Reward Employees and Boost Morale: Monthly Snack Boxes 

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Not every business can afford to give their employees a week’s vacation at a five-star resort as a reward for achieving their targets. Don’t worry, you don’t need to! There are a plethora of ways to reward employees, many of which won’t cost you a dollar. And, when you do it in the right way, you get much more than a happy employee with a big smile on their face for a day. You get an employee who is encouraged to repeat the behaviour that got them the award in the first place, and numerous other benefits as well, all of which ultimately work to the advantage of each member of staff and the business’s future success. 

Let’s take a closer look at why an employer should reward the individuals in their employ, and ways in which they can do it without finding themselves facing bankruptcy.

Why Should Employers Spend Time and Money on Rewarding Employees? 

At first glance, there are two significant reasons why employers should reward employees. First, so the employee repeats the behaviour and continues to be productive, and second, so others are envious of the award their colleague received and duplicate what that person did in order to achieve it for themselves.

Human psychology dictates that we love to be rewarded because it makes us feel good inside. We love to be recognised and receive something in return for our efforts, whether it’s a pay increase for the extra hours we put in, a compliment for the meal we cooked, or a more athletic physique for all the training we’ve put in. 

It’s also true that when you publicly reward employees in the workplace, you create a sense of competition. If managed correctly, this can be good for business because a competitive environment is a productive environment. Encouraging employees to participate in competitions or challenges is healthy and may actually lead to increased camaraderie.

Aside from these two, here are some other reasons why you should recognise and reward employees. 

•           You make it absolutely clear what you want to see, what is expected, and what the outcome will be if employees do well or exceed expectations.

•           They want to repeat that behaviour to gain the reward again.  

•           Staff members are motivated - and a motivated employee is a more productive one. 

•           Colleagues see what’s in the cards for them if they behave in the same way as the recipient of the reward.

•           If it’s done right, a reward system can create a buzz and instil a sense of fun at work.

•           It can break up the monotony of the day. 

•           Depending on the reward, it can be good for employee relationships. 

•           You enhance your employment value proposition and build your status as a preferred employer. Your reward-giving ethic differentiates you from your competitors. 

•           You are able to attract and retain employees.  

•           Your employees are happier, and as a consequence, you enjoy reduced employee turnover.

Now that you know how beneficial it can be to reward your employees, let’s take a look at how you can do this effectively without it overstretching your budget.  

How to Recognise Employees 

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While a reward system offers financial or physical benefits, a recognition system is primarily about psychological benefits. Adding a financial element could make the recognition process more effective but it doesn’t have to be a large financial reward. 

Give Them a Shout Out 

Most importantly, you need to make it known that an employee has acted in a way that deserves recognition. This can be a hand-written note, a public thank you in front of the whole team, or a feature on your company blog, website, newsletter or intranet. Consider a kudos wall where employees present tokens of appreciation to one another and then display them on a wall for all to see. Workers can even reward managers if they want to. You can exercise discretion and anonymity if you and your workers prefer. 

You might want to present a plaque or trophy, which sits on the recipient’s desk until the next time someone is due recognition. Praise and verbal encouragement are proven ways to inspire effort and motivation, and the acknowledgment that comes from upper management or the owner of the company will mean more to an employee than you think.

Be Original 

Consider what you can award that won’t necessarily cost you money, but will most definitely benefit your employees. It could be a coveted space in the company’s car park for an allotted time, an early finish on a Friday, or a late start on a Monday morning. Make sure everyone knows about the opportunity and the reward. If you mention it in a newsletter, you’ll attract more readers; then, there’s more chance they’ll see the other content in the newsletter that you want them to digest. Think of a catchy name for your reward scheme, ideally something in-line with your company values. 

Rewarding a Team 

If you are rewarding a whole team or all of your employees, consider organising a barbecue with outdoor games, a dress-down day, or a bring-your-pet to work day. Rewards that involve fun, laughter and activities can encourage staff to mix with people outside their immediate area and enhance team rapport, all of which will benefit office efficiencies when everyone is working under pressure.  

Low-Cost Rewards with Big Value 

It is possible to offer something of value without spending too much if you just look at the demographics of your employees: What do they like? What are they talking about? What will they appreciate? 

Consider small gifts like a gift card for a local coffee shop, movie tickets, or flowers. Organise an appreciation breakfast for a high-achieving team, a wellbeing day, or an office celebration with lots of healthy snacks and drinks.

Every parent knows that if you can reward a child with something that you would probably have given them anyway, you create a win-win situation. The child feels rewarded and motivated, and the parent hasn’t lost anything. This is even more pertinent if it’s a reward that benefits your employee’s health, such as a healthy snack box. If you choose to reward an employee or team with a monthly snack box, make sure you take lots of photos of the winner receiving their prize to post on the staff intranet, newsletter, office posters or staff notice board. Let everybody know they too could be a winner. 

Physical Rewards for Staff

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Seek Insights and Resources asked Australian employees what work benefits would encourage them to stay at an organisation, aside from money. The top five reasons were flexible working hours, extra annual leave, a day off for their birthday, a monthly rostered day off, paid training or professional development, and opportunities to work from home. Consider whether any of these are options for your business. 

If you are going to introduce a rewards scheme or larger financial incentives, you need to keep several things in mind. You will need to be SMART, which means targets must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Establish clear goals and communicate them to your staff at the outset. Make sure they are clear about how they can earn the rewards and who is entitled to which reward. 

Rewarding Staff with Tokens

Consider rewarding staff with tokens. You could award tokens for employees who reach their targets, make cost savings, deliver exceptional customer service, contribute to a team, solve a problem, or come up with an innovative idea that benefits the company. You might decide to empower employees to award tokens to their peers, or a team leader or supervisor could be responsible for dishing out the tokens. 

Some companies award their staff a financial bonus, shares in their annual profit, extra annual leave, or extravagant gifts, but this won’t be feasible for every business. You could, however, offer staff an opportunity to exchange their tokens for a certain privilege, a gift voucher, a one-off Snackwize delivery, or even a delivery subscription of food and drinks at work. This would work really well for rewarding a team effort. And, a bonus for you, you benefit from staff members snacking on foods that benefit their health and keep them on top-form throughout the day rather than greasy, fatty foods that do them no good at all. 

Tips for Success

Whichever way you decide to reward employees, remember these tips to maximise your chance of success: 

•  It’s important to reward behaviours, not just outcomes. It can take more hard work and effort for someone to change their behaviour than it can take to work to achieve a tangible outcome.

•  Give rewards at unexpected times to avoid a situation where employees temporarily change their usual behaviour at work just to secure a specific reward. 

•  Keep anticipated rewards small and manage employees’ expectations. If they’re expecting a weeks’ annual leave and you let them finish an hour early on a Friday, you could end up with a very disgruntled employee.  

• Reward continuously, not just as a one-off, to keep morale high and ensure everyone strives for the next reward. This is another good reason to keep rewards small.

• Reward publicly, not privately, so word gets around what’s to be gained. 

When you reward an employee at work for a job well done, it’s much more than saying well done and hoping they will keep up the good work. There are a plethora of other benefits which ultimately benefit the business and everyone who works there. From motivated staff to increased productivity, it’s worth considering how you can reward your workers.  

Conor Reynolds