How to Build an Employee Reward Program

corporate gifts employee incentive programs rewards ideas for remote workers

In the past year our work styles have changed drastically. Some of us are still heading into the office, some of us are still working from home. All of us feel just a little disconnected from our work family! Even before the pandemic changed everything, employee retention was an issue that most businesses faced. And we all know it’s much easier to retain a good employee than search for her replacement!

So how can you build morale and reward your employees so they feel valued and important to your team? The simplest step is to create a defined program to help you reward success, acknowledge work well done, and build employee morale. Creating a plan will help you and your business have a system in place that makes it nearly automatic to send out incentives that are meaningful and appropriate (without costing you a lot!). Follow these five steps for creating your own bonus program, it can be scaled for any size business and easily implemented with the right partners.

Five Steps to a Successful Rewards Program

1. What is the Purpose of This Program?

Setting a goal early on will help you define the scope and type of rewards. Of course, kindness is just the right thing to do and it’s always fun to give gifts but a program tailored to advance your goals is a bonus for you! For instance, if you want to boost sales numbers, then tie rewards to hitting a certain sales goal.

Knowing your company why will help you decide the what! If you can, have all your managers work together to decide the goals. And you don’t have to pick just one! Any behavior you want to reinforce can be tied to a reward. Just be sure all employees understand the system and expectations so they know what they’re working towards.

2. Decide who will get rewarded.

From part-time to full-time to remote workers to contract workers, your company likely has a diverse range of employees. Deciding who is even eligible for a reward is important as you set up your program. You can also design multiple programs around each style of worker. If part-timers are important to your business, then give them their own ladder to climb. It wouldn’t be fair to compare them to full-timers.

3. Choose the reward levels and timing.

Now we get to the nitty-gritty. Once you know your why and your who, you can decide your what. This will be as varied as your company. Some may choose straight sales goals: X amount of sales in six months or X amount of calls in one year. Some may be performance based: no missed work days, no injury days, or most customer satisfaction comments. Some can be innovation based: best new product idea of the year or top pick for improved procedures. And some can be just company-wide, “we are so grateful for you” rewards such as end-of-the-year gifts or work anniversary presents.

Set a precedent for when data is collected (monthly, quarterly, yearly) and when rewards will be sent out. Just make sure the reward arrives close enough to the event to make it meaningful (and spur continued performance in that area).

4. Pick the right sized gift.

Now you can pick the what! There are lots of good tips in this article on how to select a gift – not too flashy, not too expensive, something they want to open and share. It’s important to set the bar with a gift that is equal to the effort and won’t make future gifts seem cheap. Keep in mind, too, the range of tastes of your crew and look for something that appeals to the widest group of folks.

We’d like to take a moment here to recommend a snack box from our company! We’ve created a corporate gifting program that makes it seamless for you (even to multiple addresses and recipients). And our snack boxes are good for you, packed with healthful treats and snacks and you can even customize the inside message. All wrapped in a cute box and delivered anywhere in the U.S. It’s filled with healthy foods that are also safe for most dietary needs. We will manage every aspect for you. Click here for details and to request help.

5. Logistics and long-term management.

Large programs work best if one person is in charge of collecting data, determining rewards, and administration. Your employees will have a go-to person for questions and you can be assured the program will grow and continue. Assign a project leader and let them work out most of the details such as how and when data is collected, can employees be nominated, what are the criteria levels and so on.

Be sure you find a good product partner that will help you along the way so all you need to do is place your order and away they go.

One final tip:

Announce your rewards program off with an instant bonus! Send out a small gift of appreciation to everyone with details on what’s to come. This will build excitement and give them something to look forward to.

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