November 6th, 2019
Rewarding and motivating your staff is a key part of any manager’s job. Hiring and then inspiring the right employees is a great first step, but how do you keep your employees interested, keen to do the job and keep their talent and expertise within your company to reap the benefits from long-term experience and familiarity?
Below are some fundamental principles about rewarding your employees and how to ensure that the staff you have carefully selected are just as keen to stay in their roles.
Fairness – This is probably the most important aspect of reward. If they feel as if other members of staff are being rewarded for equal or lesser value work and they are not, employees will quickly become demotivated. We understand the principles of equal pay, but it is important to look beyond this when it comes to reward to ensure that there is fundamental fairness in every aspect of reward.
Transparency – It is vital for employees to feel like they have a clear understanding of what merits reward and to what extent. Some companies do not maintain a clear policy on this, and it can be confusing for members of staff, who will then feel indifferent towards the reward scheme as they do not understand how it works.
Driven by the Business’ Objectives
The most basic form of reward is an annual salary an employee is awarded for work completed. However, some companies are now moving away from this model in order to offer reward which is more beneficial to the organisation. This might be payment according to results e.g. a sales representative being paid more according to completed sales; it could be the higher the quality of work, the higher the employee’s salary; it could also be skill-based, so for example an employee with a higher or particularly desirable skill is awarded a higher reward (salary).
There are a number of different ways pay-based reward can be structured, and it is important to note that there will also be different ways of evaluating members of staff against one another, for example using a grading system to compare responsibilities and therefore reward across different job roles which might initially seem incomparable. It might be quite clear that a CEO is paid more than an administrator, but should an accountant be paid more than a HR advisor? By evaluating each job role and allocating them points, you can easily compare and award salary accordingly.
An annual bonus can be an attractive option for many organisations to reward their staff. They can also be of significant importance to employees, especially if they represent a sizeable chunk of annual salary. Bonuses are often paid according to achievement, either of the individual or their team within a company.
Many organisations are now also moving away from the more traditional monetary reward scheme for staff members, and instead opting into benefits. There are a number of different benefit schemes available, which will also evaluate employee response and selection of each benefit. They will do the majority of the work for you, although this can be a costly way of managing reward, it is a time-saving one.
Some of the more common benefits include:
Medical (e.g. a reduced rate or support with paying for private medical insurance)
Childcare or creche facilities
Gifts from employer (e.g. gift vouchers)
Payment for further education
The difficulty with these benefits is they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Enhanced pension contributions might be attractive to an older employee, reaching retirement age, but of lesser value to a younger employee. Similarly, employees without children will have no use for the childcare support or a creche facility.
An option is to do a company survey. Though you can write your own survey, and there is plenty of information and advice about how to do so available online, this is not always the best option. If you want particular results, professional companies are paid to write questions which clearly address the subject you want to ask about, so it’s worth looking into a few different options here. Alternatively, if you do choose to write your own survey, have a few test runs with employees or colleagues (not within your company), who can give you feedback on how clear the questions are.
Opportunities for rewards can also include training and development, and talent management.
Training and Development
Many employees are keen to increase their skillset as part of their job, and also gain responsibilities and duties through further training. If this is tied into a competency-based pay package, it could also result in a financial reward for the employee, as well as enhancing the employee’s skills and making them of greater value to the organisation.
Career and Talent Management
The opportunity to develop your career is always an advantage and offering a company-funded professional qualification to an employee is a clear benefit. However, this should be treated with caution as, not only is there the cost of the qualification, but as the employee becomes more highly skilled, they will probably want a financial reward for the increase in their knowledge. A useful discussion to have before embarking on training and qualifications is to put a career progression plan in place, so employees are aware of what to expect at each stage of their training.
There are non-financial rewards available as well. Examples of these might be:
Employee of the month scheme
A mention in the company newsletter
It could be said that part of your job as a manager is to verbally praise and encourage strong work from employees and members of your team, but some people will really thrive from receiving a public mention. For example, thanking someone as part of a team meeting is a public acknowledgement of their work and commitment and lets people know their hard work has been noted.
There are a few things to avoid when planning and structuring your reward system. Firstly, don’t discuss rewards or bonuses in a non-professional way. This is not something you want to bring up at after-work drinks or social events, or even casually in the office. Remember, these are important aspects of their jobs to your employees, so something you might say in an off-hand way, they will take very seriously. One-to-one meetings are the only time you should discuss rewards, training or bonuses and don’t raise it with the employee unless you know you have clearance to make it happen. If they ask you about a particular reward, it’s fine to say you’ll need to check, but not if you are offering them something.
Ensure that basic comfort and facilities do not form part of a reward scheme. For example, redecorating a shabby office is not a reward – it should be a right of workers to have an environment which is safe and comfortable for them to work in. Air conditioning units and emergency generators should be available for use to maintain a workable temperature, and water and dining facilities also accessible. If they are not, this is an issue to address with your management, and not use a reward system to resolve fundamental working conditions.
It is highly likely that the majority of your company’s expenditure is on its people-power, and there’s a reason for this. When you hire the right people, train them well, and give them an atmosphere and environment they can thrive in, you will get great results. A clear and competitive reward scheme is crucial to keeping your employees. Remember, they are your first line of defence, they are your customer service, and they will bring expertise and ideas to the business. Give them a reason to stay motivated and you will reap the rewards.