Improving Employee Retention: Incentive Programs That Work
Cindy Mielke|April 29th, 2022
Keeping employees may be more difficult than hiring them. A recent study by Zenefits shows that 63.3% of businesses say retaining their employees is the more significant challenge. Low unemployment rates and shallow talent pools have created the tightest job market many have ever seen. It’s an employee’s market now, meaning that it’s easier for employees to find jobs due to fewer applicants.
This unique job market can cause staffing gaps, resulting in lost production and revenue. However, many companies see the benefits of using employee retention incentive programs to attract, engage, and retain talent. In any case, creating a successful incentive program doesn’t have to drain your resources. We have some ideas on how you can use competitive rewards to promote retention and make employees feel valued and happy.
What Employee Retention Incentive Programs Do
In a 2018 progress report published by Mercer, 83% of HR executives said employee recognition programs advanced their organizational values. The question is, how?
Employees need to know how the company meets its goals and where they fit in the company’s vision. Successful employee retention incentive programs allow employees to have a stake in the corporate culture and know their contributions are essential. In addition, incentives are an excellent way to build morale, especially when the reward is something employees find valuable and useful.
Employees who are recognized regularly have higher levels of productivity. In a 2020 talent survey, Deloitte reported that “employee engagement, productivity and performance are 14% higher than in organizations without recognition.” It also found a 2% increase in profit margins with a 15% gain in employee engagement.
Regular recognition can be integrated into daily work life with thoughtful tokens of appreciation. Get to know what your employees value. Many businesses use gift cards to reward excellent work because they boost productivity and are easy to manage.
Many employees consider recognition from management, regardless of the size or value, a high point of their working experience. Gallup’s research from 2016 notes that 28% of employees believe the most memorable recognition comes from a manager, and 24% believe it comes from a high-level leader or CEO.
Examples of Employee Retention Incentive Programs
Ultimately, a successful program that improves retention rates offers something valuable and tangible to the employee. To do that, you’ll need to understand what they want by surveying them about their preferences. You’ll want to get to the bottom of what makes them feel engaged and excited about working for you.
Saying thank you for a job well done at the weekly meeting or giving praise for accomplishments in front of the department regularly makes a difference. You can further sweeten the announcement with a token of your appreciation like a gift card.
Celebrating Special Occasions
Marking work anniversaries, business-related holidays, and birthdays provides great employee incentive opportunities throughout the year and shows you care about them as people. You can also celebrate company-wide events, like a wellness day or company birthday, with contests or quizzes and recognize employees with the best participation.
Set up formal employee retention incentive programs and reward achievements with gift cards or points team members can save up and redeem for the gift cards of their choice. Make the parameters available to your employees, so everyone knows what to expect.
Employee Retention Incentive Programs Best Practices
When you launch an incentive program, keep these things in mind for a smooth, effective campaign that encourages employee loyalty.
Make it Convenient
Offer a delivery system that makes it easy for recipients to redeem their rewards. Your ability to create a memorable reward experience can boost employee engagement. On the other hand, if the process is overwhelming, you may cause more stress than good feelings.
Ease of use matters to management as well. Delivering rewards should be a winning endeavor for them too. Make it easy on everyone with a solution that offers email delivery, tracking, and reporting.
Personalize the Reward
Rather than sticking with standardized rewards, move towards more personalization that speaks to employees’ interests. Each employee is likely to be motivated by different incentives, so it’s best if you survey them on their preferences. You’ll learn more about your employees when you get insight into what would incentivize them. Plus, if your rewards are meaningful, you’ll attract a more productive and diverse staff.
Deliver Rewards Fast
Ideally, you’ll want your more frequently given rewards to come close to the event that triggered it. If you wait to send the reward, you’ll lose steam, and participation may lessen or drop altogether. Your millennial employees, in particular, respond better to fast recognition.
How Rewards Genius Can Help You Improve Employee Retention
Incentive programs are proven to drive better employee retention and help you avoid the expense of hiring and training replacements. At the same time, it needs to be simple to manage and valuable to your employees. Digital rewards like gift cards are desirable and highly personal. You can order, email, and track digital gift cards through one user-friendly dashboard with Rewards Genius. It’s an easy way to reward frequently and effectively.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Rewards Genius can help you boost your employee retention rates. Our team is happy to share how you can use Rewards Genius to improve the retention of your most valuable employees.
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Cindy is passionate about the incentive industry. In addition to her role as Director of Channel Marketing here at Tango Card, she is a Certified Professional of Incentive Management who proudly serves on two industry boards. When she’s not working, Cindy enjoys spending time with her family—including three cats, two dogs, and a horse—and sharing her love of nature as a Nebraska Master Naturalist.