Personalization: The Key to Effective Employee Recognition

We all know the adage that one size doesn’t fit all, but when it comes to employee rewards, a baffling number of companies seem to expect one rewards scheme to suit and motivate everyone. With 69% of employees claiming that they would work harder if they felt their hard work was better recognized, there’s everything to gain from upping your employee rewards game.

Here’s a little illustration of why a one size fits all approach is just plain wrong…

While James in HR has a young family and values his time and money highly, Suri in marketing may be prioritizing professional growth at this early stage in her career. Meanwhile, in accounts, Sasha is looking for stability and feels most motivated when her contributions to the company are recognized, while the young sales team love to let their hair down and value the social side of their work.

Clearly, one standardized system of employee rewards and recognition will not elicit the best possible performance from every staff member in this instance. While a bonus or an extra day of holiday will show James that he is truly valued, training and opportunities to shine will most inspire Suri. For Sasha, a personal award or thank you at a company occasion will earn loyalty and positivity, while the sales team will feel more connected to the business through a fun social event.

But orchestrating rewards on an employee-by-employee basis is no walk in the park. This approach can take time, a thorough knowledge of your staff and significant resources. They’re also not always easy to get right. While research suggests some general rules of thumb (longer term staff feel more dissatisfied in their jobs at tech companies, for example), these generalizations don’t always apply.

So how can you start to personalize rewards to elicit more powerful professional performances? These tips will help make personalizing rewards less demanding…

  1. Personalize the basics

It may not be possible to customise every reward or personalize every form of employee recognition, but there are a few very basic things businesses can do to make recognition feel personal. From sending out a monthly thank you email that lists individual staff achievements in a communal setting, to creating personalized certificates for particular achievements, these small touches will make each staff member feel special.

  1. Ask your staff

It’s not always possible to guess what will best motivate your staff, so why not ask them yourself? Creating a survey to get information about the types of rewards and recognition each team member will truly value will help you to design recognition schemes that gets the best out of every employee. It’s easy to set up this type of research, simply design a questionnaire using a tool like Survey Monkey. Don’t forget to send out periodic follow-up questionnaires to find out how your team feel about their new rewards scheme and to perfect it further.

  1.  Design rewards packages

It’s likely that you’ll have as many responses to your survey as you have employees, which means it probably won’t be possible to reward everybody precisely as they’d like. Instead, why not develop a series of rewards packages that your staff can choose from (this resource lists a few options worth considering). Whether it’s extra holiday, spa treats, cinema vouchers, training opportunities, social events, financial rewards or gym memberships – this approach will encourage staff to work harder for the rewards that motivate them most.

By Morgan Franklin
Morgan Franklin