Employee rewards programmes 

WorkBuzz helps you gather real-time feedback from your people and use this information to find the best ways to reward employees and get better engagement.

What are employee rewards programmes?


Sometimes referred to as reward and recognition programmes, employee rewards programmes incentivise workers with things like perks, benefits and progression opportunities. Importantly, employee rewards programmes usually lay outside the usual pay structure that is in place. Employee’s pay awards and terms and conditions are usually private, whereas a typical employee rewards programme will be public so that all the workers in it will know when and how one of their colleagues has received a reward. Sometimes, rewards might be paid bonuses but other things may be used to reward employees, too, such as extra annual leave, gift tokens or even something that is entirely cost-free, such as a personal email of thanks from the Chief Executive Officer, for instance.






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Why are employee rewards programmes useful?


One of the chief uses of employee rewards programmes is connected to employee engagement. In short, the more people feel they are rewarded – and recognised – for their work, the more likely they are to be engaged in it. This means that employees tend to work harder, come up with more ideas about how to work better and end up being more productive than they used to be. In other words, any company that wants more engaged workers should consider developing its own rewards programme. Employers may want to focus on a particular change management process and utilise a rewards programme to reward employees that progress towards the desired change. In other cases, employers might want to incentivise long service, which can be especially important in highly-skilled industries where recruitment and retention costs might be particularly high. If so, the employee rewards programme that the employer has in place might be designed to recognise workers as they pass certain milestones, such as three, five and ten years of service, for example.


Another common use for an employee rewards programme is to improve staff morale. When workers’ morale is dipping, an incentive scheme like a rewards programme can lead to a significant upturn. This is particularly useful if you want members of staff to behave in a certain way because the rewards you offer in your programme can be tied to the work outcomes you would most like to see. For example, if morale has dipped because of a downturn in sales, then a rewards programme that incentivises new lead generation would be a good idea. If you want to improve inter-departmental cooperation in your organisation, then the rewards programme can be designed to promote better collaboration among your teams.


Of course, rewards programmes for employees can be a very tax-efficient way of rewarding workers, too. If your scheme involves raises or bonus payments, then these rewards will be subject to the usual personal taxation rules. However, in many cases rewards can be offered that have no tax implications whatsoever. For this reason, they offer a great deal of flexibility.

How can employers create meaningful rewards programmes?


One of the best things that employers can do to offer their workforce a meaningful rewards programme is to offer them the sorts of rewards and recognition that they would most appreciate. Emphatically, simply offering workers extra pay is not always the best option if it means little else changes. Some employees will want to see their reward as leading to career progression or greater recognition among senior managers. Others might prefer time off rather than a bonus but this will very much depend on the workplace culture that already exists.


Consequently, you will need to understand what your workers think and feel about any reward and recognition programme that may be introduced. Otherwise, you may simply bring one into existence that isn’t meaningful and leads to no discernible positive outcomes. Clearly, this would defeat the point of having one at all. Typically, businesses will survey their employees to see what they want. By conducting a company-wide feedback survey, it will be possible to quantify what the majority of employees would find most rewarding. Equally, employers can determine whether certain groups would appreciate different types of rewards. For instance, you can ask your sales team if they have a different attitude to rewards compared to production operatives and so on.

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What are the advantages of an employee rewards programme?


Enacting an employee rewards programme means employers can benefit from numerous aspects of improved employee behaviour. As previously mentioned, companies with such programmes tend to see better employee engagement and improved morale among workers. In addition, businesses, charities and government departments can all benefit from workers who are more likely to remain in their job roles. In other words, an employee rewards programme is a good way to reduce expenditure on recruitment and retention. After all, happier and better-rewarded employees often feel more loyal to their employer and are less likely to seek alternative employment opportunities with competitors.

Equally, employers can use rewards programmes to drive particular cultural changes they might want to see. For example, if you would like your organisation to be more engaged with your equality and diversity agenda, then you can offer rewards within your recognition programme that incentivise people to focus their efforts on it. Furthermore, staging awards ceremonies that recognise high-performing employees can create great opportunities for workers who might not usually meet one another to get together, an ideal team-building exercise.

How can WorkBuzz surveys help?


The online platform that WorkBuzz provides organisations of all sizes is ideal for understanding what employees think about rewards and recognition. It is a useful tool for both working out how a newly introduced employee rewards programme might work or for seeing what needs to be overhauled in the one that is currently in place. With quantified data, HR managers and others responsible for an employee rewards programme will be able to tailor their rewards to achieve specific outcomes more effectively. So, whether you want to improve productivity, lower recruitment costs, drive change or simply make employees feel better valued, a digital survey with WorkBuzz will be of great help.

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