HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99.9% of hacker crime.
Techchecks.net Custom Printed Computer Laser / Inkjet
HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99.9% of hacker crime.
Reorder your computer supplies here.

Part 2: Incentivizing Excellence - Implementing and Navigating Employee Rewards Programs

Building on the success stories discussed in our previous article, this continuation will provide a comprehensive and practical guide for companies that wish to implement employee rewards programs. Additionally, we will explore the legal considerations and potential challenges associated with these initiatives.

Before anything, companies need to ensure that rewards programs are implemented and conducted in a fair and non-discriminatory manner, from both a legal standpoint and to ensure that these programs accomplish their goals of enhanced employee satisfaction and loyalty. This article will help you understand what needs to be considered in order to meet these requirements.

Designing an Effective Rewards Program

Creating an effective rewards program requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Organizations must move beyond traditional notions of recognition and understand the intricacies of their unique workforce. If that sounds like too difficult of a task for your firm, please remember that Unilever was able to do it for its +127,000 employees.

Each of the three companies outlined in our previous article created recognition programs that allowed coworkers to call attention to those who they believe deserve to be recognized for their efforts. Two of the three companies began their efforts long before recognition by creating a corporate culture that attracts the best talent and hiring practices that select the people who will thrive within their particular businesses.

Whatever industry or business model that your company operates within, corporate culture creates bottom-line success and is integral to any successful rewards program.

Understanding Employee Preferences and Motivations

The first step in designing a successful rewards program is understanding the diverse preferences and motivations of your employees. Recognition is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Some employees may value financial incentives, while others may prefer experiences or opportunities for professional development.

Conducting surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one discussions can provide valuable insights into what truly motivates and inspires your workforce. Finding ways so that workers can submit their concerns or ideas anonymously may also help identify a better way of doing things and help them feel as if they can enact needed changes within the organization. The “Gemba walk” is an important aspect of Lean/Six Sigma management because the best insights are often discovered by those who are actually on the floor doing the work.

More important than fixing an inefficient process, employees who feel as if they have a voice and ownership in a process will be more dedicated to ensuring that it is done well.

Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

A well-designed rewards program should align with the overall goals and objectives of the organization. Whether the aim is to boost individual performance, enhance teamwork, or reinforce core values, clarity in goals is essential. Organizations should articulate measurable outcomes they seek to achieve through the rewards program, ensuring that it becomes an integral part of the broader organizational strategy.

It may seem a little too esoteric for some leaders to assign business KPIs to a rewards program, but it can be straightforward and logical once you set your mind to it. Employees who are unhappy at work or feel unappreciated will only invest the time & effort required to keep their jobs.

Conversely, happier employees who feel they will be rewarded for extra effort or helping to foster teamwork will often do so. If you can’t think of any clear goals or KPIs to set for an employee rewards program, an increase in worker productivity or efficiency would be a great goal to start with.

Once you are able to quantify an increase that your company would see as a success, a little bit of brainstorming can help you set other clear expectations and KPIs to define what you would like to see your program deliver.

Utilizing Technology for Seamless Execution

In the digital age, technology plays a crucial role in the execution of rewards programs. From digital platforms for peer recognition (as seen in Google's case study) to sophisticated rewards management systems, technology can streamline the process, making it more transparent and accessible. Leveraging tools and platforms ensures that the rewards program becomes an integrated and seamless part of the employee experience.

As outlined in our previous article, global mega-brand Unilever built its uFlexRewards program from scratch, but you don’t have to. A simple online search will find a plethora of third-party digital platforms from startups and mature tech companies alike that are designed to help your firm start and manage its rewards program easily.

Some examples of third-party providers are:

  • Nectar: 360 recognition and reward platform that encourages peer-to-peer and manager-to-employee recognition.
  • Notable clients: SHRM, Redfin, Major League Baseball, Golden State Warriors
  • Fond: Customizable and easy-to-use employee recognition platform designed to help companies create a recognition culture.
  • Notable clients: Salesforce, Delta Dental, Instacart
  • Awardco: Employee recognition software that offers zero markups on their rewards, meaning employees get the most value from any reward they receive.
  • Notable clients: JP Morgan Chase, Zillow, Chik-fil-a, Pinterest

Addressing Legal Considerations

While the benefits of rewards programs are substantial, there are legal considerations that must be taken into account to prevent potential pitfalls. This section will delve into those key legal aspects, providing insights into managing tax implications, ensuring compliance with labor laws, and addressing potential discrimination concerns.

Navigating Tax Implications and Employee Benefits

One of the critical legal considerations in rewards programs is understanding the tax implications for both the employer and the employees, since monetary rewards, gift cards, or other tangible incentives can create a taxable event. Employers must communicate these implications clearly to employees to avoid misunderstandings and must also ensure compliance with tax regulations if pertinent.

Zappos’ use of “Zollars” uses an internal-only type of currency that does not translate to hard dollars and is redeemed within the company, but may still be seen as a type of financial incentive when tax time comes for both the company and recipient employees.

If you choose any type of reward that has market value for financial incentives, ensure that your employees are educated on the implications and that your program stays within ERISA & IRS compliance guidelines. It is best to consult your accountant or tax professional before rolling out your incentive program to ensure full compliance within the tax guidelines and laws.

Ensuring Compliance with Labor Laws

Compliance with labor laws is paramount in the implementation of rewards programs. Organizations must navigate regulations related to overtime, fair compensation practices, and other labor-related statutes. Failure to comply can lead to legal consequences, which of course you want to avoid at all costs. This section will provide guidance on what to watch for in order to keep rewards programs in line with labor laws and mitigate any potential risks.

Preventing Discrimination

In the pursuit of recognizing and rewarding employees, organizations must be vigilant against discrimination. Rewards programs should be designed and implemented in a way that prevents biases based on any immutable characteristic. By fostering a culture of fairness and teamwork, organizations can avoid legal challenges related to discrimination.

There are also strict rules within the ERISA framework that can bring legal action against a company that unfairly compensates its highly paid employees through various compensation plans. Google and Zappos both created employee rewards programs in which co-workers choose who and how the recognition is bestowed, which removes the managers from the decision process entirely.

Still, an eye must be kept on these types of programs from the corporate level to ensure that they are operating fairly and without discrimination.

Conclusion: Fostering a Culture of Excellence Responsibly

As organizations strive to foster a culture of excellence through rewards programs, it is imperative to do so responsibly, ethically, legally, and fairly. The practical guide that we have outlined above emphasizes the importance of aligning rewards programs with organizational goals, understanding employee preferences, leveraging technology, and navigating legal considerations.

By taking a comprehensive and strategic approach, firms can create rewards programs that not only boost productivity but also contribute to a workplace culture where excellence is nurtured responsibly, and employees feel like their work is appreciated and recognized.

When in doubt, always remember the mantra that, “people will do what they are incentivized to do,” and that happy employees are more likely to be more motivated, put in more effort, and produce better outcomes both for themselves and the entire organization.

NOTE: This article should not be construed as legal or financial advice. It is important that you consult with your tax professional and obtain legal advice when setting up a company rewards program.


We Accept

* Quickbooks® Intuit® and quicken® are a registered trademark and are not affiliated and not owned by Tech Checks � Tech Checks offers its own brand of checks that are compatible with all versions of quickbooks® Intuit® and Quicken® software's
Copyright © 2024 Tech Checks, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

We Accept

* Quickbooks® Intuit® and quicken® are a registered trademark and are not affiliated and not owned by Tech Checks � Tech Checks offers its own brand of checks that are compatible with all versions of quickbooks® Intuit® and Quicken® software's
Copyright © 2024 Tech Checks, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.