30th December 2009 www.changeboard.com
Engaging the workforce
An effective motivation strategy that rewards and recognises employee achievement and dedication, supporting every member of staff from the shop floor to senior management level, is something that breeds success within an organisation. Motivated employees are happier and more productive in the workplace and, in an age when the concept of having a job for life is alien to most people, they are more likely to remain loyal to their employer.
Make It Appealing
While there are a variety of different methods for motivating employees, an important challenge lies in creating a programme that is bespoke to the organisation and aligned with its core company values and corporate image. After all, a motivation strategy should aim to create brand advocates among staff and encourage pride in the workplace.
Ideally, the corporate image will permeate throughout a programme in order that staff immediately recognise who is rewarding them and why, and then understand the value of engaging with company objectives.
Equally, a reward and recognition programme should be designed to appeal to the individuals that a company seeks to motivate and engage i.e. its staff. Rewards must be aspirational, desirable and, importantly, targeted to the complete cross-section of employees within an organisation. So how can you offer employees appealing rewards that succeed in toeing the corporate line?
Strike a balance
Branded merchandise is one solution, but there is an obvious line to be drawn between giving an employee a designer watch with the company logo emblazoned across it on the one hand, and allowing the message to slip by totally unnoticed with a gift that has no obvious connection to the organisation at all. Staff will not respond well to having the company image thrust upon them at all opportunities. At the other end of the spectrum there is the problem that the employee will forget entirely who gave them the gift! Finding the right balance, therefore, is cardinal.
Most motivation strategies usually incorporate an online reward redemption service. As the world’s only truly global reward and recognition company, Michael C. Fina has been able to track the most popular gift choices in both the USA and the EU. Electronic goods such as DVD players, digital cameras and stereos always remain popular. Luggage sets, vacuum cleaners and kitchenware are very popular too while, uniquely in the US, jewellery is also among the favourite choices. But the question remains, how can company branding be incorporated into rewards of this nature?
Perhaps offering employees the option of having the company logo branded onto their reward? Our research reveals that, when offered, less than three per cent of UK employees decide to take this option. In the US the number is slightly higher, but still less than five per cent.
So we still have a problem in reaching the objective of tailoring a reward and recognition solution so that it will promote company values and also appeal to popular demand while pleasing the recipient. For the programme to be successful, staff need to affiliate their rewards with achieving success for the company.
The UK versus the US
Unlike the UK where it has never been popular, one approach applied by companies in the US is the idea of offering their staff corporate pin-badges as rewards. Staff do not wear the badges, but roughly a third of all US companies believe in regularly presenting them as a means of encouraging pride and a sense of belonging in the workplace. The corporate pin-badge is fairly emblematic of American culture, but when research reveals that employees are not motivated by receiving such items it begs the question as to what is the point in offering them as incentive rewards? Identifying alternative methods of promoting corporate identity through reward programmes in a way that employees will accept is vital.
While America differs from the UK by holding onto the idea of corporate pin-badges, they are certainly ahead in pulling out all stops to ensure that awards are presented with a real sense of occasion. Getting everybody involved and setting some time aside to congratulate an employee in front of a team is a regular occurrence at US companies. When rewards are presented regularly, this gives every employee the chance to enjoy their own successes as well as the successes of their piers but, more importantly, it provides a great opportunity to really emphasise the corporate values behind the reward.
A concept that has been introduced to businesses in the UK following the American lead is the idea of a reward pack that can be presented to the employee in front of colleagues after a few words of appreciation from the boss. A pack will typically contain an official certificate, a letter of thanks from a senior member of staff and a gift card or access code to redeem a further reward, all of which will be personalised and fully branded.
Additional literature and a dedicated reward website are further opportunities for company branding to be included. The employee will now be able to redeem a desirable gift of their choice, such as a DVD player, watch, kitchenware etc. that will not be branded, but also a branded memento from the company that can be kept as a permanent reminder of their achievement.
The branded presentation pack adds tremendous value to the reward giving it a more official nature while appealing to staff, affirming who the reward is from and promoting the company ethos behind it. On top of all this, the member of staff still receives a desirable new gift. Effectively, the reward communication will be branded while the reward itself is not – a solution to the branding issue.
Recognition and motivation programme
This combination of branded reward presentation and non-branded luxury gifts has proven to be a hugely successful concept in motivating employees across both the EU and the US with over 90 per cent of Michael C. Fina clients opting for this as a process of recognition. The bottom line is that a motivation programme must succeed not only in motivating staff, but also in toeing the corporate line.
Friday, 30 November 2009