Employee Incentives

Employee Incentives and Rewards That Are Effective and Efficient

Implementing an employee recognition program

  • The purpose of an employee recognition program is to recognise and reward work and behaviours that support/further the mission, goals, values and initiatives of a firm.
• As a leadership team agree what your mission, goals and values are.
• Then agree what the goals and values each team member need to work towards in order to most effectively contribute to these goals.
• Next, agree what general employee behaviours should be recognised.
• What works for one company may not work for another, so make sure it works with and is accepted by your firm.
  • Remember, the goals of your employee rewards program can only be met if you get staff "buy in" and participation. Let them know that the budget is tight, but it is important to you that there be recognition of their good work and top-of-the-line efforts.
  • Maximise your staff's involvement in program design - ask your employees for their input on how they like to be recognised.
  • Ensure that the reward program is easy to implement, informal and accessible - keep it simple for the employees to understand and work towards, and simple to administer.
  • When rolling out the program, explain it in person (e.g., at a team meeting) rahter than just through email/web site.
  • Include explanation of the program in your new employee orientation.

Options for rewarding your employees effectively, but efficiently

Cash bonuses, salary increments, paid vacations, paid sick-leave and private health insurance cover are common methods of rewarding your employees effectively. However, there are a number of other options for rewarding and recognising your employees on an ongoing basis that are both affordable and effective in attracting and retaining high performing and motivated employees.

  • Flexible hours or 'work from home' days - Flexible working hours, time off for personal or family responsibilities, and an occasional 'work from home day' may hold more appeal than cash incentives for your employees.
  • Workplace wellness program - With the rising costs of health care, both employers and employees can take responsibility for the health of the business by participating in a wellness plan. Any form of fitness programs, smoking cessation, and stress reduction can improve employee absenteeism and overall productivity.
  • Educational opportunities - Reimburse employees for (all or part of) their educational undertakings that are relevant to their work or future career aspirations, or recommend and facilitate a program you think they will benefit from.
  • Mentoring - Meet with each of your staff one-on-one on a regular basis (fortnightly or monthly). Use these sessions to:
• Understand their current state-of-mind as part of the business.
• Identify opportunities for further skill development.
• Share your own experiences and offer them guidance.
• Help them identify solutions to any work related issues they face.
  • Exposure to the industry - Allow staff to accompany you on conferences. Of course, this must be evaluated for practicality, but if the staff member is the right resource for the event and deserves the recognition, then invite them to attend formally and highlight that this opportunity is in fact in recognition of their hard work.
  • Praise - Sometimes the most meaningful recognition can be as simple as a handwritten note thanking the employee for their contribution.
  • Take them out - If it suits your business's culture take your team out for informal drinks or dinner. This will help strengthen relationships between your team and offer you an opportunity to get to know your team in a less formal setting.
  • Family events - Especially in a small business, getting to know the families of your staff and including them in special events can be an important ingredient to maintaining employee loyalty.