Why Traditional Employee Awards Fail

According to industry stats — more than 75% of companies have some kind of employee awards program. It may be Employee of the Month, Best Safety Record, or Most Effective Team Member. Yet the data shows most of these employee awards programs aren’t giving great returns on investment. Why? They take too much time. Employees don’t participate. The reward that comes with the award may not matter to the employee.

As a result, many employee awards lack meaning in the end. Employee awards are a big investment. An admin may spend hours defining an award, promoting it, collecting and reviewing responses, and selecting a winner. Then there’s the time that some employees spend filling out a nomination. Finally, there’s the cost of the award itself.

With all this investment, employee awards should give more back. They should truly motivate employees and move your business forward. Fortunately, there’s a better way.

Introducing Awards & Nominations

YouEarnedIt’s Employee Experience Platform now includes Awards and Nominations.

The Awards and Nominations functionality enables YouEarnedIt administrators to quickly create meaningful employee awards, collect and automatically scan all nominations, and easily choose a winner.

Because nominations are collected in the same platform where employees go to give and get recognition every single day, it’s an easy jump for an employee to submit a nomination to recognize their peer for an award.

Connected to core values or company KPI’s each award has more transparency, so employees can see the impact a winning employee has had on the company. This gives the award, the KPIs, and the core values more meaning.

As a result, admins can be ensured of having employee awards with higher impact in a fraction of the time. See a demo of Awards & Nominations today.

Creating Meaningful Employee Awards

Our research on Employee Awards shows that employees need four things for awards to be meaningful:

  • Awareness: They want to know that nominations for the award are being called for.
  • Transparency: When employees understand exactly why employee awards are given, each award has more meaning.
  • Overall Appreciation: By getting other, personal recognition, employees who aren’t getting the award don’t feel left out.
  • Meaningful Rewards: Go beyond the plaque to give a reward that matters to an employee.
  • YouEarnedIt’s Awards & Nominations functionality enable admins to automatically include employee awards as part of the bigger recognition picture. Each nomination includes a link to company KPI’s, goals or core values. Admins can use the data that they pull from the recognition feed to see how core values in nominations line up with the core values that an employee is recognized for in their day-to-day work.

    Finally, admins have the option of giving award-winners rewards points as the bonus for winning the award so winners can choose a reward that matters most to them.

    With this combination, each award is transparent, meaningful and supported by regular recognition. And therefore, will resonate with employees and build motivation.

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employee awards and nominations

The Bigger Picture: Tying Employee Awards to Recognition

YouEarnedIt has done extensive research on how to create rewards and recognition programs that truly motivate employees. The theory is to build the four pillars of the employee experience into your company culture: connection, meaning, impact and appreciation. Employee Awards can be a strong part of this package.

The first step is to create a platform for daily employee recognition. The human brain is wired to remember surprises. By enabling spontaneous employee recognition for the specific, great work that they do every single day, each employee knows that their work is appreciated – and exactly what they need to keep doing.

To make sure the recognition happens, make it peer-to-peer. This gives employees a voice to thank (or just recognize) other employees for what matters most to them in the workplace. Data shows that teams where employees get to reward each other perform higher than those that just get rewards directly for their work. If the peer-to-peer recognition happens on a social feed – it also gives managers and leadership direct visibility into the great work happening at your company every single day.

Next, tie each of those pieces of recognition to core values or company goals. By doing values-based recognition, each employee sees how their work relates to the things that matter most to the company. And it shows an employee how the company and their work has more meaning.

Then come employee awards.

Awards can amplify daily recognition by showing the entire company who has been doing good work. While it may be easy to miss one single piece of recognition – a company award creates extra awareness of great work. Daily recognition is great to make sure each employee gets recognized for a specific behavior, but an award can acknowledge a trend of great behaviors.

By tying awards into the same platform for regular recognition, employee awards and recognition amplify each others’ effects.

Here are a few types of awards that work with recognition to build employee engagement.

Values-based awards give employees the chance to nominate a co-worker who lives out a company value. Our research in the Employee Experience Optimized showed that employees who work in companies that clearly communicate core values have a dramatically better employee experience.

Then, any employee nominations can be cross-checked with data from daily recognition. So, each award has more meaning.

Team awards build connection between teammates. Even fun awards like ‘best hair’, ‘who should go to a customer lunch’, or ‘which executive do you most want to have to wash your car’ can work well within a recognition system to amplify its effects.

While these may not immediately seem to amplify core values, cross-referencing each of these to core values from daily recognition can make these team awards seem less like a popularity contest and more deserved or earned.

Performance awards are tied to company KPIs or goals. Sometimes, performance awards on their own can encourage the wrong behavior. Wells Fargo, for example, ran into some problems when they incentivized employees who opened the newest accounts without basing it on core values of honesty or customer service.

So, again, cross-referencing performance awards with company values from daily recognition can make sure that your employees are focusing on the whole picture of how to achieve KPIs and company performance goals.

Boost Engagement

The YouEarnedIt Platform is proven to cut employee awards administration time dramatically - while raising employee participation in corporate programs by 50% on average.

Our unique approach to rewards, recognition, and employee awards gives you a path to offer meaningful employee awards in less time with more impact. See a demo today to see how you can boost employee engagement at your company.

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