Top 10 Ways to Improve Employee Redemption of Rewards Received

One challenge many recognition program owners share in common is helping employees to redeem their points or level-based rewards. Here’s a list of practical ideas for you to try out. Use them to encourage staff and leaders alike to get the full value of the rewards they once-upon-a-time received. 

1. Have you asked your employees? Find out from staff why they aren’t redeeming. It may surprise you to learn from their responses. It’s one thing to nominate someone else. But maybe they don’t know how to select something and redeem points they have received. 

2. Make sure you are setting clear expectations. Lay out the guidelines for your online recognition and reward programs. Invite people to either redeem rewards right away or to bank their rewards for higher valued items. Identify in your system which option people are choosing to do. 

3. Enlist the aid of your senior leaders. Capture a video endorsement of your recognition and reward programs from a senior leader. Have them share their admiration for the great work employees are doing. They can issue a call to action to redeem and use their points. 

4. Ensure you have a wide range of preferred items to choose from. They always claim rewards much quicker when they have more to choices to choose from. Giving your staff lots to choose from really helps. Make sure they know what’s available, new options, and send information out regularly. 

5. Teach leaders on program usage and redemption. The success of any online recognition and reward program starts at the top. Show your leaders how to give recognition and nominate rewards. Orient them to the rewards catalog and instruct them so they can help staff know how to redeem their rewards. 

6. Find out if people know how to redeem their rewards. Ask staff about redeeming rewards from the program. Do they know how to do so? Create video tutorials for independent viewing and use staff meeting opportunities for hands on redemption of points or rewards from the online system. 

7. Advertise all the options available to redeem for. Use all the internal communication channels to promote and advertise the various rewards available. Let staff see on LCD screens and on the corporate intranet site when discounted items are available. Use posters and tent cards in the cafeteria and electronic newsletters for virtual staff. 

8. Constantly communicate to make staff aware. It is easy to forget when someone has given you a reward over and above the recognition received. Arrange a notification system to give staff a view of their reward balance. Invite employees to redeem their rewards for things that are meaningful to them.

9. Continually measure redemption levels after each intervention. Apply different methods to invite and encourage point redemption and measure the results afterward. You might also consider running an A/B test or conducting split testing by random experimentation of two or more versions of a variable.

10. Work with your department or your vendor’s merchandising group. Review your catalog of rewards regularly. Compare existing popular categories of items. Solicit suggestions from staff each year. Take extra care when refreshing your catalog. Ensure you’re giving everyone access to the best rewards.

Recognition Reflection: What are doing to encourage better reward redemptions by employees?

How To Cue People To Use Your Recognition Programs More Consistently

One challenge recognition program owners experience is how to get everyone in their organizations consistently using their recognition programs.

Today, I am going to share with you ways to move people, or induce them into action and steadily use your programs to recognize others.

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Why It Is Okay To Have Manager Approvals for Rewards

You and I know that recognition and reward programs have to be designed with the right business rules to make their use fair and equitable.

This is especially the case where performance-based recognition and reward programs exist. Such programs have their own rules for who is eligible to give and receive rewards. 

Reward programs where peers nominate someone to receive a reward may even require that a manager approve of whether the desired recipient should receive the reward. 

And yet there are some organizations who say they don’t want a manager’s approval at all. This takes too much time to approve a reward nomination. How will it look to employees? 

However, I am here to tell you it is okay to have managers approve reward nominations. 

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What Is The Estimated ROI From My Recognition Program?

Everyone wants a positive Return on Investment (ROI) for any new project or program. Employee recognition is no different.

Leaders and program owners alike want to know and compare the monetary benefits from their recognition program. One client recently asked me, what do you consider the estimated return on investment for implementing employee recognition program? 

Unfortunately, the quick and easy answer to that broad question is, “that depends.” 

But to bring some peace of mind to any of you who might have the same question, I will now give a more detailed answer. 

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How To Turn Your Career Milestone Event Into Something Memorable

An employee’s career milestone, whether in person or virtually celebrated, is a special event and very important to them. You need to show staff that this is a big deal to everyone else as well—their immediate manager and senior leaders alike.

Celebrating an employee’s work anniversary should be something that is easy to acknowledge. After all, you are thanking them for their length of service with the organization and expressing appreciation for their contributions. 

I will lay out for you the 4 P’s you need to follow so you will honor every employee’s career milestone the right way.

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How To Use Leading Indicators to Boost Usage of Your Recognition Programs

Recognition program metrics are old news by the time you get them.

And that “old news” element makes these numbers from the past called lagging indicators. They are a lagging indicator because we observe these measures after, or lagging after, any change has occurred. 

These lagging indicators create a conflict for you as the recognition program owner. Outcome measures from your programs are easy to measure. But you can’t do much to change them once you get them. 

My recommendation is to supercharge your programs by using leading indicators as well. 

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Top 10 Ways Points-Based Rewards Are Super Meaningful

When using nominal reward amounts in rewarding employees the typical options available to organizations are cash, points, and gift cards. Researchers have conducted many studies on the benefits of cash versus non-monetary rewards—what about points-based rewards? Further research by Dr. Patricia A. Norberg from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, provides insights from which these Top 10 Ways Points-Based Rewards Are Super Meaningful are based.

1.  People think about points more often. For example, individuals who receive reward points tend to think about and plan out how they plan to use them more so than reward recipients who receive cash or gift cards do.

2.  They’ll even talk about their points more. Think about personal loyalty points you’ve collected. Employees who receive reward points talk about their reward points more often than employees who get cash or gift cards.

3.   Point recipients report higher satisfaction levels. Employees who receive reward points report significantly higher levels of satisfaction with their reward than those reward recipients who got cash or gift cards.

4.   People receiving points remember how they used them. Employees receiving reward points were significantly better at remembering what they used their reward points for than those recipients receiving cash or gift cards.

5.   There’s a higher perceived trophy status with points. Employees perceive points at a higher currency ratio value than associated with cash rewards, making them more meaningful to employees to hold up with pride.

6.   Points get redeemed for more meaningful gifts. Studies show that cash gets used for more utilitarian and practical items such as bills and household necessities. Points get used for meaningful gift items that employees talk about.

7.   Using point-based rewards encourages greater engagement. Employees receiving point rewards engage more with company reward sites than cash, which appears on pay statements, or gift cards they have to top up to use.

8.   There’s greater potential of emotional appeal with points. Point-based rewards have greater emotional appeal to employees than cash. Emotional draw creates intrinsic connection for the employee with their company.

9.  Points generate greater social-emotional impact. If you want a rewards program to create better word-of-mouth promotion across employees and higher levels of employee satisfaction, then points-based rewards appears to fit the bill.

10. Nominal points-based reward programs work. By all accounts, points-based reward programs offer an all round memorable, meaningful, and motivational option to consider in your reward program planning. 

Recognition Reflection: Has the organization clearly defined the benefits of a points-based reward program to our employees?

How To Use A Push or Pull Strategy for Encouraging Recognition Programs

The emergence of online employee recognition and reward programs is still a relatively recent phenomenon.

Sometimes we have to stop and remember that the Internet didn’t really start until 1983. And, for the interaction needed with online programs, this was emerging in the 90s with Web 2.0 launching in 1999.

With the emergence of the Internet, reward and recognition providers could now use technology systems to integrate with Human Resource Information Systems. 

What do we mean by pull and push approaches to employee recognition programs?

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How Intuitive Is Your Recognition and Reward Program?

Wow! You have a great online recognition and reward program all set up and people are using it.

But a few people have some concerns about how painless it will be to access.

Your program should have a friendly interface and be easy to use. Common functions should be accessible from a simple drop-down menu.

Now you are wondering how intuitive your recognition and reward program really is.

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Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Career Milestones

Your role in presenting a career milestone award on a person’s work anniversary is to create an experience that the recipient will always remember. Managers must learn how critical it is for them to honor employees on their special day.  Follow theses Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Career Milestones and put these steps into practice.

  1. Make managers responsible for milestones. You must assign managers to acknowledge their employees before or on the day of their anniversary. Hold them accountable by following up on what they did and share their employee’s reaction.
  2. Work hard to honor the person. Plan ahead of time to collect information and insights about award recipients to help everyone remember them and their contributions. Allow these musings and memories of years of service be reflective and memorable.
  3. Highlight a recipient’s attributes. Interview previous bosses and colleagues to discover their unique characteristics and attributes. Find out what makes them an excellent employee. As appropriate to the individual share these thoughts in the presentation.
  4. Plan who the attendees should be. Lower year anniversaries are informal and can be their team members or one-on-one with their manager. Longer years of service merit finding out if a senior leader or family members should be present. Always find out their wishes first.
  5. Find the right place to present. Check out your organization’s facilities and see if there is a “perfect” setting to add to the whole award experience. Discover if there are special memories associated with specific spots that could create a unique memory.
  6. Capture memories of this day. Do whatever you can to assign someone else to photograph and video record the presentation. Have a sign in book or cards for people to write their congratulations and thoughts. Or create a video book where people leave messages.
  7. Request the right person present. Whether it is their immedate manager or a senior leader figure out who the best person is to present their award. It must be someone the recipient has a positive relationship with and who they personally respect and admire.
  8. Recognize their achievements. You have the opportunity to acknowledge all the employee has done up to their anniversary date. Let them know how their contributions and work have impacted others and made a difference to the organization.
  9. Treat them like a star. Consider the Oscar awards and treat your career milestone employees as a celebrity, because on their anniversary day, they really are. Strive to turn every service award day into a celebration and not just a presentation.
  10. Connect the employee’s achievements. Make the career milestone recipient’s feel fulfilled by showing them and others how they have lived by the organizational values. Let them know the organization could not be where they are today without their contributions.