A reward system is designed to generate good results by building good habits. For example, if your team is expected to close ten deals for the quarter and it closes fifteen, then a bonus is given to motivate them to do the same for the next quarter.
But is this an effective way of rewarding better performance?
First off, a good reward system is not all about the money. Sure, incentives are common in departments like sales, but giving people more money won’t get you far into your long-term goals.
While most people wouldn’t turn down extra cash being handed to them, it doesn’t necessarily achieve the mindset of making people want to do it again. If we recall Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this is because money only provides necessities like food and shelter, things which, on some level, are already satisfied given their salary.
Giving money for good performance might be harmful as it distills it down into a “simple financial transaction” as observed by Stephen Bevan, director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation.
An appreciated reward system should cater to the more psychological needs of a person. This means giving due recognition for what they’ve done. It could also mean more growth opportunities that let them apply more decision-making at work—a win-win since these opportunities should be given on the merit basis of the reward system.
Reward systems should also be modified to acknowledge individual wants and needs. The truth is, not all employees are the same and if you want to motivate them effectively, you must craft rewards that suit them.
Here are some rewards that can be used to increase motivation and appreciation for employees:
Receiving benefits is like receiving a gift: you can probably afford it, but it feels better when you receive it from someone. It’s no wonder why companies in America have shown that “growth in spending on benefits is outpacing gains in wages.” It’s because while benefits may have a financial equivalent, going the extra mile of picking out something thoughtful can add a much more personal value to the item.
It’s why receiving a gift certificate to your favorite coffee shop rather than just being given its cash equivalent is more meaningful. Even though it would have been the exact same thing, there’s a charm to knowing that someone didn’t just pull out money from their pocket and say “here, this should be enough”.
If your employees are quite active, you can do what companies like Eventbrite and Microsoft did and have a fitness allowance that can cover gym expenses, fitness programs, and even juice cleanses. Most gym brands, yoga or cycling studios even have corporate partnerships for this. If you’re so keen, Reebok took it a step further and got a fully equipped gym in their main office.
Other companies like Starbucks and PwC take the personal development approach and offer tuition reimbursements to their employees. You can also consider setting up student and auto loan programs if you’re leaning towards this direction.
TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES
Companies are also adopting a great way to show appreciation by incorporating team building activities into the calendar. Employees greatly appreciate the fact that their company is willing to set aside its usual business hours to say that “making sure our employees are able to destress and have fun is just as important to us.”
The first step is to understand the needs and interests of your employees. Ask yourself: “who are they and what are they into?” If you can shortlist some agreed upon sports, having a sports day is a good way for people to compete and have fun in. You can play a few fun games of Ultimate Frisbee in the morning then have ragtag teams of officemates play some basketball.
If contact sports are not their style, you can also have an energizing Zumba party for the whole group. Zumba’s a great way to loosen up both physically and socially. Local rec centers would typically have basketball courts and open areas to hold these types of activities.
For something more relaxed and indoors? Escape rooms have been a popular office team building activity for a while now. You can make groups with people who work together to build team chemistry, or you can mix things up and group people with officemates they don’t normally get to talk to.
A game day is another fun way to reward employees for their hard work. Gather in the conference room and plug in your favorite console for a Super Smash Bros tournament, or have everyone bring their favorite board games and take turns trying a new one each round.
Ultimately, you can fly your entire team to an out of country experience, and organize a team building event once a year at a destination they might not normally visit. We’d recommend Prague as the city of choice, as it offers plenty of team building activities, has some fascinating history and architecture to explore, and is very user-friendly.
You should avoid scheduling these activities on a weekend because the last thing people want is to have to come in on a Saturday for some “mandatory fun.” Make sure to find an activity that best suits your employees and plot it in during work hours, so people understand it’s about valuing their happiness.
A good reward system is not an expensive one. It is something that appeals to people on a personal level through personalized rewards and shows appreciation by investing company time into the employee’s own happiness.