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Don’t waste your cash

By March 22, 2014 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

Organisations looking to attract and retain top talent or improve customer service can no longer rely on simply increasing employee compensation and offering cash bonuses. Many successful employers have overcome this challenge by implementing an effective recognition and reward strategy.

A proven way to attract and retain top talent, improve efficiency and increase customer service is to implement a recognition program that rewards excellent performance, or staff going “above and beyond”. If this is tied into company values such as integrity, innovation and respect it has been shown to have the greatest impact. A recognition program should not reward staff for doing their job or meeting their KPIs. This is what they get paid for.

However, it is not easy. How do you decide which elements of a staff recognition program will have the greatest impact on employee engagement, loyalty and motivation?

The best way to start is to ask your staff this question. “What would make you feel most appreciated, valued and respected?” instead of “What do you want?”

When asked “What do you want?” the most common answer is money. It is well reported in numerous research surveys carried out that money is not a key motivator, assuming that your staff are remunerated adequately for their service to your organisation.
When you ask the question “what makes you feel most appreciated” the answer changes dramatically.

The majority of staff respond that a rewards based recognition program would have a far longer lasting positive impact than the cash equivalent. Rewards do not have to be expensive. Often, a certificate of recognition or a pair of cinema tickets will be sufficient if given in the right spirit, with the relevant amount of recognition and a degree of publicity incorporated into this.

When encouraged to focus on the appreciation experience employees often accept the limitations of cash as a satisfactory recognition item.

There are two main reasons why employees prefer rewards based recognition programs.

1.They physically see the reward or remember the experience over a greater length of time. In other words it has a much longer life.

2.Cash is spent quickly, often on household bills, and is equally quickly forgotten. More importantly, it is not related to a specific piece of recognition or activity, where a reward or experience is much more likely to be.

In a recent global staff survey by Mercer Consulting, 57% of staff responded that an ideal recognition program would offer a range of rewards to choose from when asked what would motivate and engage them. They stated that rewards that were of particular interest to them (based on gender and age) would be far more likely to encourage them to perform at a higher level.

So, despite there being a strong consumer preference for cash it is unlikely to make an employee feel as appreciated and valued as when they receive a reward.

Of course, understanding your staff and what they would appreciate from a rewards based program is important. However, it should NEVER replace the personal touch. A quiet word to thank someone, an email of appreciation or a card with your sincere gratitude for a job well done is priceless. It should be the fundamental piece in the recognition jigsaw.

Brownie Points helps its client deliver high quality recognition and reward programs to attract and retain talent. To learn more, call us on 03 9909 7411 or email the team today at

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