Reward & Recognition Strategies that Ensure Employee Engagement

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A recent article from Sodexo lists 3 types of rewards and recognition that ensure employee engagement. Because every workforce is different, there is not one (or 3) specific things that can “ensure” employee engagement. Companies have been struggling to increase employee engagement for decades. Our industry research shows that there are certain strategies that work. In our experience, Sodexo comes close. Their recommendations follow in italics. Our comments below:

  1. Offering flexible rewards

A great way of offering this flexibility is through prepaid reward cards. They offer complete freedom, with your employees being able to spend their rewards anywhere online or in-store that accepts Visa. 

There’s a benefit for employers too. Because they’re reloadable you don’t have to keep buying new stacks every month—simply top up the employee’s existing card when they’ve earned the reward.

Couple of things to consider here:


  • Several studies from the Incentive Research Foundation find that people perform at higher levels for tangible rewards, and tangible rewards (like merchandise, for example) offer a lasting value. Cash or like-cash (gift cards) are often confused with compensation, especially if you’re just adding to an existing balance without a specific presentation or making a direct connection from the action taken or goal achieved to the reward.


  • Gift cards are often spent like cash, on necessities like gas or utility bills and are not spent like a “reward”. Like cash, many gift cards show a face value (often what the company paid for the card, plus administrative fees), so the employee sees the actual value of the reward or may even perceive it as a lower amount than the company actually paid.


  • Tangible merchandise or experiences are often discounted to the company so that the perceived value of the reward is higher in the mind of the recipient.


  1. Recognition for simply being an employee

Rewarding success is important, but the modern employee also wants an incentive to choose you as an employer in the first place. An employee benefits platform is a great way of doing so.

They show your workforce that you’re grateful for them every day—not just when they’ve gone above and beyond—and encourage greater loyalty.

Kind of. Employees today DO need a reason to choose you as an employer, but it’s more about making sure that the company’s values, social responsibility and purpose are aligned with the employee’s.

We know that when employees feel appreciated, that their accomplishments are being noticed and rewarded, they are more engaged. The most successful programs tie rewards and recognition to achievement or results. This is consistent with a thoughtfully designed performance improvement program. It DOES make sense to have an enterprise-wide platform that ties the company’s initiatives together.


  1. Support their well-being

  • Discounted gym memberships — physical health is directly linked to mental health, so doing all you can as an organization to support employees in living a healthier lifestyle will offer significant benefits for them and the company.


  • Offer free or heavily discounted healthy snacks and drinks


SO close!

Yes, physical health is linked to mental health and today’s forward-thinking employers are making the leap from wellness to well-being. Organizations must go beyond just offering discounted gym memberships or snacks to walking the talk. Providing healthy options in the cafeteria, hold “walking meetings” or providing stress-management resources are some current options. Organizations can add healthy activities into conference schedules, offer mental health resources, etc. An integrated employee program that incorporates wellness initiatives into the performance improvement strategy can also help to demonstrate that the well-being of employees is important to the organization.


People pay attention to what is measured. An experienced Incentive Professional can suggest reward and recognition strategies that are data-driven and proven to increase employee engagement. An experienced firm can guide you through designing a program that will avoid the unintended consequences that some companies experience. A professional incentive, rewards or recognition expert can help to design effective program platforms that will increase engagement, improve performance and market share, retain key employees and more!

Contact us today to get started!

Brian Galonek


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