Company reward program

By Mark Winter
Info Guru,

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employee receiving a gift
A company reward program can be amazingly simple and can result in increased productivity
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Do you have a company reward program?

Well-thought-out (non-cash) recognition company reward program can be either peer- or management-driven, or both, and can help motivate employees to continually improve; to be innovative and manage resources creatively; to set high standards and goals; and to work together in teams. Recognition is a great esteem builder and can help create workplace loyalty and build a sense of community. It helps employees see what their co-workers are doing, and why.

A company reward program can be as simple as recognizing the contributions of an employee. One of the most effective ways to express appreciation is often one of the most overlooked: saying thank you. Even if most of the duties one performs are a normal part of the job, hearing thank you in a spontaneous and timely way can mean a lot to anyone. It should be done often, and can be done privately or publicly in front of co-workers. Mention the task, project, or behavior you want to recognize and be sincere.

Before you establish a company reward program to tangibly reward staff on an informal, ongoing basis, consider these issues: 1. Determine why you want to establish a recognition program. You may want to reward some (or all) of the following: • Time, work, or money-saving ideas • Ongoing or one-time customer compliments for service/satisfaction • Solution to a difficult problem • Outstanding one-time achievements • Outstanding attendance (particularly where public hours are important) • General ongoing contributions that you'd just like to acknowledge • Improvement of any kind in an employee's efforts 2. If you don't know about employee attitudes about such a program, find out. Would it be positively received? Will you need to overcome cynicism toward or mistrust of such a company reward program? You might want to conduct a short written survey of your employees and ensure that they can submit it anonymously, and/or you may want to invite feedback from volunteers in a focus group.

One of the attitudes you may uncover is a pervasive belief that only "the usual" employees will receive any sort of recognition in a company reward program. It's a good idea when you are looking at a recognition program to look at why there may be such a perception. Are those who are recognized frequently truly high performers, or are they perhaps the ones who always seem to receive the "high profile" assignments – and can those types of assignments be given to others in the unit? 3. You may want to get employees involved in the program by forming a volunteer workgroup with the specific charge of the company reward program development and implementation. 4. Determine how often awards could be given and who would decide to whom awards would go. (For example, "peer-to-peer" recognition could be done at any time and frequently; perpetual awards could be passed around once per quarter or every six months; thank you notes could be given whenever they seem appropriate.) 5. Determine who could give or nominate someone for an award, i.e., peers, staff to supervisors, supervisors, or managers only. Your survey could include a question of how employees might think the program would work most effectively. 6. Determine whether the awards would/could be private, public, or a combination and how frequently they could be given. 7. Make sure you can make the company reward program a part of your workplace culture and inject some fun into the process. 8. Determine what type of awards to give. 9. Once you've started a recognition/awards program, you'll want to plan on keeping it going, or at least determine whether it is being well received and should continue. 10. After you have had a company reward program going for a while, you may want to measure its effectiveness. This can be done through discussions with managers and staff at various levels, and perhaps through another survey. 11. Here are some examples of gifts that could be awarded: • Books • Flowers • Gift Certificates not exchangeable for cash • Tickets to events • Gift certificates for dinner • Lunches • Massages, facials (gift certificates) • CDs • Gift certificates from various catalogs • Funny t-shirts • Parking passes (May not exceed $175/monthly value per IRS rules) • Transit passes (May not exceed $100/monthly value per IRS rules) • (Custom) Plaque or coffee mug (Good Job; Thanks, etc.) • Humorous items; or balloons, pencils, coffee mugs (You're Great; Good Job, etc.) • Pizza for the office

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