Choose the Right Employee Reward and Recognition Program Incentive

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Choose the Right Employee Reward and Recognition Program Incentive

The most common type of service award is the traditional length of service program. These awards recognize people for their commitment to the company and can help establish an almost forgotten feeling in today's workplace . . . a sense of belonging. It's no longer realistic to wait until an employee's 25th anniversary to honor his dedication and high performance. Workers who stay with you through the ups and downs deserve to be recognized and thanked for their loyalty and excellent work more often than every couple of decades.

The attendance incentive award program is another well-known employee reward and recognition program incentive. Calling in on short notice to take the day off-whether legitimate or not-creates gaps in staffing, which can lead to costly mistakes and reductions in productivity and quality. It also builds resentment among employees who show up for work every day and have to cover for the person who is often absent.

In recent years, the peer-to-peer service award program has gained popularity. These incentive solutions allow managers and co-workers to identify and reward colleagues who have made the extra effort. Sometimes personalized awards are given on the spot, so there's no delay in recognition-one of the most important aspects of a service award program. Other peer-to-peer incentive plans are set up on a monthly or quarterly schedule, but rarely longer.

A good number of organizations have found success with a citizenship quality award. These incentive programs recognize employees who exemplify certain values that are important to the organization. Quite often they are special customer service employee reward and recognition program awards.

For instance, a large collection agency used such a service award to help motivate and reward its account executives. These employees spent all day interacting with people who were on the verge of bankruptcy and were being hounded by creditors. Frequently the customers were angry, upset and abusive, but not always.

In fact, the company regularly received letters from thankful customers who commended their account executives for treating them with a respect and dignity they hadn't experienced in years. From these letters, management would choose one employee to honor publicly. Recipients would select an award from a merchandise catalog.

Done on a quarterly basis, these customer service employee reward and recognition program awards were highly regarded by employees. They felt as if they were really helping people.

The best way to figure out which kind of employee reward and recognition program award makes sense for your group is to know your participants. Ask questions such as:

  • What are the demographics, including age, gender and single/married?
  • What is the average tenure with the company?
  • Does average length of service vary by department?

    Once you know a few specifics about your target audience, you'll be able to determine whether they would respond best to a peer-to-peer incentive program or an annual incentive award determined by management.

    It's common to have a mixture of these programs when designing a employee reward and recognition program incentive. You may even want to tie a number of incentive programs under one umbrella.

    For example, a large manufacturing plant enjoyed success with this mixed approach. Management started off targeting perfect attendance and on-time records. Then the program expanded to include a peer-to-peer component. As the result of an employee suggestion, management added one of our a merchandise catalog for greater achievements as an option to the regular gift certificates. Eventually, management developed a program that reviewed peer-to-peer honors awarded during a three-month period and selected one for a more significant award.

    One of the most interesting characteristics of this program is how willing management was to let employees influence it. The workers developed a true sense of ownership and connection to their Employee Reward and Recognition Program.

    When you're deciding which kind of service award program to use, keep in mind specific business objectives that tie in with the award recognition program. This connection with corporate goals helps justify and protect the award program's budget. Also, poorly conceived objectives can sink a program, no matter how well intentioned. Brainstorm with colleagues for a cohesive set of goals.

    Last but not least, determine your budget, which encompasses all administrative costs, as well as the awards. The largest portion of your budget, about 70-75%, should go toward the awards themselves, as well as the celebratory banquet or special event.

    Next is promotion, claiming about 15-20% of your budget. If employees don't know about a program, they can't participate. Also, if they think it's not a big deal, they won't attribute much significance to it. Any money left over goes toward administration.

    When planning your budget, give careful thought to the demographics of your target audience. For example, if your service program is targeting a group that makes six figure salaries, the award must have substantial symbolic value or be a fairly nice award in order to get their attention.