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Custom rewards programs

Can organizations create custom rewards programs? Why not? After all, we are all different and motivated by different things. Employee rewards and recognition is a hot topic these days. It is a challenge for organizations to create a custom program for rewards and recognition because it is not a one-size-fits-all topic. Very few things are one-size-fits-all. 
With regards to rewards and recognition, organizations must first choose what they will reward. Second, they must choose how they will reward. 

What should organizations recognize? Recognition goes beyond performance. Performance should certainly be included but isn’t performance recognized through the employee performance evaluation process? 

There are many things organizations can include in these programs. Performance. Community. Loyalty rewards or years of service rewards. The list of WHAT can be recognized can go on and on. It should be customized to your organization and your culture.

I would like to focus more on how you recognize your team members. Organizations are filled with all kinds of people motivated by very different things. When creating your rewards, keep this in mind and create a variety of options at varying values. 
  1. Don’t be afraid of cash. People are motivated by cash. Yes, cash rewards have to be taxed. So what. Increase the reward amount to cover the tax. People like cash.
  2. Not everyone is a fan of having their name in lights. Some people are private and while they are deserving of a reward, they may prefer to accept in private. Know your team members. The last thing you want to do is make an employee uncomfortable for doing something great. 
  3. Don’t give employees a catalog to choose a useless, meaningless, dust collector. 
  4. Don’t give employees a company t-shirt. It is perfectly okay to include a logoed piece of clothing with the reward but don’t make it the only reward.
  5. Keep gift cards on hand. Many options, many denominations. They make great, quick thank yous!
  6. Have a budget for the game-changers and reward accordingly. When your employees do something great, show them their efforts matter. When someone on your team does something above, beyond, game-changing, over-the-top, don’t give them a $25 gift card. Show them your appreciation. Give them a meaningful reward.
  7. Don’t forget to say THANK YOU!

My point is that rewards should not be one-size-fits-all. Custom rewards programs are doable. They require some thought and creativity. Rewards should have meaning. They should make an impact. Rewards should have value, whether it is small or large, cash or gift card, public or private. Show your team and your employees appreciation. Let them know they matter. Show them they are more than a set of hands.