Reward Management: How employers can reward staff individually

Debbie chooses a spa voucher, Rashid is looking forward to the opera, Hannah prefers a subscription for flowers and the accounts department the team breakfast. The more individual the rewards, the more employees can be motivated by them. Employers, however, are afraid of having to run their own general store, where the cost-benefit ratio is distinctly negative. An example from Zurich shows how rewards can be given in a straightforward yet individual way.

Motivated Storyteller in Zurich

In Zurich, one company is not only keeping things moving on the public transport network. Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich (VBZ) also gets people going in the internet with humorous, informative stories, presenting itself as an attractive, cosmopolitan employer. Most of the stories come from the company’s own employees, who are happy to act as ambassadors for their company. In order to show appreciation for this commitment and keep motivation high, VBZ relies on incentives, among other things. Two aspects are particularly important to the HR department: individual rewards and automatic processes. Employees should be individually rewarded with the widest possible range of options. At the same time, this individualisation must not paralyse HR. The essential processes related to incentivisation need to be automated.

Teamwork: referral programme and rewards platform

VBZ opted for a three-way arrangement with Talentry and the rewards portal Bontique. The ambassador programme and rewards shop work together very easily: once an employee has reached the required number of points and wishes to redeem them for a reward, they receive approval in the form of a personalised Bountique link, which can be used to order a gift of their choice. There is no additional work for HR. At the same time, they have an overview of individual point balances and the number of rewards that have been claimed – so they can intervene if necessary and optimise the reward system.


The worry: individual incentives are too costly

Unlike VBZ, many employers still skirt around the issue of employee rewards or limit themselves to the multifunctional Amazon voucher as a rather unimaginative method of recognition. The common fear is that individual incentives make handling far too complicated. That and an expected misuse of points redemption would send the costs of a reward programme sky high. Yet companies like VBZ prove that these fears are unfounded. Neither a huge warehouse full of rewards has to be managed, nor a whole team has to be assigned to shipping and logistics.


Professional reward management by specialists

There are now service providers, such as Bontique, Incentivus and Magmapool, which have specialised in sales management, employee incentives and customer loyalty. They not only provide a web-based reward platform, but also take over full rewards management for their clients – including procurement, logistics and vouchers. Even the services of a travel agency are sometimes offered. Experiences, city breaks, spa packages or outdoor adventures are then put together by trained travel agents as required, or can be created and booked by employees themselves via a travel configurator.


Individual rewards create more enthusiasm among employees

Motivation is always individual. What drives some people to peak performance may only elicit a weary yawn in others. Cyclists can do just as little with a fuel voucher, as vegetarians with a restaurant voucher for a steakhouse or a Liverpool fan with tickets for the next Man United game. The more varied the range of rewards, the more employees will be inspired by it. Professional reward management takes this into account and can provide attractive, individual or even personalised/specially branded gifts. Multilingual reward shops for culturally diverse workforces are also no problem.


Less workload through transparent rules and automation

Speaking of which, asking employees in advance about their desired rewards never goes amiss. This can also be decisive in choosing the right rewards partner. The same goes for an intuitive, easy-to-understand platform – both for the employees and HR staff, who have to take care of maintenance and settings in the reward shop. Automated processes for redeeming points reduce the workload. Employers should also pay attention to this. And another tip: simple, transparent rules for awarding points and instant rewards for individual activities also increase employee motivation.


Avoid fraud and keep costs under control

On the other hand, automatic control mechanisms, such as fraud prevention, and individual point limits prevent uncontrolled redemption of points for rewards. Fraud prevention is an automatic control mechanism based on various scenarios and empirical values that stops points being awarded. So when choosing a referral programme, make sure that such mechanisms are included in the scope of service. For example, no points are awarded for clicks made from the same IP address as the original share. The same applies to clicks by colleagues who were already logged on as users in the referral programme or for clicks from IP addresses that have generated points in the last 24 hours. To control costs, you can usually set point limits that, for example, limit the number of daily clicks per employee that are rewarded. This way, you rule out abuse by any bad eggs, without having to forgo the motivational effects of gamification.


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