In today's competitive job market, where retaining talent is challenging, employers must thoroughly evaluate and revamp rewards and recognition plans.

To effectively motivate and retain top-notch employees, it is imperative to offer timely and meaningful rewards that are visible and given for specific reasons, such as outstanding performance or exceptional contributions.

One effective solution to streamline the rewards process and unlock measurable benefits is by implementing a dedicated employee rewards program. This program not only fosters a stronger sense of team unity but also alleviates the workload involved in managing and administering individual rewards.

In this how-to exercise in building the ultimate employee rewards program guide, we'll cover:

  • The compelling reasons to invest in revamping or creating a robust and inclusive employee rewards program.
  • How to quantify its impact, prove its validity, and witness the transformation firsthand.
  • Transforming the status quo within your company culture, spurring growth, and shaping your overall direction in 2024. 


Why do you need an employee rewards program?

In 2023, as reported by Forbes and the Brandon Hall Group – 80% of American employees expressed a sense of being unrecognized and unrewarded. From this, they found companies that demonstrate recurring acts of recognition (more than once a month) have witnessed remarkable outcomes: a 41% surge in employee retention and a 34% greater likelihood of enhanced employee engagement. 

Moreover, the recent Glassdoor Employee Appreciation Survey divulges that 81% of employees are motivated to work harder when they receive genuine appreciation from their superiors. Thus, the catalyst to address this predicament lies in the realm of employee recognition and rewards.

If just recognizing your employees for their hard work makes them more productive, imagine how motivated they would feel if they received rewards whenever they did something outstanding or reached a milestone in their career.

Benefits of an employee rewards program

An effective rewards program is a powerful tool that not only boosts employee satisfaction but also brings along numerous benefits. By recognizing and rewarding their hard work and dedication, employees feel valued and motivated, leading to increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, improved employee retention, and a positive work culture. 

Embracing a well-designed rewards program not only acknowledges the contributions of your team members but also fosters a sense of loyalty and engagement, creating a win-win situation for both employees and the organization. 

These are the top benefits you’ll receive with an effective and long-term employee rewards program. 
  •     Increase employee engagement

  •     Reduce turnover, and increase retention

  •     Boost team morale and unity

  •     Improve company culture and interaction

  •     Attract and drive new employees and greater talent 

An employee rewards program shouldn’t just be a one-time investment; it requires an ongoing effort that provides lasting benefits. By recognizing and rewarding your employees, you are showing them that their hard work and dedication are valued. Additionally, having an effective rewards program will help to attract the best talent and build your company’s reputation as a great place to work. 

With so many benefits of an employee rewards program, it is no wonder why more companies are taking advantage of them, and making it the new normal. 

Factors that affect employee productivity, engagement, & retention

If you want to make your employees happy with their job, there are several factors you can focus on in your organization to increase employee productivity, engagement, and retention. 

Typically, when a business experiences high turnover and low employee engagement, it’s due to the need for improvements in one or more of the following areas:

  •     Work environment & balance

  •     Training and career development opportunities

  •     Pay structure

  •     Benefits and wellness
  •     Diversity in the workplace

  •     Perks & rewards

A solid employee recognition program can positively influence most of these factors, especially the work environment and perks. It can also encourage wellness and inclusion in the workplace, depending on how you implement the program and what rewards you give. According to a survey by SHRM, 68% of human resources professionals said recognizing employees positively influences retention, and 56% responded that it also helps with recruitment. 

People want to work for companies that appreciate their hard work and give them public recognition, and they’ll reward you for it with their continuing dedication.

Crafting a compelling employee rewards strategy, with numbers.

When building your employee rewards program, the first step is to justify it. It’s essential to consider the project’s goals, such as encouraging positive behaviors and saving the company money. One way to build a compelling rewards strategy is to highlight the financial benefits.

For instance, according to Gallup, replacing an employee can cost one-half to two times their salary. Let's put this into perspective: consider an organization with a hundred employees, each with an average salary of $50,000. In this scenario, the company could potentially spend between $660,000 to $2.6 million a year in turnover costs alone. These numbers clearly demonstrate the financial impact of employee retention.

Next, you’ll want to investigate employee recognition methods that employees actually want and appreciate, and combine that research with the existing budget allocated.  This may include an employee of the month awards, paid time off, gift cards or bonuses. Having a dynamic rewards program that changes and evolves can help keep things interesting and motivate employees to stay with the company longer.

Ideas for employee recognition

  •     Achievements
  •     Work anniversaries
  •     Excellent performance
  •     Exhibiting company values
  •     Teamwork

It’s best to give rewards promptly, but buying gift cards can get complicated when you’re busy, especially in a distributed team. That’s where tools like Giftbit come in handy. Giftbit allows you to automate, schedule, or send gift cards instantly (and digitally) to your employees. Demo Giftbit today to learn how we can help!

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Having the capability to track your results and substantiate your argument is crucial

Indeed, it is crucial to remember that measurement and tracking of outcomes are imperative for any employee rewards program. Interestingly, achieving this task becomes simpler when utilizing gift cards. By leveraging gift cards in your rewards strategy, you can simply follow and measure the redemption statistics and effectively evaluate the efficacy of your rewards program.

If you can assess what works – and what doesn’t – then you can fine-tune your retention strategies for even better results. This may include surveys or questionnaires, focus groups, or tracking turnover data over time to see if corresponding efforts had any impact. By implementing a well-designed rewards program, you can significantly lower turnover rates, boost employee engagement, and increase productivity.

These results can be quantified in terms of reduced turnover costs and improved financial performance, making a strong case for investing in an effective rewards strategy.

Discover unique employee recognition programs & ideas!


Culture and wellness at work: a vital imperative in an employee rewards program!

According to Arbinger and their resource guide “The ultimate list of corporate culture statistics for 2023, a remarkable 46% of decision-makers and leaders acknowledge the powerful impact of culture on driving improvements in key growth areas such as employee productivity, retention, and engagement.

A dynamic and successful company culture plays a pivotal role in various aspects of an organization, including wellness, growth, unity, and loyalty. Learn why it's crucial to include it in every employee recognition program and discover how to effectively incorporate it. 

To enhance wellness in your organization, consider incorporating health brand gift cards and incentivizing healthy habits as part of your employee rewards program. Prioritizing wellness not only improves company culture but also boosts employee engagement.

A well-defined culture drives the rewards programs in a company. Employees are more likely to feel motivated and appreciated when rewards are aligned with the company's goals and values. This alignment leads to more significant job satisfaction, thereby promoting productivity and commitment to achieving the company's vision.
Culture sets the tone for how employees interact with each other and with customers. A culture of respect, collaboration, and open communication can lead to stronger teamwork and unity, higher customer satisfaction, and ultimately, better business outcomes. 
It can aid employee retention by creating an environment where employees feel valued and want to remain part of the team. A strong company culture fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty that discourages employees from seeking opportunities elsewhere.

Drive talent acquisition and retention 

Attracting top talent to your organization is not just important—it's a necessity. In 2023, it’s been heavily researched that job seekers are meticulously evaluating potential employers by considering the factors we discussed earlier: company culture, wellness programs, and attractive benefits. 

Additionally, they are also taking into account other aspects such as competitive salaries, enticing perks, flexible work schedules, and achieving work-life balance, before deciding to apply to a particular organization.

Here are strategies to consider implementing to help get their attention in 2024:

1. Cultivate an exceptional company culture

Building a strong culture takes effort, dedication, and a shared vision. At Giftbit, we understand the importance of fostering a positive work environment, which is why we developed 8 Cultural Principles as a team. These principles serve as our guiding philosophy, and we integrate them into our daily work to ensure alignment and cohesion. By taking a deliberate approach to shaping your corporate culture, you can create a thriving workplace that reflects your values. Proudly showcase this unique culture to attract like-minded individuals who will contribute to your organization's success.

2. Offer competitive compensation

It's not just about appeasing the best negotiators; ensure that your salary packages meet or exceed industry standards. Use benchmark tools like OpenComp to stay informed and make salary offerings that reflect the value of your employees' work. Fair and attractive compensation not only makes employees feel appreciated but also serves as an incentive for professional growth and progression.

3. Provide holistic and comprehensive benefits

Differentiating yourself from competitors goes beyond offering mere medical benefits. A holistic approach is key. When evaluating benefits, consider the comprehensive advantages that encompass various dimensions of well-being – physical, mental, emotional, and social. Promote overall health and consider providing a stipend for health-related purchases. Remember, a comprehensive benefits package demonstrates your steadfast dedication to promoting the well-being of your employees. This is particularly significant, as over 90% of us believe that the nation is currently facing a mental health crisis in 2023. (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)

4. Enhance work perks and rewards

In addition to rewards and incentives, consider incorporating attractive work perks. Tailor these perks to align with your organization's values and needs. Whether it's gym memberships, co-working space access, team events, or Starbucks gift cards to fuel productivity, these perks can make a difference.

5. Embrace workplace flexibility 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the various ways of working. Some individuals thrive in a bustling office environment, while others prefer the focus of remote work. Offering flexibility in terms of where, when, and how employees work is now considered the norm.

According to Gartner's 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of employees reported that flexibility in their working hours contributed to their productivity. By adopting a flexible workplace, you can foster a healthy work-life balance and empower individuals to be more productive. 

Employees have come to appreciate the benefits of remote work and flexible hours, and companies that embrace these practices have been more successful in attracting new talent.


Building a thriving workplace: Strategies for success in 2024

By implementing these strategies and reference guide in developing an employee rewards program, you can create a thriving workplace that reflects your values and attracts top talent.

Cultivating an exceptional company culture, offering competitive compensation, providing holistic and comprehensive benefits, enhancing work perks and rewards, and embracing workplace flexibility are all key factors in building a strong and motivated team that contributes to the success of your organization.

Remember, a positive work environment and a dedicated focus on employee well-being are crucial for long-term growth and employee engagement. Let these employee rewards strategies guide you in creating a workplace where your employees can thrive and excel in 2024 and beyond!