Rewards and Recognition: Using Workforce Analytics to Build a Relevant and Valued Program
While it is true everyone wants to be fairly compensated, it is not true that money is the only or primary motivator for employees. Some people would rather have more vacation than a pay raise because family time is a priority. Others are motivated by a sense of accomplishment, for example, research and development scientists often rely on grants that pay for lab space and equipment but leave little money left for salary. Their primary motivation is making a difference and recognition for their achievement. So what does this mean for businesses and how do they know they are providing meaningful rewards? It means employing a data-driven approach to building and implementing a rewards and recognition program, to know what motivates your workforce, and put that into the context of what you are ready and willing to pay for.
Motivate the Performance, Reap the Rewards (pun intended)
Rewards and recognition programs are an important factor in any talent strategy for attracting and retaining talent. They have a profound impact on employee engagement and are a feature in employer branding. Return on investment (ROI) is often thought of strictly as revenue or profitability, but if employee morale and performance are low, you may need to make a change to your program to improve satisfaction or encourage behavior changes (possibly at a short-term loss) in order to attain long-term and sustainable monetary benefits. You won’t be able to make fact-based decisions though, about what to change without data. It must be a planned activity, with a formal measurement strategy to evaluate and determine the ROI from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective.
Please, Not Another Plaque!
Rewards do not have to be all or nothing, nor the same across all business units or employees. The work may be different and so are the employees. Cash amounts can be on a sliding scale tied to defined levels of achievement or percentage of profit. Establish a ‘pick list’ of comparable rewards to give employees a choice. People like choices. Employee surveys can help to identify the list of possibilities and decide if there should be differences based on role, department, or region. Incentives can also change over time as workforce demographics shift and as people move through their careers.
Yeah, but Is It Worth It?
To understand the impact of your programs you will need insight from multiple perspectives. First, whether or not the incentives are valued by employees and are seen as commensurate with their contributions. This data can be collected through surveys. Second, the programs are fair and equitable. Collect measures on which managers are rewarding employees, how often, and whether there are standard criteria. Third, whether benefits outweigh costs, e.g., cost per-employee and cost to administer the programs.
Once this data is collected, it should be correlated against other outcome-focused data such as retention rates, performance scores and production quotas to determine the impact of your rewards and recognition programs.
Rewards and recognition programs only work if they are relevant and valued. Employees aren’t shy about telling what they want. You just have to listen. Send out a survey, and then use that data to determine what you can and are willing to do to attract and keep that talent.
Director, Client Services – Zeroed In Technologies
Kowena has more than 25 years of experience helping clients in both government and private industry identify and realize goals. Her expertise puts a focus on articulating outcomes, developing solutions, and measuring progress to align people, process, and technology programs and optimize performance.