Reward and recognition on a budget

Recognition on a budgetBusinesses that take small steps to make employees feel valued will reap the rewards. John Sylvester talks to about how smaller organisations can still create a culture of appreciation in their orgainsation, without spending a vast amount of money.

It is often said that employees are the lifeblood of a company and it is certainly true that they are an important factor in its success. For this reason ensuring employees feel valued is vital in order that they remain motivated, loyal and productive.

Research conducted by Modern Survey shows that 85 per cent of employees who feel meaningfully recognised will go above their formal responsibilities to get a job done, however, as economic conditions continue to be tough, allocating a significant budget to an all-singing, all-dancing staff reward and recognition scheme is often simply not an option. Business owners and managers should therefore be looking at low-cost, high impact alternatives.


Reward and recognition is key to success

Praise and recognition are essential and everyone likes a ‘pat on the back’ to make them feel good. Often the only reward for hard work is the satisfaction of the individual responsible in seeing a job well done, but it is important that time is taken to shine a spotlight on them.

Recognising an individual, or a team or department, has a huge knock on effect throughout a business with word spreading both through the grapevine and via more formal communication channels. This mustn’t just apply to those team members whose contributions are obvious, such as those in sales. Equal pride must be taken in those whose skill and dedication are an integral part of business success.

Public presentationCan this be achieved on a budget? Yes, because a crucial element in any employee recognition programme is presentation and, for this reason, the reward itself does not need to be high-value. In the majority of cases, acknowledgement in front of peers is known to mean more to the recipient than the reward itself and so vouchers and gift cards, for example, are popular as they are low-cost and enable the recipient to choose a reward they really desire.

Additional rewards which cost little but have a big impact include an extra day’s holiday or employee of the month parking space. Dedicating some time to present the reward in public and say a personal thank you enhances the overall sentiment of the gift and makes it even more memorable.

Overall, if employers recognise publicly, often, and associate the reward with desired behaviours, then better results will be achieved than if the budget was blown on a fancy reward. In fact, research by the University of Zurich showed that non-cash rewards such as vouchers, gift cards or points result in a 25 per cent higher work performance over cash.


Recognise personal milestones

Another low-cost step that employers can take to boost employee morale, engagement and loyalty is recognising and celebrating a range of occasions with them, including birthdays, weddings, housewarmings, baby showers, length of service awards, Christmas and special anniversaries.

Arranging for a card containing a small gift such as a voucher to be delivered to an employee’s desk, home or email inbox is a personal and special way to recognise employees that creates a feel-good factor in the workplace with minimal financial outlay and effort for the person tasked with organising it.

Businesses that take small steps such as these to recognise and reward employees and make them feel valued will reap the rewards.


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