People are individuals, but sometimes employers can forget to see them that way – especially when it comes to devising a rewards strategy.
We talk in terms of teams, workforces and staff – collective terms that require a singular approach, rather than focusing on individuals. What do your people need to be happy, motivated and engaged, during their time at work with you? Well, they all need different things.
For example, people in their early 30's saving money for a deposit on a house have different concerns to new graduates going out at the weekend, or older employees approaching retirement.
It doesn’t stop at demographics, either. Personality differences have a much bigger impact in the workplace than many employers expect.
It’s simply not the case that everyone can work in the same way – some struggle to work in groups while others can’t focus on their own, some may dislike being monitored while others need reassurance at every step of a project.
So, taking all these factors into account, when it comes to rewarding employees and implementing an effective rewards strategy, what should organisations be considering?
Keep the focus on the individual and involve them in a meaningful way
Approaching everyone’s needs in a different way is a step in the right direction, but if you’re making the assumption on what that approach should be, it’s one step forward and two steps back.
Employees need to have their say in the workplace – and changes should make a demonstrable impact.
Things Will Need to Change on a Cultural Level
Personalising your approach to employee rewards will require a lot of change to the way you do things, and it’s easy to get so bogged down in the process of how this will happen.
Instead, focus on creating a culture where individuality is important, and the processes will follow.
Allow Time to Change
Don’t expect things to change overnight – and once things have changed, don’t expect everyone to be on board with them straight away.
Take things slowly, let things evolve naturally, and make sure that anything that already works well is kept intact. This is a long-term evolution in your staff culture, not a quick fix.
Deciding on Personalised Incentives
A better understanding of a person’s personality and treating staff as individuals leads to a better understanding of the principles of what motivates and engages them.
For example, employees with more practical personality types will be better motivated when they understand the practical reasons and outcomes behind what they’re doing.
These people may prefer to have targets to hit and will want to understand where their personal targets fit in in the context of the wider organisation.
Others, meanwhile, are more concerned with the impacts of their actions on others.
These people may be less interested in sales figures and targets – which they may see as arbitrary – and will be better motivated by the ways in which their work will enrich the customer’s experience.
This leads into the reasons behind rewarding people. For some, receiving incentives for hitting their targets or maintaining a high level of productivity will be incredibly motivating. For others, rewards for good customer service will be valued far higher.
Choosing Personal Rewards
Finally, giving rewards for the right reasons is one thing – but ensuring your rewards take the right form is another.
For example, if you have a great deal of employees who identify with more introverted personality types, rewards that are overtly social in nature may not go down quite so well.
People just surviving on the living wage will appreciate rewards that will help them save or enjoy an experience without added costs but may feel anxious about the idea of travel-related rewards – which could involve spending money on new clothes, food, and so on – as they may not be able to afford to go, even if the flights and accommodation are paid for.
This is also the point where you'll need to decide if your rewards should take the form of a simple cash bonus, or something more tangible.
Cash is always going to have appeal (after all, we could all do with a little more sometimes!), but it can be short-lived, inconsistently given and not a cost-effective option - especially for small businesses where budgets can be tight.
Offering experiential or cashless rewards can be a far more effective motivator as they offer a more personal and longer-lasting experience.
A cash bonus straight into someone's bank account can be easily spent on regular outgoings - and where's the fun in that?
On the other hand, a gift voucher, e-card or an experiential treat (like a cinema ticket for example), can give the recipient the chance to spend it on something they really want. And, by giving them the chance to do this, you as the employer build engagement with them, too. Now that's a double-win.
Ensuring that rewards packages are well-rounded enough to provide support for a range of needs is an important part of helping staff to feel as though they are being considered as individuals.
RECOGNISING POSITIVE BEHAVIOURS IS A CRUCIAL PART OF ANY EFFECTIVE REWARDS STRATEGY
Yup, rewards and incentives can help set any business on a path to improved employee engagement. But just what are the types of behaviours you should be rewarding, and how can you identify them?
We've put together a handy cheat sheet that'll help you identify the types of positive workplace behaviour that should be rewarded - perfect when building an incentives and rewards program! And the best part? It's free!
Just hit the link below to get your copy!