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9 corporate perks top talent can’t ignore

Corporate perks are one of the big ways companies are fighting the war for talent. A war that, according to the ONS, is intensifying.

It’s ever-more important for your business to find creative ways to attract and keep quality staff.

But corporate perks aren’t just about blinding staff with cheap, glitzy gifts. Quality employees are more clever than that.

These perks need to be an extension of how you see employees, and the kind of workplace culture you want to enjoy.

Don’t just think about what’s going to make you look funky and different when job-seekers are scrolling through CV warehouses’ open roles.

Think about how your perks reflect your attitude towards staff and your business.

1. Travel

travel is a very popular corporate perkTravelling is enriching, energising and broadens the mind. It’s also one of the most common ambitions your employees are likely to have.

Offering time and resources to see the world will enrich the minds of your staff. And your employees will see that you value them not just as professionals, but individuals.

2. Employee rewards

Make sure staff efforts don’t go without reward and recognition. Rewards become long-lasting trophies and positive memories for staff.

Jump over here if you want the full run-down on everything need to know before offering employee rewards.

3. Flexible hours

Modern life has a funny way of refusing to fit comfortably in the time outside 9am and 5pm.

Showing a bit of trust and letting staff be flexible with hours makes it much more comfortable to balance work and life. Remote working access would also be a huge game-changer for a lot of staff.

4. Time to volunteer

If you care about something, and it’s part of your company’s values, give your staff a stake in it.

Let them put some time aside every year to volunteer for a good cause that reflects what your company’s about.

As a corporate perk, it’s more than a feel-good exercise. Your staff get invested in the same things your company cares about, improving employee engagement. And boosting internal sentiment about your company.

5. Holiday trading

If you’re not already familiar, holiday trading is a form of salary sacrifice. Employees give up a slice of their annual pay for an equivalent number of days off. Or selling their extra holiday back.

As we pointed out in the flexible working section, everyone’s life is a bit different. And what’s important to everyone is different.

Some employees would relish the chance for an extra week with their family. Other work-obsessives might bristle when asked to take their days out of the office.

The most important thing is that the choice is there.

6. Training and development

The ugly stereotype that millennial staff are fickle job-hoppers does start with a sliver of the truth. Millennial staff are keen to learn, and they’re keen to take opportunities to grow.

Offering opportunities for staff to grow has two major effects. Talented people will seize the opportunity to develop their skills, and they’ll be inclined to stay with the companies that invest in them.

7. Staff discounts

Make the everyday a little bit easier, every day. Offer your employees a way to ease the daily burden of the things they can’t avoid making part of their routine spending.

Even discounts that seem small add up quickly when you use them over the course of a year.

Alternatively, you could arrange discounts on services like laundry, gym membership or cafes by dealing in bulk with local suppliers.

Staff will appreciate a corporate perk that does something positive for them every day.

9. Profit-sharing

Sometimes an employee can feel a bit divorced from the impact of their work. The difference between the company having a good year and a brilliant year might not get them fired up.

If it’s right for your company culture, profit-sharing would build more investment between employees and the success of the company.

They’d have more emotional connection to the effects of their work, and a sense of connection with the business.

Empathy first

The common thread through these corporate perks is having a bit of empathy. Acknowledging staff are human beings, not just cogs in a machine. People with needs, ideas, and wants.

That’s the foundation of any attempt to deploy some difference-making perks to attract and keep top staff. Get the emotional core right before fretting about which perk is right for your business.

get a grip on employee rewards without hitting the books

The best guide to understanding employee rewards you can read in 10 minutes

Employee rewards are vital to your employee recognition and benefit mix. Getting the most from your rewards means getting to grips with the basics of using them. Enjoy the full rundown on what you need to know about employee rewards.

In this blog, we cover the fundamentals of:

1. What employee rewards are

2. Why employee rewards matter

3. When you should reward staff

4. How to manage your rewards

Click to jump to a section.

What employee rewards are

An employee reward is any token, gift, prize, or cash-value trophy. You use them to thank employees for something you or your company believe is valuable.

That’s the simple part. The harder part is figuring out how you can make the best use of them in your business.

How that intersects with recognition and incentives

Recognition

Rewards act as a signal boost for recognition. We’ve said this a few times, but rewards aren’t the same as recognition.

They’re linked, because rewards can back up recognition. But it’s important to get a grip on how recognition works without rewards to make sure you’re getting the most out of your rewards.

Incentives

It’s easy to confuse incentives and employee rewards and put them into the same neat category. The truth is they’re related, but very different ideas.

An incentive still involves a reward, but to be an incentive the employee reward needs to be withheld until the employee or team hits a target.

An effective incentive also has to be discussed ahead of time to give the employee motivation to complete a task or hit a milestone. Otherwise, you’re firmly in the world of just issuing rewards.

Now that you’ve got the what, we’ll walk you through the why, when and how of using employee rewards for your business.

We’ll start with why they’re so important.

Why you need to offer employee rewards

You need to offer rewards for three major reasons:

  • Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
  • Operant conditioning.
  • Expectation.

We’ll explain each of them here.

Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards

In the office, intrinsic reward is the feel-good sensation your staff take from their work. Feeling proud of achievements.

Taking pride in supporting their team. Feeling a sense of accomplishment in helping the business reach its goals.

Many elements go into that sensation. Your management style, engagement, the work itself. And recognition, too. That’s why it’s so important you get a grip on both rewards and recognition.

Extrinsic rewards, the other kind, are the ones you buy from us. They’re external rewards that have some kind of tangible element. Their real-world cash value is what fuels their value to staff.

The two need separate understanding, but they intersect. The physical (extrinsic) rewards make the intrinsic (emotional) rewards more powerful. They do this by turning them into trophies.

Not only do your staff get something they enjoy through the reward, there’s a lasting impact. Non-cash value rewards make excellent trophies. Unlike cash, which we’ve covered already as a poor reward.

Those trophies have an afterglow. They help your employee bask in a sense of achievement whenever they reflect on their reward.

That means employee rewards do more than make employees feel great about one achievement. It makes them feel better about their entire job. It’s a useful tool for building employee engagement.

Combined, there’s a big influence on motivation and job performance. Assuming you deploy your employee reward scheme effectively.

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning is a fancy way of saying “getting people to do what you want.”

The concept is similar to Pavlov and his famous bell. Only instead of making your employees hungry you make them feel good.

The process is very simple. Your employees do something exceptional. What that is, we’ll address later. Recognising this exceptional event, you reward the employee.

The reward, as we’ve said, doubles-down on how good they already feel about their achievement.

It’s human nature to seek out those good feelings again. Behaviour you reward is behaviour you’re more likely to see repeated in the future.

As a result, you quietly train staff to associate good feelings with work achievements.

The rewards, like the ones we supply, make that easy.

Expectation

Rewards are an extremely common tool for incentives and motivation. Excellence requires acknowledgement and celebration. As we pointed out, rewards are a very effective tool for marking and creating high performance.

The flip side of rewards being commonplace is that they become an expectation. What was once a fringe benefit is something staff assume they’ll receive.

Expectation is very important to employees. Failing to meet it starts to erode the way employees see their employers. Over time, failing to match expectation chips away at their faith in the business.

This has a knock-on effect on employee engagement.

Summary:

To summarise, you need to offer rewards for three primary reasons.

1. They’re good for motivation, morale and productivity. They interact with and amplify the intrinsic rewards we mentioned to do that.

2. Employee rewards help you get more of what you want from staff. That’s by influencing and reinforcing their behaviour through rewards.

3. Staff are expecting to receive them.

Now it’s a question of when you should be doling out the rewards.

When you need to offer employee rewards

Love2shop Corporate RewardsAs we pointed out earlier, rewards work as behaviour modifiers. As such, rewards need deploying when you have a chance to create a better work culture.

We can’t tell you every single situation in your company when a reward would be appropriate.

At least not without one of the team getting to know your business first (you’re always welcome to give us a call, we’d love to do just that).

But we can give you, based on your experience, some suggestions to start the engine for you.

Reward employees for:

  1. Exceeding performance targets
  2. Exceptional customer service
  3. Sustained outstanding performance
  4. Putting other people’s needs before their own
  5. Going beyond their job description for the company
  6. Spotting major roadblocks and coming up with ways around them.
  7. Exceptional ideas for the future. You should already have a way to submit ideas, and you should reward the most exceptional ideas
  8. Volunteering their free time to support charities you value
  9. Putting your company values first in their work and behaviour
  10. Taking up an exceptional amount of voluntary training
  11. Solving a long-standing problem
  12. Organising fun (but appropriate) social events or drumming up community spirit
  13. Referring valuable new clients
  14. Displaying notable loyalty to the business
  15. Being a leader in the office, whether it’s making sure the office gets cleaned or helping employees deal with change

If you’re ever unsure if an employee should be rewarded, run a mental checklist. Ask yourself if the situation is:

  • Notable: For both the employee and their peers, the reward should attach to something obviously notable.
  • Positive: It should almost go without saying, but only reward positive behaviour.
  • Values-based: In clear alignment with your company values.
  • Purposeful: Contributes to the purpose and mission of your company.
  • Timely: Don’t let time pass between a noteworthy employee event and your offering of a reward.

Now you know what, why and when. It’s just a question how rewards should find their way to staff.

How to reward employees

The different types of employee rewards, how to deliver them to staff, and the relative merits of each approach.

Digital, physical, a blend of each, the benefits and drawbacks.

Types of rewards

  • Cash.
  • Cash-value.
    • Gift cards.
    • Vouchers.
    • Digital reward codes.
  • Trophies.
  • Merchandise.
  • Experiences.

The pros and cons of different employee rewards

Cash

Cash is not a great reward, even if it is a popular one. Read more about our opinion on that here. But to give you the summary: your staff are used to it.

It’s an existing transaction. Money is also a source of stress. It doesn’t make sense to confuse pay and rewards by rewarding with cash.

Gift Cards

Gift cardsLove2shop Gift Cards are versatile and exciting. Our gift cards come with more than 95 in-store retailers, and e-gift cards.

E-gift cards are a further selection of physical and digital brands accessed by swapping the value of your gift card online. Gift cards work for just about anyone, assuming you can get them delivered.

Vouchers

Vouchers are simple, tactile and immediate. We still see a place for the voucher in the reward marketplace.

Particularly for on the spot, quick rewards among staff that can’t use a phone or computer at work.

Digital rewards

Digital reward codesLove2shop Reward Codes (or e-codes) make it simple to ping rewards about teams that aren’t always in the same.

By using SMS and as delivery, anyone with a phone or computer can receive the reward.

Experiences

We’ve watched the demand for experience grow massively over the last two years. It’s a sign of changing times, as more of the younger generation enters the workforce.

As a result, there’s less emphasis on items and more longing for adventure. Whether it’s a group experience or individual experiences, they’re rising as workplace demographics change.

Trophies

There’s still a place for the simple trophy. Even if other rewards become their own sort of trophies, an actual trophy has value.

They’re very effective for capping off internal contests or light-hearted competitions. And they’re extremely cost-effective compared to the positives impact on morale.

Merchandise

We don’t just mean a company-branded windbreaker. We’re talking about electronics, fashion, kitchenware, cameras, sporting equipment, luggage and more.

Demand for merchandise tends to trend toward older generations, but there’s a lot of older workers to cater for.

Sourcing your rewards

Obviously, we’re a bit biased on this subject. But you would have to be mad to try to source and house a catalogue worth of rewards on your own.

Especially if you want to use a mix of rewards. Let a third party handle that for you. Reward suppliers offer you reward management, platforms, expertise on running schemes and quick delivery.

Our employee rewards as a case study

Your company doesn’t have to just pick a reward and stick with it. Love2shop Business Services’ teams are a great example of using a blend of rewards.

We have logistics, office-bound and mobile staff across multiple locations. We have to mix up how we reward teams.

Our warehouse staff spend most of their time away from a computer. To keep the warehouse ticking there’s a lot of picking, packing, boxing and counting going on.

So any kind of employee reward tends to be physical. Our warehouse teams also swell quite a lot during the run-up to Christmas. Gift cards and vouchers are timely and tangible.

In a warehouse environment, without phones or computers handy, they make perfect sense.

Some of our sales staff, on the other hand, are mobile. And we also have a second location down south.

Mobile sales staff are only in the office once or twice a month, and our second office come to HQ even more sporadically.

For them, a reward essentially has to be digital. We can send digital rewards quite easily with a digital reward code.

Anyone, anywhere, gets a code through their phone or email and cash them in straight away.

Meanwhile, we have a lot of flexibility for our permanent in-office staff. Because all of our employees have an Everyday Benefits discount gift card, we can top them up as a reward.

It saves us issuing a brand new gift card for every reward opportunity. They then spend the EDB discount card just like a regular Love2shop Gift Card.

We can also draw on business occasion cards and occasionally digital rewards.

Just like our clients, we have a mix of options at our disposal because we have a mix of staff.

What you need to do now about your employee rewards

Start implementing. Worry about formalising and automating later. You could spend a long time planning and worrying about the perfect reward scheme, but just getting started matters.

Time spent dithering is time spent not trying, doing or learning. You will want to deploy, assess, re-assess and adjust as time goes on. Starting with a modest, deliverable plan and expand on your successes.

Use our list of behaviours as inspiration to get started, and assemble a list of achievements to look for. Once you know what you want to reward, consider how your employees work.

Their unique work conditions will dictate the type of reward and how it’s delivered. Then just get to it.

If you want anything, whether that’s some gift cards or just some advice. Get in touch. We’d love to talk to you. Just use the live chat on this blog, call us on the number at the top of this page, or shoot us an email.

14 effective ways to improve staff retention and slash your recruitment budget

Staff retention is, undeniably, a vital element of any successful business.

The stats show that employee turnover is a giant financial burden to the nation’s employers.

The cost of voluntary turnover in the UK [1]:

  • Replacing a skilled employee costs
  • £20,000 to £30,000
  • Lost productivity of turnover costs
  • £16,000 to £39,000
  • Finding and training new staff costs
  • £3,000 to £6,500
  • Training a new employee takes
  • 12 to 18 months
  • In 2013 alone, turnover in the UK cost
  • Over £1 billion

Those figures show an unacceptable burden to UK business. And employees are still as prone to leave as ever – in 2016 alone, one in seven UK employees resigned from a position.

If you look around your office, could you honestly say you could afford to lose one in seven staff? For the sake of your company, we hope the answer is a resounding “no.”

The good news is many problems that cause high turnover are avoidable. With a bit of intent, investment and time, you could address staff retention in a quarter.

Start with the ideas we lay out here.

14 effective ways to improve your staff retention

Click below to jump to a section:

 

1. Advocate your values

If your business doesn’t have values, it’s time to think of investing in some. We choose the word investment on purpose.

Values are a significant boost to a company that lives and dies by upholding them. However, like any investment they need attention, maintenance and care to be valuable.

Modern staff increasingly indicate they want to work for ethical companies. The world is more aware than ever of the effects of our lives, personal and professional, on the wider world.

As a result, there’s some existential and internal pressure to behave in an ethical manner. Those needs dovetail neatly with what employees want from their employers.

Upholding some coherent, ethical values will help you with staff retention. [2]

2. Establish a purpose and talk about it

connecting employees with values helps improve employee retentionConnect the work your employees do to something more interesting than bars on a chart. Then make that your purpose, and find a way to talk about it.

Graphs and bar charts are too boring. They need context to get an emotional response from staff. They don’t seem as tangible as real-life outcomes.

Too many companies set out with a purpose, but it ends up as flimsy PR, internally and externally.

Employees stay with employers that make a real difference to the wider world. Connecting employees with a professional raison d’être gives them more than just figures and graphs to look to when it comes to what they take satisfaction in with their work. [3]

3. Recognise staff

Recognise your employees for anything that brings sincere value to your workplace. Not just for hitting targets, but for improving your workplace overall.

Recognition isn’t just another form of reward, it’s a way of building a relationship among a group.

From both managers and colleagues, it’s important for human beings to feel like a valued member of a team. It’s vital to our emotional comfort and personal and professional safety.

Recognition improves areas like motivation, productivity, engagement and satisfaction. It extends to retention, too: 55% of employees state that they would leave their current job for a company that embraces recognition. [4]

4. Empower staff and listen to them

Having a voice in decision-making gives staff a sense of buy-in over their work and what they’re being asked to do.

The only thing worse than not listening to staff, is listening to staff and ignoring what they say.

When your staff believe in a project that requires their expertise, they will be more invested in the project’s success.

Long-term, this helps build your employees’ engagement with their work and your company. [5]

Engaged employees are much more likely to stick with a company than disengaged employees.

That’s because having power and a voice is a big part of feeling close to an employer’s values and purpose.

5. Pay fair and competitive salaries

Your business isn’t “getting away” with anything by underpaying staff. You’re only going to guarantee they will leave.

A job can only ever look like a stepping stone an extremely underpaid employee.

Poor pay remains one of the top reasons an employee leaves a job. Considering the enormous cost of replacing talent we outlined earlier in this article, paying staff badly is at best an own-goal.

The short-term gains don’t make up for having to reinvest in new staff. [6]

6. Talk about the future

Not only the future of the business, but the future of the employee. It’s important for two major reasons.

First, job security. Being acknowledged as a part of the plans for the future makes it clear they have a place in the company.

That security lets staff stop fretting about the safety of their job, and focus on their work. [7]

Second, it gives staff the security that your company is the place to achieve their career goals.

You’ll struggle to retain staff in the long term if they aren’t sure what their role long-term role is. They need to know if that matches up their ambitions.

7. Reward excellence

Issue rewards for the best and brightest. As we’ve pointed out before, rewards for excellence become trophies.

Trophies become reminders of personal excellence, and they generate passive motivation.

Feeling valued, and having a token of that value, makes staff likely to seek another reward in the future. They’ll do that by striving for more achievement.

In that same article, we also discussed how ineffective cash is as a reward. It doesn’t create an effective association between achievement and the sensation of reward.

When giving rewards, prioritise non-cash rewards unless you absolutely have to use cash.

8. Invest in employee skills

You don’t want an immobile, low-skilled workforce. You’ll hobble your company’s growth. The problem is, it’s so easy to create one through underinvestement in skills.

Staff retention means putting resources into your people.

It will also stifle your ability to grow and change over time to meet the changing needs of the world around you.

Diversify and invest in your staff’s skills. Or the ones who can grow and change will end up walking away to companies offering to nurture them. [11]

9. Seek feedback and act on it

Receive feedback, and make sure to move on it. Asking for advice and input but ignoring replies actually makes the problem worse.

It’s a two-faced approach, paying lip-service to an obligation, but not truly believing in what you’re doing.

Ignoring feedback, especially when it was sought, will drive employee morale straight off a cliff. Low morale is a direct line to struggling with staff retention. [12]

10. Take an honest look at your management

It only takes one bad manager to undo a great deal of careful planning.

At its worst, half of employees choosing to go left directly because of management.

When a business makes significant cultural, or organisational, shifts it’s vital that every manager understands and embraces them. [10]

This blog has already covered how only measuring KPIs undermines your company’s values. We’ve also covered how toxic management can appear deceptively successful.

Toxic management will unpick every good intention you set out with in your business. And only measuring the success of KPIs and metrics encourages that toxic behaviour.

11. Open up flexible working

Flexibility matters to workers. Employees consistently demand flexibility from their employers.

Technology has allowed work to infiltrate the home lives of workers through computers.

As a result, the lines between the personal and professional are irreparably blurred.

Many staff see a fair but neccessary transaction here. In exchange for more work out of office hours, employers have less say over where that work takes place.

You might have some hard red lines, depending on your industry. You can’t fly in the face of regulations, legal constraints or even the need to staff your call centre. But flexibility will be a prized workplace benefit for the foreseeable future.

And employees will leave for employers with more flexible approaches to work. That’s a direct threat to staff retention.[8] [9]

12. Offer robust employee benefits

Employee benefits are not optional. They’re vital for attracting and keeping quality people.

Even just finding a way to alleviate the financial burden on your staff could be monumental.

Every day, a huge swathe of British workers struggle to prevent endless financial struggle from affecting their work. [13]

Employee benefits that improve quality of life increase employee attachment to employers.

Competitive employee benefits packages reduce personal issues that make employees think about leaving.

They also help you attract new employees at the same time. Combined it’s great for acquisition and staff retention.

13. Address your work environment

Does your workplace work for your workforce? As companies grow, workplaces themselves can become a millstone around the neck.

They can stop teams from reaching their potential and frustrate your employees. Frustrated employees are poor for staff retention.

Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple invest collective billions into their work environments. Because they know employees need appropriate surroundings to excel.

Some factors that make a workplace a better environment for your employees include:

  • The ability for employees to communicate properly.
  • Some degree of privacy, or space for quiet work.
  • Access to the technology they need to do their work, like wireless internet or video conferencing equipment.
  • A location that’s desirable without being inaccessible for staff.
  • Access to food and health services.
  • Safety of workers during their working day.

14. Embrace the exit interview

If an employee leaving your business is a cloud, then the exit interview needs to be the silver lining.

You can’t claw back an employee already walking out the door, but you can learn from what set them on that path.

Then you can apply that knowledge to the rest of the your staff. Especially the ones who might have one foot out the proverbial door.

Put employees at ease by holding the interview after they’ve secured a reference. That way there’s no fear that they’ll put their next role in jeopardy.

Ask open-ended questions that address their employee experience without being too negative. For instance, asking what an employee would like change about the company is more constructive than just asking what they didn’t like about working for your company.

Be positive, honest and above all else, keep their answers as confidential as possible.

Getting staff retention strategies off the ground

Ultimately, your company needs to believe in the change, and believe in the need for the change to take place. Not just individually, but as an organisation.

Making any kind of substantial change to how your business operates will tend to seem like a big deal. That means it’s important to have the will to overcome any hurdles.

Your senior leadership needs belief in the change to drive it home. In the long run, it will be worth it. Employees that stay longer bring immense value and understanding to your company.

Their contributions eclipse the price of making sure they stay in the fold in the first place. Once your senior leadership understand the need for change, it’s much easier to drive positive changes across a whole business.

References:

1.Oxford Economics, Brain Drain, 2014
2.https://www.forbes.com/sites/forrester/2018/05/23/millennials-call-for-values-driven-companies-but-theyre-not-the-only-ones-interested/
3.https://www.prweek.com/article/1463132/employees-engaged-purpose-led-companies-survey-says
4.2015 SHRM/Globoforce survey
5.https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/focus/human-capital-trends/2016/employee-engagement-and-retention.html#endnote-sup-3
6.https://www.hrdive.com/news/employees-most-likely-to-quit-for-a-higher-salary-elsewhere/527382/
7.https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-do-employees-stay-a-clear-career-path-and-good-pay-for-starters
8.https://www.ft.com/content/1c3e8d8a-6a70-11e8-aee1-39f3459514fd
9.https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/new-polls-confirm-desire-for-flexible-working-as-9-to-5-declines/
10.https://www.gallup.com/workplace/232955/no-employee-benefit-no-one-talking.aspx
11.https://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2018/07/23/developing-your-employees-is-the-key-to-retention-here-are-4-smart-ways-to-start/#4b0155643734
12.https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/22753/youve-gotten-employee-feedback-now-what.aspx
13.https://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/two-fifths-work-financial-worries/

peer-t0peer recognition boosted productivity in fruit pickers

How peer-to-peer recognition programs boost motivation and productivity

Peer-to-peer recognition programs help build a sense of belonging and a positive place in a business. In turn, that leads to more motivated staff and better productivity.

recent study from Harvard Business School (HSB) put this assertion to the test with a group of fruit pickers.

Their results back up what we tell all our clients. Recognising your staff, particularly peer-to-peer recognition, leads to happier and more productive employees.

How the study worked

HBS researched fruit harvesting staff in the Western United States. The work is relatively lonely. There’s minimal social interaction, and few chances for an employee to hear positive feedback from peers.

A sub-group of fruit pickers were asked to watched a short video. It was presented by colleague from their company, detailing how the work they do has a positive impact on the rest of the business.

The video was deliberately inclusive in tone. It focused heavily on how quality work benefited the company.  Not just the company’s success, but how they affected the work of employees further down the production queue.

The employees exposed to positive expressions about their work were more motivated and did more work.

The motivating effect showed up again in a similar lab study too. Internal recognition and affirmation had a positive effect on employee motivation and productivity.

The key conclusion

The most important line in the study is this:

“Contact with an internal beneficiary…yielded a persistent increase in productivity.”

As in, when a colleague took the time to make an employee feel good about their work and recognise its value, they did work compared to a control group.

Their peer-to-peer recognition program boosted output.

Why peer-to-peer recognition programs work

Our need to feel welcome, and our need to belong, are fundamental parts of the human experience. In the distant past it was more than just a good feeling, it was about survival.

Being part of a group increased our chances of survival. As a result, humans are bred to seek belonging.

How humans live has changed. But how we interact is still fueled by those most basic needs: We need positive interactions and we need to feel we have a valued place in a group.

Being recognised by our peers gives us that sensation. In turn, we feel more compelled to repeat the behaviour that gets recognised.

What this means for your business’ peer-to-peer recognition program

Recognition works, and feeling included matters. We could have told you that without an ambitious study like this, but it’s nice to see the evidence in black and white.

The take-home for your business is that you need to make sure your employees feel included and valuable among their colleagues.

Even if you don’t want to roll out a peer-to-peer recognition scheme, staff need to feel included and valuable. They’ll feel better about working for you, and work harder in turn.

Alongside other studies, like this one showing a link between employee recognition and improvements in mental and physical health, the benefits of prioritising recognition are clear.

It’s something you need to embrace and utilise for the health of your company and your employees.

 

You’re killing staff morale without even realising it, and we can explain how

Staff morale is an insidious crisis. As we’ve pointed out before, up to half of your staff are thinking about leaving. Keeping those employees in your business, and happy to be there, needs to be top priority.

Morale is more than smiling faces and chipper attitudes, though. It’s how your staff approach their work, how they treat each other, and how they see their own place in your company.

But, what you’re doing to hurt morale won’t always be obvious. There are nine ways you could be destroying staff morale without even knowing you’re doing it.

Not giving staff a voice

Workers are only human, and humans need to be heard. Their point of view needs to be considered, and their opinions need to be given weight to keep staff morale high.

If employees think their opinions on their job aren’t wanted, they’ll start to feel undervalued and ignored. Feeling that their point of view doesn’t matter to senior colleagues, morale will quickly spiral. Everyone needs to receive feedback. And leaders must be seen to seek it out.

Not recognising employees

Recognition is the one thing you could start doing today that would improve staff morale. You don’t have to wait for the budget or approval to roll out an employee engagement platform to get started. Even though they do make recognition a much easier task to manage.

Recognition, filtered through your company’s values, shows employees the value and worth of their daily work.

Not talking about the future

When you’re taking a train, you check where it’s going before you hop on. You don’t just hope the train is going somewhere nice, or blindly assume it’s going to the right place.

Staff without any idea where they’re going are like lost passengers who think they’ve got the wrong train. Looking out the windows for landmarks. Asking other passengers where they’re going. And, ultimately, thinking it’s best they hop off the train now before it’s too late to turn back.

Give employees a firm idea of where their company is going. It lets them get invested in the journey, and smooths out the fear that they’re not heading somewhere worthwhile.

Undermining your company values

So, you’re an energetic, agile company on a mission to change the face of central heating repair forever. You believe in integrity, quality and unmatched customer service. But, does your work practice live up to that? Do your leaders? And, crucially, are you both held to account?

If your values aren’t seen to be carried out, they won’t be seen as important to how you do business. It also presents your company’s leadership as two-faced; wanting the benefits of appearing to be values-led without the inconvenience of carrying those values out.

That creates a dysphoria in how your staff see your brand. Employees can’t embrace their work as driven by values if they don’t get to see those values in action.

Letting excellence go unrewarded

Outstanding behaviour doesn’t just deserve to be rewarded, it needs to be rewarded. Don’t miss the opportunity to mark special moments in an employee’s time with your company. We’ve got a whole blog post over here detailing when you need to be breaking out your rewards for staff.

Failing to find purpose

What does your company do? Beyond just revenue, profit and loss. What’s the outcome of your company’s efforts, what’s different in the world when you meet your objectives?

Pouring emotions into work, and taking personal satisfaction from it, means having something to point to when it’s all done. Something more than a graph being bigger than a graph you made earlier.

Purpose gets employees invested in what your company is, and what it does. It creates people loyal not just to their paycheques, but the differences your company makes to the world around them. Long term, that builds real engagement with your business.

Assuming quiet employees are happy

Squeaky wheels get the grease, no news is good news, and so on. As a blanket rule for work, it’s nonsense. Dissatisfaction festers in the shadows, and employees at risk of checking out and looking for another position are likely to go quiet on you.

Unhappy and silent staff have stopped looking at leadership as a way to fix issues. Restoring that relationship means getting them talking again and asking about what’s making them unhappy.

Enforcing inflexible work

Flexibility is one of the most-demanded perks across the country. And for good reason. Time outside work is at a tremendous premium, and the demands of work aren’t easing up either.

To meet the demands of professional life, many employees chip in with their personal time. No shocks for anyone there. However, it’s unreasonable for a company to demand staff give more than their contracted hours every week, but still feel entitled to tell them where all of those hours get spent.

There has to be give and take. Without flexibility, staff will grow frazzled trying to juggle ever-increasing professional and personal stresses. Ultimately, that means looking elsewhere for a more flexible working arrangement.

Stifling job scope

Employees often end up feeling like they’re in a box. In trying to streamline roles and make working processes efficient, what staff actually do can become extremely constrained.

Work becomes a production line of tasks, designed to run at max capacity for eight hours a day. It doesn’t leave much room for creativity or expression. Or any space to gather and express new skills. When staff feel trapped their relationship with their work turns hostile. In turn, that creates a huge drag on morale.

Recognising these problems, and acting to reassess your behaviour as a leader, is how you can turn the tide. Otherwise, poor staff morale only leads to problems with staff retention, productivity and engagement.