A picture of a woman holding a gift box.“No news is good news” has long been the standard by which employees gauge their success or failure in a position or on a project. But today’s employees aren’t satisfied by this worn-out mantra. Revive your rewards program with five strategies that will help you attract and retain today’s top talent.   

Well Done! 5 Must-Haves for Top Rewards Programs

“No news is good news” has long been the standard by which employees gauge their success or failure in a position or on a project. But today’s employees aren’t satisfied by this worn-out mantra. To attract and retain the best and brightest, you need to learn how to effectively engage, recognize and reward employees.

The talent it is a-changing

There are a few reasons the same old approach to recognition isn’t working anymore. One is that we are becoming a culture in which people expect to be rewarded for almost everything. Another big reason is that the American workforce now spans multiple generations, each with their own motivational drivers. Employees seek – and even expect – meaningful recognition from their employers.

Almost 90 percent of companies now use recognition programs. [i] And these programs are having a positive impact. Ceridian’s 2016 Pulse of Talent survey found that 57 percent of employees feel that recognition programs influence corporate culture. Plus, recognition programs have a very real, tangible effect on engagement and the bottom line. Research shows that a five percent increase in employee engagement can boost the following year’s revenue by three percent.[ii]

“Best-in-class organizations understand the power of an effective recognition program. Rewarding employees may feel not feel like a strategic business initiative but today’s appreciation efforts can have a big impact on tomorrow’s business success,” said Deb LaMere, vice president of HR strategy & employee engagement at Ceridian.

57% of employees feel that recognition influences corporate culture.

5 elements of best-in-class rewards programs

If you want your recognition program to hit home with employees, it can’t be generic or impersonal. Read on for five tips on how to transform your recognition program into a strategic advantage that attracts and retains talent.

Promote recognition to potential and new hires
People love the idea of working for a company that will appreciate them. Be sure to highlight your company’s culture of recognition in recruiting materials and during onboarding. Sharing employee testimonials, along with examples of rewards offered, will help draw top talent to your organization.

Recognize early and often
Employee recognition should be more than just a one-time thing. If you introduce rewards early in a worker’s tenure and follow up repeatedly, authentic recognition will become part of your culture. When their hard work is noticed, employees are motivated to achieve more and give more to the company.

Expand beyond financial rewards
While no amount of praise or “You rock!” cards will ever outweigh a seriously below-market-value salary, organizations are learning that people are more motivated by recognition than by money. Create diversity in how you recognize employees by using both tangible and intangible rewards. While tangible rewards often focus on compensation – salary, bonus, stock options or even deferred compensation – intangible rewards offer perks like paid training, working remotely, in-house gym membership or spa services.

Make it personal
Recognition is, at its core, personal. This requires managers to step outside the formulaic, one-size-fits-all approach to recognition. Train supervisors on how to offer genuine feedback and appreciation that is customized to the unique preferences and interests of each employee.

Consider generational differences
Regardless of their age or tenure, every employee likes to be recognized. But it’s important to consider generational nuances when developing your recognition program. For workers age 25-44, a top motivator is a sense that their work will be noticed and will positively impact the company and their careers. Consequently, Gen X and Y motivation tactics should focus on promotions and formal recognition. For older workers (age 45-64), trust in leaders and a feeling of respect is the second top engagement driver. Motivate these workers with variety and autonomy.[i]

When used effectively, a customized, strategic recognition program can set your organization apart from its competition. Most importantly, it demonstrates the value you place on your employees and the work they do. Now that’s an initiative worth working toward!

For more information:

  • Download the eBook Reward, Recognize & Motivate to Keep Employees Engaged & Productive
  • Read the article Four Guidelines for Rewarding and Recognizing Employees 
  • Learn more about Dayforce Recruiting


[i] 2012 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study
[i] WorldatWork 2015 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey
[ii] Aon Hewitt, 2015 Trends in Global Employee Engagement