In this blog, we will be talking about rewards and engagement programs and just how vital they are in creating and maintaining a motivated and stable workforce...
Why do we work? The core reason, of course, is money. Few people would continue to turn up to their jobs without a salary. Without money, we can’t survive, so it’s a very basic and obvious motivator. But it’s not the only reason we all turn up to our places of work each and every morning. There’s a wide range of reasons why we’re driven to seek gainful employment. These include (but aren’t limited to):
- Humans need to keep busy. It can make for a long day/week/month when you’ve nothing to do. You’ve got to do something!
- We’re social creatures. Getting out into the workplace gives us an excuse to get together with others and socialize. Even if the main topics of conversation are traffic, whether or how bad the coffee there tastes.
- Work gives us purpose and drive. Without a target or goal, we can quickly experience feelings of uselessness. Work makes people useful.
- We’re driven to realize our potential. We’re capable of a lot and automatically want to see what we can achieve. Works gifts a unique opportunity to do this.
That’s not to say that most employees are satisfied merely with a quarry and a pickaxe. The workplace needs to be comfortable, the atmosphere needs to be pleasant, the culture needs to be suitable. We want to work and do our level best, but we demand fair pay and a sense of appreciation and recognition for our efforts. It’s integral to 99% of the world’s workforce. The other 1%? Well, they’re probably just a bit weird...
So what can organizations and their Human Resources department do to make staff feel wanted, respected and valued? Well, plenty. You can pay people well, listen to them, offer them an extra holiday, improve their working environment, praise them, give them complimentary lunches, put on free events… There are lots you can do.
Basically, you reward and engage people. The way to do that - Rewards and engagement programs!
Firms across the world have long known about the benefits of rewards and engagement programs. Rewards and engagement programs help employees in order to keep them switched on, enthusiastic, loyal, happy and working to the best of their ability. That’s why rewards and engagement programs are so popular. But is it enough to just implement one and forget about it? Of course, it isn’t.
Rewards and engagement programs only work after a period and trial and error. They’re not just copy and paste efforts, each organization needs to develop and establish their own. Each business is different and attempting to shoehorn in a templated program is clumsy and most likely going to be ineffective. So schemes need to be tried and tested and amended where necessary. It’s a refinement process. You keep what works and you ditch what doesn’t. Simple.
The continual improvement of your rewards and engagement program comes by measurement, it’s the only way. You have to track the success of every scheme you run. Otherwise, it’s efficacy is basically unknown.
Somewhat incredibly, less than a third of employers worldwide actually bother to measure the effectiveness of their employee rewards and engagement programs in terms of their impact. So how can they tell they’re working? Or whether their staff is engaged or not? The simple answer is this - they can’t.
So, then. Measurement is key. We know that. What we don’t know is just how we measure the success of rewards and engagement programs schemes. So let’s explore a few of the best ways:
- Roll out employee surveys. Perhaps the easiest way to find out if your rewards and engagement program works with your workforce is simply just to ask them. You can send round paper surveys after the program has finished or - preferably - set up an online survey. You can glean quite a lot of useful information this way.
- Set up some focus groups. If you think that a few ‘yes/no’ questions are not going to be sufficient, you can always get a select few of your employees in for a quick focus group. You can then grill them about their thoughts on how the program went.
- Define your goals. Set a target for the scheme. The metric and the number is dealer’s choice, but stick to it and use it as a barometer for success.
- Look at staff turnover levels. If your program is in line with an increase in staff retention levels, it’s a pretty good indicator that they’re doing something.
- Check the bottom line. It may seem slightly simplistic, but you could just check basic numbers like profit or ROI. This may not be a hugely accurate metric, but it may well give you something of an indication.
A few other things to bear in mind when measuring the effectiveness of your rewards and engagement program…
- Get measuring - before and after. If you’re measuring levels of staff satisfaction, etc. after the program, be sure to have taken a baseline measurement before launching it. Otherwise, you won’t have accurate figures with which to compare the post-program statistics with.
- Communicate with staff in a fair and open way. Honestly telling everyone what the purpose of your company’s rewards and engagement program is no bad thing. In fact, it may help the group focus on the goal as a unit.
- Be prepared - and enthusiastic - about changing things. Embrace feedback on the program. It’s all about creating an effective scheme that improves company culture and rewards staff. It’s not about proving your first idea to be the best.
- Encourage honest feedback. Some staff may be wary about giving constructive feedback, thinking that it may reflect badly on them somehow. The way around this is by telling everyone how important and valued their thoughts are - no matter how positive or ‘negative’ they are. Failing that, consider making your surveys and feedback platforms anonymous.
- Plan, plan, plan. Rewards and engagement programs can be invaluable to your employees’ love of work. So don’t go in half-cocked. Only execute them when they’re fully planned and ready to go.
- Focus on long-term success. Short-term goals are always important, but upping your employee engagement at work is so important that the result has to be a huge and over-arching long-term. So don’t get bogged down or deflated by those inevitable hitches and hiccups along the way. Small setbacks are unavoidable. You need to learn from them and improve. Tinker with the format and you’ll soon see your programs garner better results and your staff more switched on and in love with their employer!
Now there’s plenty more to say about setting up and establishing excellent employee rewards and engagement programs in your organization. Hopefully, this quick guide should give you enough to think about for now, though.
All that’s left for you to do now is get out there and start planning your own!