2017 has carried forward the spirit of 'intrapreneurship' and creative freedom across several organizations. The gap between the desirable scenario of engaged employees and the as-is situation of a mix of engaged and disengaged people seems to have shrunk somewhat.
A lot more can be done, however. Rewards and recognition (RnR) are a major enabler of employee engagement and need to be reinvented from time to time, basis changes in business, workforce demographics, culture, employee sentiment et al. We look at the 5 latest trends in employee RnR that have helped businesses engage them better.
2017 change drivers of employee RnR
Smart companies looking to advance their employee recognition efforts need to leverage upon these trends in 2017:
- Rising demand of psychological RnR: According to the 2016 Trends in Incentive Travel, Rewards, and Recognition report published by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), 69% of employees who did not receive some kind of RnR for their performance, said ‘no’ when asked if they feel motivated for their jobs. On the other hand, 82% of employees who received RnR for their good performance said ‘yes’, they feel motivated. Psychological rewards such as experiences, travel incentives, social recognition, peer-to-peer recognition et al, connect with employees and encourage a change in behavior. To leverage fully upon psychological rewards, it is important that they be given a tangible shape, something employees can share with friends and family that represents their achievement. For instance, experiences can be packaged and rewarded in the form of an experience box.
- Experiences as preferred rewards: Companies are always looking for forward-thinking ideas to inspire their people. They continue to invest in and see value in motivating their people, which is why experiences such as travel, adventure, gourmet, arts and wellness are growing in importance. Companies could keep the influence of millennials and Generation Z in mind while developing their experiences based RnR programs.
- Emotional engagement through personalized rewards: Emotional engagement is crucial to the viability of any RnR program. Rewards need to create an emotional connect of employees with their employer’s brand. Gamification and SaaS based RnR automation can help strengthen this personalized connect further. It enables instant rewarding, social sharing, bulk uploads, mobile app, interest groups and a plethora of other features to keep employees engaged.
- Holistic employee wellness programs: 75% of employees in the IRF survey also reported that they are more likely to do continue working with companies that offer holistic incentive programs such as fitness, healthcare, latest technologies, paid parental leaves, recognition and appreciation for a job well done etc. A strategically designed RnR program has the potential to guarantee that your employees stay productive and motivated. It also comprises of an RnR software platform that is well integrated with your existing information systems and can also be updated to include fresh wellness modules or apps from time to time.
- Continuously evolving RnR programs: Today, nearly every employee has got a smart-phone in the pocket, and frequently checks updates on social media. RnR is always changing and a results-focused program should be designed keeping in mind the diversity and the demographics of your workforce, to help everyone excel at work and reach for more. As technology advances and the capabilities of RnR programs mature, program design evolves as well, offering for instance, real-time reward and redemption tracking, personalization of rewards and the ability to assign them to social causes.
Organizations need to invite engagement and not mandate it. Expect to see a marked general rise in the RnR budget of organizations as the year progresses ahead. The IRF research has already found that just a 5% increase in employee RnR budget can assure a lifetime of productive employees and huge return on investments for businesses across industries.