As the world of work evolves, so should the way we recognize and reward employees at work.
But, as employees search for meaning and belonging at work, impersonal and bland rewards – like company swag or a pizza party – can actually end up hurting your retention efforts.
It’s clear that now more than ever, workers are prioritizing a healthy work-life balance and top-notch culture over traditional priorities like compensation. So, one company set out to reimagine their recognition and rewards strategy and turned it into something bigger.
How Workhuman reimagined rewards
For many, traditional reward solutions aren’t cutting it.
“While every employee wants to be recognized and rewarded, receiving things like company hoodies, trophies or other branded trinkets can become tiresome and stale after a certain time,” says Sarah Whitman, SVP of e-commerce at Workhuman. “Instead, employees deserve fun, creative ways to reward themselves for their hard work and contributions to the organization.”
The solution? An e-commerce store powered by employee recognition. The store offers an expansive catalog of around 400,000 merchandise items and thousands of gift cards that employees can redeem using recognition points, earned from recognition moments in the workplace. They accrue over time, meaning the more points you have, the more options you can choose from.
The store is “powered by the simple act of giving and receiving recognition,” says Whitman. “When they go to spend their points, the program resurfaces the recognition they received, so they can feel that gratitude and support all over again as they make their redemption.”
But now, Workhuman’s taking it a step further by adding “experiences” to their rewards offerings. Through the company’s store, employees are now able to book their activity, hotel, car rental and flights all at once.
The store offers a plethora of unique options, like:
- walking tours
- national park passes, and
- private yacht rentals.
“Adding bookable Experiences to our store aims to [provide] a wide array of vacations and excursions that employees may have always wanted to do but haven’t for one reason or another,” says Whitman. “Those experiences become possible because people are recognizing each other at work. It’s an incredible incentive.”
The power of recognition
Recognition is a powerful tool to help enhance well-being, reduce burnout and improve retention.
In fact, research from Gallup found that employees who got enough recognition were:
- 90% less likely to report feeling burned out at work “always” or “very often”
- 40% less likely to report having experienced a lot of stress, worry and sadness
- Seven times more likely to report they had meaningful connections, and
- 10 times more likely to feel that they belong.
“The Experiences launch builds on this power of recognition – if employees can directly trace a life-changing vacation back to the recognition they received from their coworkers, it will encourage them to give back, show gratitude to their colleagues, and build happier and more connected workplaces,” says Whitman.
Revamping your strategy for success
Rewards and recognition is not one size fits all. In fact, tailoring strategy to your specific organizational and individual needs is one of the most important parts of building a system that works.
Here are three steps to revamp your strategy and help employees feel recognized and rewarded:
Focus on more than rewards: Rewards and recognition go hand-in-hand, according to Whitman. “Businesses should take a step back and revamp not just reward systems to meet their employees’ needs but revamp their recognition programs as a whole so that their employees are inspired to acknowledge and thank their colleagues on a consistent basis.”
Tailor your program to employee needs: “If employees feel as though their needs are being met, and that the outcomes of their recognition program match the weight and value of their contributions, the recognition program will be that much more meaningful, and more employees will buy into the value of recognition as a whole,” says Whitman.
Whitman also suggests utilizing employee feedback to inform your offerings. “Business leaders should also use employee feedback to expand the catalog of available rewards; this unlocks the possibility of personalizing the reward redemption experience to the specific needs of every employee.”
Ensure employees understand the meaning behind recognition: “It is important to consistently stress how recognition and rewards platforms help to weave deeper connections between employees and their peers,” says Whitman. “The act of giving and receiving recognition is impactful enough as it is, and it becomes even more impactful when employees have a choice in the reward for their hard work. A sense of connection to one’s co-workers also leads to higher-performing, more engaged workforces that help businesses become more successful in the long run.”