are pretty dismal findings, but the good news is that plenty can be done to re-engage employees in their work. Scholars have found that short-term incentive programs and bonuses have the biggest impact on engagement, while long-term systems (like your benefits package) have the least impact.
If you’re in charge of building your company's employee recognition program, you’ve been given a crucial job. Gallup’s polling has also found that the businesses with the highest employee engagement significantly outperform companies with disengaged workers: They’re a whopping 400 percent more successful!
Building an Employee Recognition Program
Recognition is so important in building engagement and boosting morale that you don’t want to delay. Since short-term incentives have proven to be successful, focus on easy ways you can award great work right now, instead of trying to build a complex system of score-keeping, award tiers or a miniature rewards economy at the outset.
As you consider different types of rewards, be sure to choose something that meshes with your company’s brand as well as the personalities and needs of your employees. If you have a multi-national organization, be sure to include the entire organization by developing a global employee recognition program that provides culturally appropriate recognition awards fulfilled from within the country where you have a presence. This will ensure that your global employees will feel the personalized attention of your recognition program. Remember, the goal is to make gifting as human as possible to let your employees know that you value them as people, not just cogs in your company’s machine.
Try these ideas to get started:
1. Coffee Breaks
Everyone loves a latte (or a warm cup of tea), so one of quickest rewards to give is a gift card to a nearby coffee shop. Tune in to office culture to decide where you stand on the Starbuck’s vs. Dunkin’s debate, or support a local café instead. Choose a place with great snacks, and you’ve got a gift everyone will want.
Best For: Celebrating workers who crave a caffeinated productivity boost. This is a pretty universally loved reward!
2. Wellness Passes
Wellness perks are popular additions to employee benefits packages, but they also work well as one-off rewards. Consider offering passes to a local yoga studio, Crossfit gym or other fitness center. Meditation classes and float tank sessions are also great choices to help workers unwind.
Best For: Acknowledging completion of a long, stressful project. This is also great for people who are already into health and wellness because it lets then know you value their journey.
3. Productivity Boosters
There’s definitely something to be said for the power of a tangible gift that you hand to an employee in person. They’re even better when they make a difference in day-to-day life. Insulated water bottles and coffee mugs make perfect gifts for the office. So do useful desk accessories like a great pen, noise canceling headphones or cushiony floor mats to reduce joint strain. You know your office best, so choose something that will really work for your workers.
Best For: Generating buzz in the office as people start to see the rewards in use. It’s also a great way to support workers in their daily efforts!
4. Adventures and Experiences
An impressive 78 percent of Millennials would rather have experiences than things, so honor your younger employees’ preferences with rewards that speak to them. Try recognizing achievement with pre-paid adventures at the rock climbing gym or a few rounds of classes at a local ceramics studio. It’s best to offer several choices that appeal to different abilities and interests.
Best For: Getting younger workers excited about your company culture. Some experiences can also double as team-building events for a group.
5. Charitable Donations
Some people are minimalists and don’t want stuff. Others are passionate about a particular cause. And most people would like to be able to give more to their favorite charities than they do. A reward in the form of a donation to a preferred charity is a great way to appeal to a broad swath of workers while building strong community ties.
Best For: A prize for a short-term contest or challenge where employees know they’re vying on behalf of their favorite charity. This is also always a great idea to include on a menu of reward options.
6. Reward Travel
Reward trips to an amazing location are hugely popular incentives. Who wouldn’t want to hit a tropical resort or enjoy a cabin in the mountains to get away from it all? Travel rewards don’t have to be exotic to be effective. As long as the trip is paid for and offers relaxation in a pretty location, people will want to do it.
Best For: An earned reward for top performance over a designated time period or for a specific project. Travel is usually the top prize in an organization, so be sure to use it as an incentive to drive productivity.
If you’re excited about all the possibilities but feeling a little overwhelmed about getting started, don’t worry! CoreCentive has everything you need to deliver amazing gifts, experiences, trips and even charitable donations to deserving members of your team. With millions of gifts and the ability to bring culturally appropriate and meaningful awards to over 150 countries, it’s never been easier to build an employee rewards program that gets results.