5 Tips to Enhance Your Employee Rewards Program By Leveraging Employee Milestones

10 June, 2022

5 Tips to Enhance Your Employee Rewards Program By Leveraging Employee Milestones

Employee rewards programs today look vastly different from those of the era gone by. Traditional R&R programs were highly formal, top-down and impersonal. Perhaps the highlight of one’s career would be a souvenir received after serving 10 or 20 years in the same organization. Needless to say, things have changed today. Newer generations at work, particularly millennials, are highly disengaged and don’t stay beyond a few years with a single organization. According to a Gallup study, 21% millennials have reported switching jobs in the past year and 6 in 10 millennials are open to new job opportunities. In such a scenario, having a revamped rewards strategy is of utmost importance to maintain relevance and engage a diverse workforce.

This is not to say that traditional rewards are no longer useful- A study reports that employees at companies with milestone programs stayed on average two years longer than at companies without milestone programs, and projected staying nearly three years longer. However, they need to be combined with various other milestones- both personal and professional- to make your workforce feel seen and acknowledged as whole beings. This is where a customized employee rewards and recognition software can help leaders and managers create an intentional, rewarding experience for their employees.

Why Should You Leverage Employee Milestones?

Consider this scenario- an employee receives a work email reading: “Hello, Mr. xyz. Congratulations on completing 3 years with us today. Thank you.” This will result in an immediate spark of joy within the employee, making him feel valued and appreciated. Now, imagine if in addition, he also received a personalized message from his manager:

“Hello, xyz. It’s been three years today since you started working with us. In this time, you’ve been a wonderful addition to this organization. Your impact has very much been felt in the technical team. We want to use this opportunity to thank you for your contribution in developing our customer success software. Your hard work and sincerity are much appreciated. Looking forward to an even more successful year ahead. Thank you.”

This additional acknowledgement will ingrain the event in the employee’s mind as a positive experience, thus contributing to the overall employer brand perception

 Get Systematic- Unleash the Power of Technology

Tracking and disbursing of rewards that cater to employee milestones is easier said than done; especially if you are a growing team in a large-scale organization. The first step to streamline this process is to set clear expectations, jot down the prerequisites, and build consensus around the rewards framework. During this process, it can help to have an automated system in place, such as a digital rewards and recognition platform that can assist and simplify your R&R framework.

Keeping track of upcoming milestones, documentation of recognitions received and given, employees’ personal reward preferences based on their previous selections, and redemption of rewards from an extensive catalog can all be made possible through the platform.

Personalize the Experience- Award with a Keepsake

Modern employee recognition programs exhibit a key focus on the personalization of rewards- the more the relevance and connection of the reward with employees’ subjective idiosyncrasies, more the impact! For instance, you can recognize an employee for completing a year within your organization by presenting a custom-made “Rookie of the Year” trophy or plaque along with a delectable snack hamper and a gift card to a luxury restaurant or a shopping voucher. In line with that, an employee celebrating 5 years of service can be awarded with a “Mentor of the Year” plaque and a household item or gadget as a reward along with personalized messages from his/her team members.

Small gestures such as the above make professional milestones a delightful, warm, and genuine affair. The right R&R Vendor can provide customized merchandize with branded packaging as well as made-to-order trophies, plaques, and certificates that can serve as keepsakes, and can help amplify the impact of a reward.

Make it a Celebration!

When it comes to celebrating milestones such as years of service, the ‘how’ is as important as the ‘why’ behind the recognition. As a natural psychological need, human beings are often motivated to excel and do better when their achievements are publicized and rewarded over a social forum. Thus, the best way to capitalize on your employees’ professional milestones is by involving the relevant people.

Besides a physical celebration such as a team lunch or outing, an interesting feature of digital R&R platforms that has gained immense traction amid the hybrid work culture is social recognition. Employees can be recognized and rewarded over the platform and the receiver can post the accomplishment over the internal social wall as well as over other social communication channels such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Doing so allows for amplification of the milestone and creates a cascading effect of appreciation across the organization.

Let Appreciation Flow- Even After the Milestone

The employee experience is built up of many micro-interactions within the organization, in other words, the day-to-day lived experiences of employees. Therefore, while it is important to focus on the major ‘aha’ moments to boost employee morale, it is equally essential to celebrate the smaller milestones that culminate into these bigger achievements. Giving a spot award for a successful client presentation or a shout-out for helping a coworker, for instance, can encourage the right behaviors amongst employees.

Include Personal Occasions

With the rise in numbers of remote and hybrid workers, it has become increasingly challenging to maintain the human aspect of work. This only reiterates the value of celebrating personal milestones of your team members, be it a combined team birthday gift or a note of congratulations for completing a cross-country run. Seeing employees as whole human beings contributes to feelings of positivity and joy at the workplace. Certain employee personal milestones like birthdays can also be scheduled through and celebrated via an employee rewards tool.

Holistic employee engagement is not merely a buzzword. It requires rewards professionals to adopt a decentralized and people-first approach to recognition. Powerful work cultures focus on personalized rewards, understanding the strong link between individual aspirations and overall performance and retention. The right technology can support them in monitoring individual preferences and creating timely and meaningful ‘peak moments’ for their workforce. Thus, a customizable rewards and recognition software can help leaders, managers and peers create an appreciative, rewarding environment at work.

Connect with us today to understand how our holistic R&R platform can help in accommodating employee milestones and streamlining your rewards program!

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