14 September, 2021

Why a One-Size-Fits-All Employee Rewards Program Won’t Work

In today’s times, our workforces are more diverse and distributed while the talent market is more competitive than ever before. An employee rewards program thus needs to be more dynamic and employee-centric if it hopes to meet the firm’s engagement and retention goals. Traditionally, HR and admin teams from businesses have made decisions on benefits packages, corporate gifts, performance incentives and the like. However, this approach is redundant for the following key reasons:

  • Multigenerational Workforce

From 2020 onwards, there are officially 5 generations that have been working together in the workplace. This statistic is mind-boggling. Different age groups naturally desire different rewards- for example; senior executives may be looking at household related items whereas employees in their early 20s may value virtual learning experiences more. Besides, Generation Z- the latest one to enter the workforce- not only demand rewards for their hard work but also want a say in the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of rewards.

  • Remote Workers and Gig Workers

Many employees are now working from home, which means they will value their employers looking out for their families, through virtual engagement activities for kids, for instance. Additionally, since gig workers are not included in the company’s benefits program, they will need to be given special rewards and incentives to keep them motivated.

  • Living in a hyper-personalized world

In a consumerist world full of personalized experiences, rewards need to tailored to an individual’s preference. Ideally, employees should be able to decide how they want to be recognized for their good work. Be it through a personal note or public recognition, through movie tickets or shopping vouchers- top firms across the globe already offer an extensive range of rewards and experiences that can be redeemed instantly.

HR digital tools like an employee rewards platform have come a long way in helping to create a robust rewards architecture. There are many benefits to adopting such a solution. Prominently, it reduces much of the administrative workload along with procurement and fulfillment costs, since R&R vendors typically offer end-mile reward deliveries. Small, frequent rewards, in fact, create a win-win situation- they’re inexpensive while being an easy to disburse option. Additionally, the burden of decision making shifts from the management to employees when the latter are offered a catalog of products to choose from. The best R&R platforms also offer data on employee reward preferences through intelligent reporting and direct pulse surveys. Such tools ensure that there is no guesswork or assumptions in play when deciding on what employees want.

The pandemic has furthered themes of compassion and empathy in the workplace, which has necessitated change in the overarching goal of employee rewards. Rather than being transactional or performance-based, total rewards need to be holistic in nature, reinforcing the need to be valued, appreciated and connected to the larger brand and purpose. Firms must leverage both monetary and non-monetary rewards to deliver a well-rounded employee experience. Further, interventions like mental health support, wellness seminars and upskilling are desirable rewards and must be a part of the modern firm’s rewards kitty. Finally, while it is established that no single perfect RnR program exists for every firm, it is important to continuously iterate your processes until the perfect balance is achieved. Till then, keep asking your employees for feedback and make them ambassadors for your firm’s engagement program!