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How to Create an Winning Employee Rewards Program (Part 2)

How to Create an Winning Employee Rewards Program (Part 2)

While designing an employee rewards program can be simple, it shouldn’t be thoughtless. Companies have to intentionally design an employee rewards program unique to their culture, people and objectives. Don’t fret! This blog gives you everything you need to roll out an employee rewards program successfully. 

Be sure to read part one of the blog series to understand what an employee rewards program is, why you need one and how to structure your program. Then dive into the best way to start your employee rewards program. 

A Step-by-Step Guide To Create an Employee Rewards Program

Determine Your Objectives & Set Metrics for Success

Employee reward programs improve employee performance, engagement, and retention. These metrics are all connected, but you should definitely decide which is your primary goal, secondary and tertiary. 

For example, if your primary goal is to improve employee performance, you might want to recognize more performance or behavioral milestones to enforce and incentivize hard work and specific results. If you’re focused on engagement, you may want to recognize more personal milestones to ensure employees are happy, engaged and feel like a part of a community. 

They’re all worthy goals, but identifying your priorities will impact how you structure your program and give you - and your employees - the best chance of success. Once you’ve done that, set measurable benchmarks, goals and deadlines. 

Revisit your benchmarks and goals frequently. Get team feedback and review metrics to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Then use that information to ramp up successful aspects and tweak what isn’t.


Ensure Culture Fit

An employee rewards program must fit your organization’s culture. If your company values a healthy work-life balance, for example, then rewarding employees for performance at all costs may not send the right messages. Think hard about your company’s values and personality, as well as what improvement you’re hoping to see. Whatever you choose, be sure the why, how and when of your reward program aligns with your company culture.


Prioritize key performance indicators (KPIs)

Be sure your rewards are aligned with appropriate  KPIs. For example, if you want higher customer satisfaction ratings, reward employees with the best customer service. This ensures you get exactly what you intend with your employee reward program.


Set Clear Communication

Clear communication matters, since 52% of employees feel that their rewards strategy isn’t aligned to organizational goals. Let your team know why you are rolling out the program. Say you want to improve employee morale, happiness or productivity. When you introduce your program, be extremely clear about what behavior you’re prioritizing and what outcomes you seek. Let employees know exactly - via email, kiosks, Slack or your website - how to earn recognition and rewards. 

Introduce the rewards with enthusiasm and in a way that gets your employees excited about the possibilities. Mentally prime employees by talking about what those rewards could be. For example, if you’re considering using gift cards in your program, share the type of gift cards they can earn and highlight the experiences they could have with them.  We’ve covered this before on this blog, but it merits mentioning again here - employees treat rewards differently than they treat salary or cash bonuses. When they’re mentally primed to think about the fun a reward will bring, they work harder and perform better. That’s a win-win! Help them see the rewards as desirable. This will add to the trophy value and increase its overall power as a motivational tool.


Give Diverse Rewards Based on Your Budget

Having desirable rewards is really important, but how do you do so, when people have different tastes and preferences? You can maximize perceived value by offering incentives desired by people having diverse tastes. One great way to do that is to put the power back in the hands of your employees by giving them choice. Of course we think gift cards are a great way to give everyone what they want. 

Gift cards allow companies with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of employees to choose something personal and memorable. It’s what employees want, having been named the most-requested gift by the National Retail Federation for 15 years running. Gift cards come with a cost but can fit in most budgets. 

Your employee program can include free rewards such as: 

  • A handwritten thank you note or heartfelt email 
  • In-person or virtual lunch with a company executive
  • Social media shoutout
  • Company-wide email or meeting recognition
  • Employee of the month award


Celebrate achievements and praise winners 

Put your plan into action by recognizing and rewarding your people! Encourage employees to think about the admiration that will result in achieving the reward (and by proxy) the performance that led to it. This will make earning the incentive more valuable and increase effort. And when they earn a reward, celebrate it in whatever way best fits your organization. This really builds company culture and reinforces values.

Looking for the perfect platform to support your employee rewards program? Then consider using Runa to get set up quickly and send rewards seamlessly. 


Runa’s key benefits include: 

Easy set up: The Runa platform is made for quick start-up and instant sending capabilities. Schedule a demo today and start sending rewards in hours. 

Detailed reporting: Use data to review and revise your program as needed. Our platform enables advanced analysis and reporting, so you can find out which rewards are most popular

Keep tabs on the reward redemption rates and generate insightful reports in seconds.

Time-savings: Whether you're sending one reward or 100,000 - it only takes a few seconds. No hassle, no fuss.

If you’re excited about launching your employee rewards program, schedule a demo to see how our powerful platform can help your organization improve employee engagement, morale and productivity!