One size doesn’t fit all
Would you give the same reward or gift to an 18 year old man and a 55 year old woman? Or how about a 25 year old woman and a 65 year old man? I would guess not, because they typically have different tastes, priorities and activities or interests.
The same applies for gender, ethnicity, and religious leaning. Each category is likely to want recognition, in different ways.
So why recognise and reward them the same at work?
While companies are recognising the value of inspiring and engaging staff, and rewarding them for going the ‘extra mile’ or ‘above and beyond’, many have yet to fully appreciate that these rewards and recognitions must match the motivational values of the person receiving them.
Today’s workforce is made up of employees from a variety of generations, all with different strengths, experiences and values. Matching rewards to these values can ensure that they are significant, motivational and achieve their intended purpose.
Here is a quick guide to rewarding today’s multigenerational workforce:
This creative, innovative, tech savvy, group of multi-taskers have grown up with instant gratification as a way of life; including, finding information at the drop of a hat, or redefining long held traditions. This group believes that work should be somewhat of a second family and an environment that is fun, engaging and sociable. Their different approach will affect the way they perceive rewards and recognition.
Perks, awards and incentives that fit into their values and goals will guarantee that these rewards hit their mark. To fulfill millennial values consider perks such as • Casual dress days • Tuition reimbursement • Flexibility of office hours and location • A day off in lieu • Mentoring • Access to and integration of new technology
Generation X statistically holds the highest education levels across all age groups. This highly educated, active, and family oriented group have a work hard, play hard mentality and are socially conscious.
Perks that will most incent this group include: • Granting them freedom by not micromanaging their projects • Autonomy to pursue ‘passion projects’ • Opportunities to continue learning and gaining new skills • Flexible work arrangements • Time off for voluntary work
The ‘Boomer’ generation is one of the first generational groups to be concerned about retirement with many working past the common retirement age. Baby Boomers see their current jobs as a position they’re in for the long haul.
Baby Boomers will appreciate perks that align with these values including: • Opportunities to learn and gain new skills especially in the technology sector • Wellness programs • Healthcare incentives and benefits • Recognition of long tenure and loyalty to their organisation • Retirement contributions
Cross Generational Rewards
Multigenerational, multi ethnicity and multi religious workforces can be rewarded with a wide range rewards, or simply with the act of recognition through positive feedback, so think carefully when implementing your Culture of Appreciation.
Here are some reward ideas which any of these groups will appreciate and will help in your quest for improved engagement and passion in the workplace.
Incentive ideas for across the board recognition and rewarding include: • Wellness programs • Community volunteer programs • education • Non cash incentives • Incentive trips • Peer-to-peer recognition rewards • Positive feedback and employee rewards • Training
Many of the perks mentioned above can be executed with little or no money and can have a huge impact on employee satisfaction, morale and productivity, while fulfilling the values of work-life balance.
Engagement is more than employee happiness.
Employee engagement and staff recognition programs are not only about the happiness of your employees.
Just as important, if not more so, are the business results. After all, if there are no measurable improvements to the business, why embark on an engagement or recognition program?
Employee engagement strategies measure the energy, effort, and passion employees bring to their work. And that’s important to bottom-line success. Hence, employee engagement is indispensable to the success of any organisation.
Studies by industry expert’s show that engaged employees in an organisation tend to work harder, are more motivated, provide better customer service and have lower turnover and absenteeism rates. The bottom line is that employee engagement can have a profound effect on an organisation’s overall performance.
Employee Engagement studies have shown that when employees feel truly valued and appreciated, they tend to work harder. That’s why one of the best ways to drive engagement is to implement a recognition (and reward?) program in your organisation. The act of giving and receiving employee recognition for contribution and effort is a great way to show appreciation and help improve engagement.
A 2021 Workplace Trends Report shows that in addition to promoting higher engagement, employee rewards and recognition programs can yield higher profits, higher productivity, higher retention rates, and higher sales. Now that’s a great return on investment. With results like this all businesses should take note.
An excellent way to optimise a recognition program is to design one that is consistent, fair and transparent, and represents your organisational values, while understanding the motivations of your multi generational workforce.
When implemented, a recognition and reward program should be customised to meet the unique cultural and generational needs and preferences of your employee base, so keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Implement uniform, company-wide reward and recognition programs that are paired with clear objectives customised to drive your most wanted activities, behaviours, and outcomes.
- Be aware of your employees’ cultural and generational preferences. The instant text message or an email that motivates a millennial employee could simply frustrate a Baby Boomer who prefers reward or recognition delivered in person.
- It is also imperative to understand the laws of the country to develop employee compensation plan, both from a tax perspective and a privacy one.
- If you are giving rewards, consider the most appropriate balance between monetary and non-monetary awards. A range of rewards, from e-gift cards to experiences and merchandise are ideal to satisfy today’s workforce. Also worth considering are internal rewards such as paid time off, learning and development initiatives, or health related rewards. The great thing about these rewards is that they can be high impact to the recipient, while being lower cost to the employer.
- Implement the right tools and technology platform to ensure that consistent company-wide recognition can be easily customised to your organisation’s need of employee recognition. Ensure that recognition can be given instantly to maximise impact, so a technology that includes a mobile App is particularly useful, especially for staff who are mobile of not desk based. There are numerous platforms on the market that can deliver these benefits, while reducing operational costs when supporting the engagement program, and delivering real time information to management.
Companies have now realised that recognition (and reward) programs for ALL employees help encourage desired behaviours, motivating employees to perform at a higher level.
With lower attrition and absenteeism rates, higher productivity, improved customer experience and more, if your organisation does not have employee engagement as a high priority you are not maximising your most precious commodity – your staff.
How does your organisation reward its multigenerational workforce? Hopefully your answer is ‘carefully, with a thought on the motivation of the recipient.’
After all, your employees are your ONLY unique competitive advantage, so protecting them is crucial for your business success, so beware. If you don’t recognise your staff for their positive behaviour and contribution, your competition will!
Tony Delaney, CEO Brownie Points.