Red Letter Days Motivates outlines how an engaging rewards package can create a more motivated and productive workforce

Happy workforce

When it comes to trying to reach goals in our personal lives, we often build in rewards to keep ourselves motivated.

With customer relationships too, we see the growing importance of rewards, with companies looking to find new, creative ways to encourage customer loyalty through incentive schemes which promise freebies, discounts, and special treats.

For businesses though it can often be challenging to strike the perfect balance between embracing the psychology of rewards and the power of praise when it comes to their employees.

While it is true that praise itself works as a primary motivating factor, and that employees cite verbal recognition as important to them, in terms of longevity, a well-structured reward and incentive scheme can provide those all important, clear and precise goals, that lead to prolonged and consistent engagement.

According to a 2016 study carried out by Red Letter Days Motivates, 82% of workers who stated that they felt motivated at work had received some sort of reward in the last twelve months. A clear message that rewards work, especially when coupled with the information that 69% of workers who stated that they feel demotivated at work had received no reward in the last year.

However, it isn’t as simple as just setting up a reward scheme and sitting back to let it tick over. Rewards need to be thoughtfully chosen to make employees feel valued as individuals, and a one-size-fits-all approach is never going to achieve this. A successful reward programme will be carefully tailored to fit the needs of your business and the specific demographic of your employees, to tap into its full potential as a motivational tool. It also needs to be implemented alongside regular, authentic praise and simple acts of appreciation.

A scheme which offers a range of rewards is more likely to be successful, particularly if there are different types of rewards, ranging from physical items to days out, incentive travel, and discounts to popular attractions. Even more efficient, in terms of longevity, are the types of rewards which foster workplace relationships and create memories which go on to create long-term positive associations.

These type of rewards, such as hospitality days or authentic experiences, which offer something that money cannot usually buy, not only have a positive impact on those receiving the rewards but also create an upbeat atmosphere across the organisation. But beware, this culture of motivation and positivity is only allowed to flourish and grow when a rewards programme is transparent and open to all, with equal opportunities to achieve.

So, what do you need to consider when setting up your scheme, as well as offering a range of rewards and being accessible to all?

Firstly, small goals work better than big long-term ones, providing more opportunities to celebrate success and feeling more achievable. Employees can often become disconnected from long-term goals, especially when it seems as if they are not being tracked or reviewed on a regular basis. Think about it in terms of your personal goals, what would you find more motivating? A reward after six months of sustained effort or a small reward at the end of each week? The answer here seems obvious, and not only are short-term goals more valuable motivational tools, but they also allow for more flexibility if you need to change the goalposts or suggest new targets.

Of course, this is not to say that you should avoid long-term goals altogether, and in fact a clear sense of where you are heading is imperative so that you can continually assess the success of the programme. Knowing what your overarching goals are, gives any reward scheme the foundations it needs to become a long-lasting motivational strategy, and one which proves to be worthy of your investment. If for example, your long-range goal is to increase repeat orders by 20%, then you need to keep sight of this when setting short-term goals, as well as to consistently collect data throughout the year, so that you are easily able to track your return on investment.

Organisations are increasingly recognising the positive impact that the psychology of rewards can have within the workplace. By offering a platform upon which to set up transparent short-term targets and long-term goals, employers give workers a tangible and accessible way to work towards success. A range of rewards and incentives which not only recognise the workers’ contributions but also create positive memories and associations, lay the groundwork for nurturing a culture of engagement and loyalty within the workplace.

Above and beyond recognition, which on its own is a powerful motivating force, a rewards and incentives scheme provides a robust framework for success, with clear goals, equal opportunity to succeed, the ability to collect data, and the chance to have fun and celebrate together along the way.

Reward and Red Letter Days Motivates are blogging about motivation and engagement. FOLLOW THE SERIES HERE

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