Rewards and recognition are a key part of building successful teams. They help create internal energy, which is not just infectious but also a great motivator for other employees. They contribute to a sense of belonging and pride in the workplace. There are a host of other benefits such as increased employee engagement, improved productivity, and an uptick in employee retention.
Reward and recognition programs act as morale boosters and promote a positive workplace that encourages friendly competition.
While rewards need to be tangible, recognition needs to address the emotional values of employees. That said, there is no “one size fits all” strategy when it comes to rewards and recognition. Especially, in today’s hybrid nature of work, it warrants a fresh look at conventional rewards and recognition programs.
Challenges of a hybrid workforce
In a post-pandemic world, workplaces aren’t always multi-storied buildings with glass facades in some tech park. The workplace could be your home, the beach, or any other place of your choice. Remote working became the new normal after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It brought with it a paradigm shift in the way that organisations work, apart from a host of challenges.
It was a difficult period for both organisations and employees, which resulted in 2021 being dubbed as the “Year of the Great Resignation”. This was attributed to widespread burnout, mental stress and strain on finances, as well as changing needs and expectations of the employees.
Organisations had to figure out firstly how to keep employees engaged and motivated, while also ensuring productivity doesn’t dip. While employees expected rewards and recognition, remote work made it difficult to evaluate employees’ performance. HR leaders needed to unlearn and relearn how to set goals, position performance reviews, and assess team performance.
Connectedness has proven to be crucial during the evolution of hybrid work/ remote work environments. As per Gartner’s ‘Culture in a Hybrid World Employee’ survey, only one in four hybrid or remote knowledge workers currently feels connected to their organisations’ culture. Cultural connectedness is said to increase employee performance by up to 37% and employee retention by up to 36%.
Acknowledging top performers
Performance management can be a powerful tool to empower teams to define, shape and assess individual employees, acknowledge the top performers and work out ways to improve the overall team’s performance. A survey by Glassdoor also showed that 53% of respondents stated that they would stay with the company/ organization longer if they were appreciated by their bosses/ team leaders.
A few organisations have taken advantage of digital rewards and recognition platforms. Such platforms help organisations with timely appreciation and instant rewardings on real-time interactive social feeds, gamify engagement with leaderboard by giving engagement scores, allowing employees to redeem their reward points by issuing gift cards etc.
Ways to engage, motivate employees
HR experts agree that for recognition programmes to be effective, they must be linked to organizational values and talent strategy. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management(SHRM) on Using Recognition and Other Workplace Efforts to Engage Employees, found that recognition programmes that were tied to organizational value and/ or integrated with talent strategy were rated as excellent or good by 70% of respondents.
Our decade long experience too suggests that for the recognition programs to fare well, they must tie in with performance and track metrics to ensure broad recognition among employees. Some of the fundamental steps in putting in place a good Rewards and Recognition program include identifying goals and setting measured targets that are time bound. At the same time, it is equally important to actively recognise and reward good behaviour such as collaboration and teamwork such that it percolates as a part of company’s culture.
While salary is a total compensation, rewards, even if monetary, serve a different purpose. An investment in the rewards and recognition programme can go a long way for any organization. The impact of the investment is more when the employees’ recognition is core to the talent strategy.
A well-established rewards and recognition programme, gives organisations an edge over their competition. With the support and timely acknowledgement of efforts of employees, organisations can retain talent, create sustainable and better working models, transform workplaces, which will ultimately result in a profit-making enterprise.