1 This is a big deal, so GET EXCITED!
When you set up an official system within your company to make sure that all your managers are recognizing good deeds done by their team of employees, and rewarding those employees – that has a HUGE positive impact on your corporate culture! A well run employee rewards program can be transformative, making your entire team happier and more fulfilled at their jobs. We humans crave positive recognition more than almost anything else on the planet, and you’re turning this fulfillment of a basic human need into an official ongoing program within your company. You can’t over state the potential up-side of doing this for your people and for your company. So make sure this is presented to your managers as a BIG program, and get them EXCITED to be part of this, because they need to UNDERSTAND and EMBRACE this entire idea and RUN WITH IT. Three months down the road every one of your managers should be asking themselves, “Why didn’t we do this years ago?”
2 Be clear with your goals and your message.
When you initially set up your Employee Rewards Program, take the time to write down what you want this program to accomplish. If you want this program to directly drive up sales numbers, then you may be confusing a “rewards program” with an incentive “pay-for-performance” program. They are very different, an incentive pay program requires a much more strict outline of effort/results/payment. Rewards and recognition programs are most effective when they are designed to improve overall corporate culture. They work well to help improve communication and connectedness between managers and direct reports, which increases employee engagement. Rewards programs help your company to create an environment of recognition and appreciation, which increases job satisfaction and reduces turnover. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity, and a more enjoyable experience for your customers when they interact with your employees. The end result is improved profitability and an overall happier work environment. While these positive results are exactly what every company is trying to accomplish, they are not as easily measured as “increase sales by 5% next Quarter.” So you need to plan out in advance, “What do we want this program to accomplish, and how will we judge our progress.”
3 Incorporate peer-to-peer recognition.
It’s an awesome feeling, when your manager recognizes that you’re doing a good job or giving extra effort. But it can be even more rewarding when your co-workers are the ones recognizing you! The best rewards programs incorporate positive recognition from both managers and co-workers. However, co-worker recognition takes some finesse; you don’t want to encourage a “quid pro quo” system where co-workers plan out a way to vote for each other, and you don’t want it to become a popularity contest where everybody’s favorite person wins repeatedly. We see it work best when the manager gives out most of the recognition rewards, and the peer-to-peer recognition portion is set up as a reoccurring survey of who has done the most to help their team of co-workers in that past month or past quarter. Have your managers conduct a quick survey of their employees to see who is giving the most extra effort; drop names in a hat, ask each person for their vote, or use a one-on-one email for a reply from each person on the team. Then reward that month’s MVP, as chosen by their peers – or do it quarterly and reward the top First, Second and Third Place MVPs for the quarter!