Article: The changing landscape of rewards

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The changing landscape of rewards

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Rewards can no longer work in silos, but in close congruence with one's performance and compensation. Here's why we need smarter rewards to make it a holistic, well-rounded, and ongoing experience, rather than a single or a one-time event.
The changing landscape of rewards

In this talent-led market, reward strategies are becoming enormously important to help organizations attract, motivate, and retain the very best candidates. Rewards can no longer work in silos, but in close congruence with one's performance and compensation. Here’s why we need smarter rewards to make it a holistic, well-rounded and ongoing experience, rather than a singular article or one-time event. Smarter rewards represents the tool kit organisations need to choose, offer and align a value proposition with an employee - resulting in a satisfied, engaged and productive workforce that creates desired business performance and outcomes. Here are some cogent insights into the shifting landscape of rewards, and the challenges of catering to a changing, dynamic workforce with increasingly diverse needs and preferences.

According to researches, rewards are in the midst of a transition from the strictly standardized to the highly personalized. Companies at the forefront of this wave are creating rewards programs that are delivered more continuously, aligned more closely with individual preferences, and based more fully on an employee’s whole contribution—to the team and the organization.

Over the years, employee rewards have evolved and celebrates employee uniqueness with personalized rewards. Organizations have started to understand worker preferences and tailor a wider range of rewards to a more diverse workforce. The programs have been customized and employees are given an option to choose their own benefits such as health benefits, coupons, etc. Many organizations have moved beyond normal benefits and have started offering flexible schedules, development opportunities, recognition programs, and other incentives. The entire gamut of rewards offering has moved from cash benefits to recognition, kind, and experience.

When it comes to attracting and engaging the very best talent, it is critically important to get your rewards strategy right, as it helps in building and demonstrating a dynamic relationship between employee and employer.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that in the context of hiring, the power has shifted from the employer to the candidate. This means attracting the best talent is not just about profiling the role and your organisational fit, it's more about finding out what likely candidates will want from you as an employer. Hence, getting your rewards strategy right is absolutely non-negotiable.

However, compensation is not the only factor that will impact your employer brand. A reward strategy that offers care, connection, career path with employees, and understand both extrinsic and intrinsic needs will convey an attractive employer brand.

To become an employer of choice, companies can better position themselves if they have an effective rewards structure in place. Not only does a well-thought-out rewards structure help attract the best talent, but it can also boost employee productivity, creativity, motivation, and overall engagement and retention.

Rewards are in the midst of a transition from the strictly standardised to the highly personalised. Companies at the forefront of this wave are creating rewards programs that are delivered more continuously, aligned more closely with individual preferences, and based more fully on an employee's whole contribution—to the team and the organisation. The companies understand that effective rewards programs require a personal relationship with each worker. Moreover, recognition under the gamut of total rewards has emerged as the biggest differentiator in the context of employee engagement and has successfully improved the intention to stay and attrition. 

Rewards have evolved in the last few years, with a bunch of new trends in the rewards landscape that are bound to change the shape of the future. 

Organisations have started to understand worker preferences and tailor a wider range of rewards to a more diverse workforce. They are celebrating employee uniqueness with personalised rewards. The programs have been customised and employees are given an option to choose their own benefits such as health benefits, coupons, etc. Many organisations have moved beyond normal benefits and have started offering flexible schedules, development opportunities, recognition programs, and other incentives. The entire gamut of rewards offering has moved from cash benefits to recognition, kind, and experience.

So how do you create a right reward strategy that engages and delights an employee? 

According to the current trends, here are the key differentiators that separate successful from unsuccessful rewards programs:

 Rewards linked with business outcomes:

Reward programs work, if they are strongly linked to business objectives and the employees know what is expected of them in their jobs - employees need to see the connection between their own work and the overall goals of the company. Reward has a key role to play in demonstrating organizations’ values, commitment to employees, and the value it places on performance.

Personalized rewards:

One size doesn't fit all. To put it simply, nearly every company's employee base is highly individualized, and what motivates one person won't necessarily motivate another. So, it is better to tailor-fit an incentive program to individual wants and desires.

Clear messaging:

Messaging is integral in achieving the engagement of employees towards your rewards program. What is the purpose of your employee rewards program? Is it to improve customer service? Team building? Training? Be clear and concise. Define your rewards program.

Checklist for designing a successful Rewards program for your org:

Checklist for onboarding an employee into RnR:

So you now know that what differentiates a successful rewards strategy from an unsuccessful one. However, at the crossroads of people and change, carrot and stick, advanced rewards and speedy perks, how do you create a rewards package that articulates what you want and need from your employees? While designing a perfect rewards program, one should consider the following guiding points:

Degree of recognition: Recognition should be given whenever you notice an accomplishment or behavior worthy of praise, not during designated employee appreciation days.

Business outcome linked reward program: Reward programs work if they are strongly linked to business objectives and the employees know what is expected of them in their jobs.

Peer to peer recognition: A peer to peer recognition program helps in improving employee engagement due to an increased sense of connection and belonging. It also accelerates collaboration across teams that further improve business productivity.

Here are some of the guiding principles for a journey to the Smartside of Employee Recognition & Rewards:

From standardized to personalized: Organizations need to move away from a standardized design for recognition programs. They need to personalize rewards to incorporate individual preferences and tastes, and to reward behaviors that drive organizational goals and culture.

Templatized rewards to Total rewards: On the smartside, organizations don’t look at rewards as a singular article or a one-off event. They should work towards building a holistic view of performance, compensation, health, aspirations, recognition, and career expectations!

Hierarchy-led to Distributed leadership: Organizations should drive fairness, transparency and continuous engagement by moving from hierarchy-led recognition to a model driven by network of humans. This not only ensures regular and relevant feedback, but gives everyone a seat at the table. It empowers peers and gives everyone a voice and fair chance to critique and appreciate one another.  

It’s time for Real-time: In an athletic, insomniac, fast-changing world, recognition should be timely to stay relevant. Organizations should make the experience of recognition friction-less with technology and interweave it into the fabric of work. 

Beyond coupons & vouchers: Organizations should invest in rewards that drive the intrinsic motivation of employees or reflects the culture of the organization by going beyond just gamified rewards and explosive options on reward marketplaces. They should consider offering an extra leave, a privilege access to the next leadership meeting or a premium learning course that aids their career.

Tech-driven yet human: Like a hand-drawn sketch on an ipad! :) Rewards can be hinged on or augmented by technology - but can never go without the human touch. Organizations should thus retain the human element of recognition in the digital world however they can.

What are the possibilities of Darwinbox’s RnR module and what can it do for your company?

Appreciation driven by a network-of-humans and an explosive, gamified marketplace of rewards can make rewards contextual, relevant and desirable for each. Today’s cutting edge technology like Darwinbox’s RnR module can help you build a culture of appreciation and recognition among your employees and augment the success of your org’s rewards program. With a user experience that is engaging and gamified, Darwinbox’s peer-driven and integrated RnR module can boost your employee morale / happiness, increase employee engagement, promote core company values, and encourage certain positive behaviours by virtue of the product design. 

Topics: #Smarter Work Life, Compensation & Benefits

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