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Employers are constantly urged to reward employees for their hard work in order to retain the workforce by keeping them engaged, satisfied and motivated to go above and beyond. With all this reinforcement on introducing incentives in the workplace, it can become very easy to overdo it and accumulate a large spend on rewards alone, which could affect other areas of the business. This is why it is important to find a happy medium that works for your business as well as your employees. Ian Edwards, COO and co-founder of rewards and incentivisation platform, BeeLiked (https://www.beeliked.com/rewards), has used his expert knowledge to explain how you can reward employees for their good performance without breaking the bank.  

There are two main factors to consider when planning your rewards scheme – your budget, and your employees. It is possible to stick within a rewards budget and still ensure employees are happy and motivated. 

Setting a budget 

The most important thing to do before choosing incentives for your team is to set a realistic budget for your reward spend and stick to this. There are all kinds of rewards and incentive schemes out there that can be customised to different budgets, so there is no need to select anything that will break the bank. You should determine the right budget based on the number of employees there are, and how much money the business can allocate for this spend. 

Choose intrinsic rewards your employees actually want 

One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is not asking employees what they really want to see as a reward for their hard work or the type of incentives that will motivate them to do more. Choosing rewards that you ‘think’ employees would like may actually be inaccurate and be wasting your budget. To avoid this, you need to be asking employees from the start what they would like to see, to ensure that you are choosing only the best rewards that will be appreciated by your team. This doesn’t have to be time-consuming, an easy way of finding out what is working and what isn’t is to send around an employee satisfaction survey to find out how everyone feels and what they would like to see in terms of rewards and incentives.

It’s all about quality, not quantity – a few rewards that you know your employees will want will be much more effective than lots of rewards and incentives that they’re not interested in, so choose wisely. 

Gamification 

If you’re unsure of where to start when choosing rewards, gamification can be a good starting point and is very customisable to each of your employees. Gamification takes behaviour-motivating techniques adapted from traditional and social games and applies them to non-game environments.
Ian explains: “Gamification inspires intrinsic motivation because it taps into the human need for competition, rewards, and status. It also helps employees see how small steps that are rewarded are the path to realising bigger goals.”

Gamification has been proven to make employees more productive when they use it. There are many apps and games to be played but they all aim to boost employee engagement, improve training and development, and enhance teamwork. Popular formats include:

  • Games that feature employee “to-do lists” where employees are rewarded for each completed task.
  • Apps that track milestones in new employee onboarding.
  • Games that ‘pat’ employees on the back for a job well done.
  • Digital scratch card games where employees get the opportunity to scratch and win prizes every time they meet a goal or do something deserving

Peer mentorship and competition are powerful motivators for employees. No matter which games you choose, employees who earn rewards and recognition for having completed tasks are far more likely to work more diligently to achieve those rewards and “level up” in the organisation.

It doesn’t require a massive budget, especially as you can set the winning probabilities and prize values, but the financial rewards for your company can quickly
add up through increased productivity, fewer sick days, and fewer employee turnovers.