The end of the year is when many companies say “thank you” to valued staff with an employee reward. If this is something you are thinking about at your company, here is advice from Josh Bersin, who analyzes corporate HR, talent management and leadership based on research conducted. This previously appeared in Forbes. Here are 5 best practices for employee rewards programs.

  1. Recognize people based on specific results and behaviors. Don’t just give someone a reward for being “employee of the month.” Give them an award for delivering outstanding customer service when a particular problem occurred. This creates a culture of “doing the right thing.”
  2. Implement peer to peer recognition – not top down. Recognition from leaders has less impact than you may think. While HR managers believe this is a key criteria for success, employees told us that they feel much better when they are recognized by their peers. Why is this? Peers know what you’re doing on a day to day basis, so when they “thank you” for your efforts the impact is much more meaningful. Top-down recognition is often viewed as political and it rarely reaches the “quiet but critical high-performers” in the company.
  3. Share recognition stories. One of the most powerful practices we identified was “story telling.” When someone does something great and is recognized by their peers, tell people about it. Not only should they get an “employee of the month” parking space (kidding – these remind me of the movie “Office Space,” by the way), but you should mention them in a newsletter or company blog. These stories create employee engagement and learning.
  4. Make recognition easy and frequent. Make it trivially simple for employees to recognize each other. Many of the modern programs we studied give all employees a budget for “points” or “dollars” and they can give them to others online in seconds. We use one of these systems in our company and the results have been amazing. People who do great things are now visible to everyone else!
  5. Tie recognition to your own company values or goals. Companies like Deloitte and Intuit have recognition programs which focus on the company’s mission and goals. So when you give someone a “thank you” award, the award is tied to your own company’s strategy (customer service, innovation, teamwork, or even a revenue or cost-cutting goal).

Virtual Incentives provides solutions that help businesses connect with their most valuable employees, customers and partners in ways never before possible. Our prepaid platform is powered by a simple, customizable virtual solution that closes the gap between action/achievement and rewards, rebates and offers. Did these best practices teach you something new about employee rewards for your company?