As a company that specialises in digital and physical rewards and platforms for some of the largest businesses in telecoms, media, energy and beyond, you might think that our stance would be that something as traditional and well known as the employee of the month award was redundant, ready to be replaced by something else.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s often an employee of the month programme that keeps ensuring that employees are recognised and rewarded, even when other more ambitious programmes have lost traction. Become too labour intensive to run, or simply put on hold indefinitely through a tricky financial or peak period.
For this reason alone we always recommend that when it comes to a new reward and recognition strategy, that the baby should never be thrown out with the bathwater – and that a few small tweaks on your employee of the month programme (EOTM) could be a successful lever to pull to re-engage teams.
So, what advice would we give to businesses when it comes to getting an employee of the month award right?
First, remember that in studies it has been indicated that up to 75% of employees receiving at least monthly recognition (even if informal) are satisfied with their job. That could be correlated, but the fact is you are unlikely to do any harm – so get started! Next – you have to:
Invest in its success.
A business that offers nothing, or next to nothing as the reward starts to feel deserving of less effort, not more. It demotivates.
That’s not to say that you need to invest a huge budget in trophies and silverware, or expensive cash rewards – but regardless of overall cost, some form of gift will give a substantial ROI.
You could say that a paper certificate teamed with verbal recognition is the ‘secret’ to an engaged workforce. But, could this be a short term win for a long term loss?
If you gave your significant other ‘verbal recognition’ on their birthday, every birthday, you might find that after a few years, it had worn quite thin.
Employees all want to be celebrated. Some might not want a big fuss, but we can’t think of anyone who would refuse a reward of any value. For you, they are tax free under £50. For them, a talking point for their friends and family and a moment they remember. A paper certificate doesn’t have the same ring to it.
This brings us onto another way to make an employee of the month award even better:
Make Employee Of The Month digital.
That might be an announcement on slack or zoom or any range of ways that could help to get the whole company in a state of awareness and celebration. Make a ceremony and also follow up with communications that reiterate the success, such as newsletters to show why they were successful. This does take time.
Your marketing team may need to dedicate a couple of hours to what seems insignificant. But when that newsletter is shown to friends, family – the word spreads. When the next colleague thinks ‘I will win this month’ and does something they wouldn’t have – you’re already reaping your ROI.
Don’t be afraid to award the same people twice.
While it is never good to show favouritism, some months will see employees getting the award again. This is better than a forced show where someone else ‘must’ be sourced. If they genuinely are deserving of the reward, give it.
Digital gifts are growing in popularity. While EOTM used to be a physical desk award like a trophy, that’s rarer now, but still impressive.
Here at Simply Thank You we have never been so busy sending out hampers, wine, alongside flowers, pin badges – and even branded company merchandise, all alongside digital rewards.
In short – the choice is vast – and the only challenge is getting it up and running. We’re happy to help there too!