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6 Ways to Reward and Recognize Employees

Richard Cheeseman
Director HCM Applications Marketing EMEA

Picture this: Your executive team wants to roll out a campaign to raise awareness of your brand’s charitable efforts, great company culture, and other things that make the company stand out. Members of the marketing team create and give a stellar presentation on how they would use social media, charitable giving, and other marketing to generate buzz about the campaign. Members of the executive team are so thrilled with the proposal that they decide to roll it out for the holiday season. You send an email to the entire organization, recognizing the group’s efforts, and also reward each of the team members with a $50 gift card. They’re thrilled and eager to start working on the campaign.

This is a great example of how a company can effectively reward and recognize employees to make them more engaged and loyal.

Unfortunately, many companies wait a year—until a first annual review—to praise and reward employees. Even then, a merit raise isn’t a sure thing; salary bumps are often low or nonexistent. 

This leaves workers itching for meaningful recognition. Even more than money, they want opportunities to learn and grow and want to feel like they are valued. To keep employees happy, companies must ensure their rewards are unique and resonate with the workforce. They need to surprise, delight, and show employees that they appreciate their achievements—no matter how small. 

There are tight links connecting performance, rewards, and recognition. Oracle Human Capital Management’s Global Survey of 4,706 employees reported that approximately 30% of employees surveyed believe a lack of fairness regarding pay and rewards is the top reason to leave a business.

6 Ways to Reward and Recognize Employees

Although 68% of employees know what’s expected of them, very few believe they’re being recognized, rewarded, or appreciated for their hard work and dedication: 

  • 46% of employees say their performance is regularly assessed
  • 41% say they’re compensated fairly
  • 36% report being rewarded for their performance

How can companies close the gap between reality and expectations? Here are six ways: 

  1. Prioritize communication. Leaders and managers must have continuous performance conversations with their staff to ensure rewards stay aligned with performance. They need to do a level-set with employees and assess performance; encourage them to make improvements; and discuss ways their roles may change or evolve. Most of all, they need to look for employees who are under-rewarded for their work and achievements and correct the situation. 
  2. Find out what makes each of your employees tick. All employees in your organization have their own goals. Do they care only about doing well in their current jobs, or do they aspire to move to different roles? Don’t just look at their professional passion points—learn about them on a personal level. All employees have different ambitions and passions, social and even environmental causes they care about. Understanding employees on this deeper level helps managers discover the best ways to reward and recognize their teams. 
  3. Expand your financial rewards. As noted earlier, it isn’t sustainable for businesses to constantly hand out hefty bonuses or raises. But even small financial perks, such as gift cards, free lunches, or complimentary coffee, can perk up employees. Review your current financial rewards and find cost-efficient ways to expand. 
  4. Consider nonfinancial rewards. Tangible items are great, but even nonfinancial rewards can have a tremendous impact on employee loyalty. Give your top-performing employees comp vacation days. Offering flexible work hours and telecommuting privileges are long-term ways to show that you trust employees. And although few will turn down these perks, many employees also want access to learning opportunities. Pick up the tab for your top 10 workers to attend workshops, certification courses, and other training opportunities. 
  5. Use new channels to give kudos. Email, social media, and your company’s intranet are great channels for you to spotlight employee achievements. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to recognize employees and give a few reasons why their work has contributed to the company’s success.
  6. When in doubt, feed them. Even something as simple as a bagel breakfast or pizza party can excite your employees. Block off time on everyone’s calendar so it’s top of mind, and order breakfast or lunch for the whole office.  

To learn more about the Oracle HCM employee engagement survey and other factors that affect employee engagement, download the complete report now

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