The Year in Rewards: Planning Your Recognition Strategy for 2017

Posted in Recognising Success, Employee Recognition, Recognition Platforms

by Iain Thomson on Jan 9, 2017 12:00:00 AM

a New Year Means a new recognition strategy

It’s a new year – which means resolutions, changes, and annual targets starting afresh… It’s also a time for mapping out the year ahead – and when it comes to employee recognition, there are more opportunities to provide staff rewards in the next 12 months than you might think.

Here are our tips for planning and fulfilling your recognition and reward strategy in 2017.

Seasonal events

Big events in the calendar are usually cause for a celebration – or time off work – which make them the perfect time to reward your staff. Gift cards or vouchers that can help your employees enjoy their break will surely be far more appreciated than those that come at inconvenient times, get forgotten, or are used for everyday spending.

Next Christmas

Yes, we know Christmas has only just passed, and you probably don’t want to think about it again any time soon, but it really is never too early to start planning for the next one – particularly when it comes to booking a party venue. As many as 11% of UK adults start planning for Christmas from six months to a year beforehand, so Christmas shouldn’t be neglected from your plans for the year just because it’s 12 months away.

Staff recognition around Christmas says thank you for a year’s worth of hard work, and ends the year on a positive note. Whether you provide recognition through a social event, with extra holiday days, gifts or vouchers; staff rewards are always well received at the end of the year, especially as money is tight for many. 

Easter bank holidays

Easter can be a difficult one, as it falls at a different time each year – but whether you tie Easter in with end-of-quarter rewards or use it as a standalone excuse for employee recognition, it’s worth considering. The Easter bank holiday means a four-day weekend – the perfect time for family days out. Travel and leisure vouchers or fuel gift cards to help your staff get away for a couple of days could be the perfect form of staff reward around this time of year.

This year, the Easter bank holiday is between the 14th and 17th of April, hopefully with some warmer weather than when it falls at the end of March!

End of the financial year

The end of the financial year on the 31st of March will have different significance at different levels of your organisation – for some it might be a day of great relief after a frantic and stressful period preparing, for others it will just be another normal day. For those whose job roles are more concerned with the financial year, it’s another landmark that provides a good opportunity to recognise and reward hard work.

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Regular landmarks

Whether your staff have sales, revenue or production targets to meet, don’t keep them waiting for the end of the year to congratulate them on a job well done. While weekly staff rewards may be a little bit much, monthly – or, at the very least, quarterly – targets being met and beaten should be cause for recognition or reward.

If you do prefer to focus on the annual target, then make sure your reward for a full year of hard work is big enough – and that you plan far enough in advance to incentivise employees by telling them what it is they’re working towards. For example, while vouchers and gift cards make excellent rewards throughout the year, they could be something of a let-down for an end-of-year prize for the best sales numbers – but a holiday is another matter altogether!

Year-round milestones

Finally, some occasions where recognition can make a difference are far more individual, and will occur for different people throughout the year – birthdays and work anniversaries happen regularly, but others can be more difficult to plan for – such as weddings and new births.

Recognising employee milestones like these is a great opportunity to show staff that they’re valued – and that their employer cares about their lives outside of work. Whether you give gifts or provide voucher cheques to allow people to choose their own purchase, doing something more than sending the standard card around the office and organising a cake can really go a long way.

Long service awards in particular are becoming increasingly popular. While in the past these may have been saved for larger milestones such as 10, 25 or more years, today’s workforce is far more flexible, typically spending less than five years at each job – so be sure to provide recognition to those who stick around for more than a couple. It’s just the way things are going!

Plan and automate

The trick to successfully keeping on top of the multiple milestones, targets and rewards is to plan far in advance, and automate the process as much as possible. Rather than being seen as impersonal, e-gifting is becoming increasingly accepted as something convenient and no less thoughtful – and it’s far easier to set up a database that automatically sends out birthday gifts or rewards for meeting targets.

Whatever you do for your employees this year, make sure they feel valued for their efforts, with rewards that are appropriate for the amount of work required to achieve them. Rewards that aren’t worth the effort, or become too much of a regular occurrence will lose their motivational impact. And, of course, remember to be thorough. For as much as recognition can boost engagement and productivity, missing even one person off the list won’t do you any favours!

If you need any assistance with planning for the year ahead, then we’re here to help – just get in touch with any questions you might have.

Square Pegs and Round Holes


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