More Than a Cog in the Wheel: Shake Up Your Reward and Recognition Program
One of the biggest challenges facing companies today is keeping employees engaged and happy — which, in turn, means motivated and productive — especially now that the lines between your professional and personal lives are increasingly blurred. As employers look for their workers to commit more to the job and come up with more innovative ideas, employees are also looking for more from their employers. While fun perks like company happy hours, in-office gyms, and free food can keep spirits up on a day-to-day basis, long-term job satisfaction can come down to two things: Are employees being recognized, and are they being rewarded?
Certificates, “employee of the month” awards, and shiny trophies might have short-term benefits, but there are other more meaningful ways that companies can keep employees happy for the long haul. Below are some suggestions to motivate employees year after year.
- We’re all in it together. It’s not just leadership that can provide a much-needed pat on the back. Employees want to know that their colleagues value their contributions. Peer-to-peer recognition encourages collaboration and connection, establishing more than a workplace. It builds a community — one that is more likely to keep employees invested in its success. For LivePerson’s Outstanding Employee Awards, we rely on our 1,200 employees to nominate who they think best exemplifies our values. This year, they came out in full force, and we collected more than 500 nominations...making our staff-led finalist committee’s job of picking the winners pretty difficult.
- It feels good to give back. Employees want to have purpose, so weaving some community involvement into your recognition program is an easy way to make employees feel good about themselves and their company. As part of our employee recognition program, we even have an award for those employees who embrace our core value of helping others and devote some of their spare time to improving our communities.
- Show ’em more than the money. Recognition isn’t just for the guys that sign the biggest deals. Identify and acknowledge the employees that keep morale high and truly connect with the company culture. During LivePerson’s quarterly Town Hall, a company-wide event, we give a shout-out to a handful of employees that have made a big impact in a behind-the-scenes role. Often, they’re the ones keeping things running smoothly but aren’t as frequently in the spotlight.
- Connect them with leadership. Especially with large, global companies, employees can feel disconnected from those in the C-suite. A chance to spend some quality time with executives outside of the conference room (like a golf outing with the CEO) can make a junior-level employee feel on top of the world!
- Leave work at the office. Let employees know that it’s okay to shut their laptops and disconnect for a bit. Reward them with some essential R&R. A well-rested employee can lead to more productivity and higher motivation.
- Get them out of their comfort zones. This doesn’t sound like it’s much of a reward or recognition, but it could help an employee discover untapped potential or a new interest or skill that benefits the company as a whole as much as it does them individually. When we sent our employee award winners to Mexico, they did more than relax by the pool: One of their activities was to visit a sweat lodge and connect with their inner selves.
- Align it in your company's core values and mission. Employee rewards can be fun, but they should also serve a business purpose. Not only does this recognize those who already embrace your company culture, but it also encourages the more skeptical individuals to play a more active role and go beyond their job descriptions.
Do you have any other strategies for keeping your people motivated? Share them below!