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Employee engagement is crucial to the success of a business. I recently saw a great diagram called the “Engagement-Profit Chain”, which outlines the business value of employee engagement. It looks something like this:

Employee engagement flow chart | Nudge

As you can see, employee engagement has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. But, what’s missing from this chain are the factors lead to the success of your employee rewards and recognition programs.

We know that employees need to feel challenged, motivated, valued, and well-connected at work. So, having a corporate culture that embodies a vision of continual improvement, strong communication – and especially employee rewards and recognition! – can help you get there.

If you invest a little in employee rewards and recognition, it can go a long way. According to research, companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement. To get it right, you need to make sure that you are giving meaningful employee rewards and properly recognizing your employees for their time, efforts, and successes. This can be a little trickier with frontline and deskless workers, but it’s worth it. After all, the more effective your recognition and rewards programs are, the more engaged your employees will become. So, what are the keys to success? Here are 4 tips for providing meaningful employee rewards and recognition to your deskless workers.

1. Employee rewards don’t always have to be monetary

Let’s be honest, we all love getting some extra cash or a gift card from time to time. In fact, gift cards are the most widely distributed employee incentives. But, it comes to a point where we have to question the meaning and value behind a gift card. With employee rewards, there is a major opportunity to provide employees with something individualized and meaningful. Even with limited resources and money, there is still room to get creative. Is there something else that is related and unique to your company culture? Is there a type of reward that would increase workplace socialization, such as team lunch or birthday celebration? These are things to think about…and it’s easy to learn what will resonate: just ask your employees!

2. Recognize more than just results

Effort is important, too. Employees often spend large amounts of time and effort on tasks or projects that aren’t generating big results (at least not right away). Plus, our valuation of our work is directly tied to the amount of effort we’ve put in. The harder a project is, the prouder we feel of it, even if it does not generate big results. The lesson? Make sure your employees are rewarded and recognized for effort and dedication. If they have put the time in and feel proud of what they’ve accomplished, they will definitely feel good about your appreciation. Recognition is an important psychological need, which means it should also be an important piece of your internal business structure.

Gallup quote on employee rewards and recognition | Nudge

3. Gamify your employee rewards program

Gamification is your friend. Games and rewards go hand-in-hand and are proven to be very effective at driving behavioral change, increasing workplace motivation, and increasing overall engagement. By introducing gamification, you can increase employee engagement by 48%. Try gamifying workplace initiatives, like training and development, by using leaderboards, badges, or points. Then, distribute appropriate recognition and employee rewards based off of involvement, achievements, and overall scores.

Gamification (and employee rewards) can help address knowledge gaps, too. Do you have a workshop on health and safety coming up? How about a digital marketing session? Use gamification, recognition, and rewards to celebrate employees who are most involved and active – or to incentivize those who aren’t. Take it a step further and continue to promote this learning and recognizing those involved by using games and mobile apps.

Gamifying employee rewards | Nudge

4. Make sure everyone (seriously, everyone!) knows

Why put all of the work into planning a recognition and rewards program, when there is no plan (or an ineffective plan) for implementation? Employees need to know when there is a system in place. Without awareness and a proper understanding, employee rewards and incentives will have little effect on engagement and productivity. Whether you are celebrating an employee achievement or encouraging adoption of new workplace technology, communication is critical. With today’s dispersed workplace, how will you make sure that all everyone involved knows about the program in place? Call out the programs in your communication platform or other channels. When awards or recognition are given, spread the news far and wide. Nothing gets employees excited like seeing these types of programs in action.