Top tips: Rewards and accolades that work

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Attracting the right staff and then keeping them is no longer the one horse race it used to be; Stewart Masterton, Business Adviser for Business Link for London kick-starts a month long look at reward by providing some top tips that promise to help businesses outsmart the opposition.

Successful rewards schemes need to be tailored to the company, culture and people. See our suggestions to boost motivation and productivity levels:

Financial rewards
The most obvious basis of a benefits scheme is financial. Pension schemes and provision for a pension is extremely important, and an employer who actively contributes to a company scheme is hugely attractive in terms of both retaining and attracting new staff.

Incentive pay, or a bonus scheme, is another way to motivate employees. It is important to design a bonus scheme to achieve specific business objectives.

Consultation with senior managers should be undertaken to decide the structure of the scheme including what results are to be achieved, which employees are eligible and how long the scheme should run for.

Although monetary bonuses are a more immediate form of reward, an alternative option to consider is share options for employees. Shares can pay good dividends if an unquoted company floats on the stock market.

Work-life balance
Achieving a positive work-life balance is becoming increasingly important to the UK’s workforce. Flexible working is one way to reward hard-working staff, and will particularly appeal to those employees with dependents. Home working could also be incorporated in the terms and conditions of contract, and can make the difference in terms of retaining staff and recruiting them in the first place.

Subsidised childcare or onsite crèches can also help to encourage mothers back into the workforce. It is worth bearing in mind that childcare assistance may be exempt from tax, depending on the choice of package, and could be used as an incentive to attract working mothers with valuable skills to offer.

Training and development
Ensuring your company provides opportunities for individual development benefits both employee and employer. Staff feel more committed to a company which has invested in them and the company can make a huge return on this investment by having well-trained and more highly skilled employees.

Introducing flexibility for employees to undertake study in their own time is ideal alongside the introduction of a bespoke company-wide training plan. Consider online training programmes which staff can access via their PCs during lunch breaks and after work.

Leisure and health
Subsidised gym membership is relatively easy to implement and it can improve general health and well-being. Business owners could also consider offering private health insurance or life assurance, which are highly valued by employees and are a draw to the company.

Things to consider
It is important to assess what your competitors offer before designing a reward scheme. You can devise strategies with similar benefits but be sure there are differences. You should consider the following:

  • The business goals of your company
  • Tailoring the rewards schemes to the company objectives and staff needs
  • Be selective: Would a performance related bonus really suit the company?
  • Is there an existing scheme in place? Review it, there may be elements that are successful and should be incorporated into future schemes
  • The most successful reward schemes are those that are tailored for employees, based on individual preferences
  • Do your research beforehand to make sure that staff are rewarded well without detriment to the company

The benefits:
You may be wary of introducing reward schemes. However the benefits a well-implemented reward strategy could bring to the company are:

  • Attracting talented people
  • Motivating and retaining existing employees
  • Increasing productivity
  • Introducing new skills
  • Cost savings
  • Aligning business goals
  • Increased customer satisfaction

Making the scheme known:
It is crucial that employees and jobseekers are aware of the reward scheme, not just at the point of hiring or resigning! An existing employee will compare what he or she gets at one company compared to another, particularly if there is essentially little difference between the two. A potential employee will make part of their decision to join a company based on the benefits package offered. In particular it is important to draw attention to:

  • What the business benefits actually are
  • How the performance-related rewards will be assessed and measured
  • The value of non-financial benefits
  • The option to feedback on the scheme and where it could be improved upon.

Although a competitive salary is important, employees and job seekers are now more than ever looking for more than just financial incentives. Do your research and ensure these rewards match both the culture of the company and its employees.

For more information about rewarding effectively go to: www.businesslink4london.com/incentiveschemes or telephone 0845 6000 787

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