Finding your Budget for Employee Recognition

Did you know that around 63% of employees are more likely to stay with a company running a great Employee Rewards Program? In other words, employee recognition is a great way to retain the best staff and reduce your recruitment costs. But how do you develop a cost-effective Rewards Program? Here are five ideas to get you started.

1. Identify What Matters

There’s no point investing money in plaques or other physical prizes if your team won’t appreciate them. The answer? Ask your employees what drives them. Find out what they’d like to see more of. 

For example, some teams might prefer cash rewards, and others might want training or mentoring opportunities. So, ask your employees for suggestions before you allocate any budget. 

2. Use Frequent Achievement Recognition

Next, introduce some inexpensive but frequent recognition schemes. Ideas include:

  • Employee of the Month recognition walls
  • Weekly email roundups
  • Encouraging verbal praise

Remember, most employees respond well to frequent positive feedback, so this is a cost-effective way to recognise your top performers. 

3. Provide Non-Financial Awards

Give your managers the flexibility to offer non-financial rewards for great performance. Options include:

  • Longer lunch breaks
  • Lunch with the boss or senior staff members
  • The chance to work on a new project
  • Flexible start and end times
  • Clocking off an hour early on a Friday 

Don’t underestimate the value of networking opportunities — internal networking is really valuable to your employees, because many see it as a stepping stone to future promotions.  

4. Introduce High-Value, Less Frequent Prizes 

Don’t forget to allocate some budget to annual or quarterly prizes for outstanding employees. You might offer:

  • Gift cards
  • Physical awards, like trophies or plaques
  • Tickets to an event
  • A weekend trip 

Great prizes like these can incentivise your employees to give their best all year. 

5. Confirm Your Budget

The average company allocates around 1% of payroll to their Employee Recognition and Rewards Program, but this doesn’t work for every business. So here’s what to do.

Confirm how much money you can spend on your Rewards Program.
Allocate the budget between high-value, infrequent rewards and peer recognition and manager-to-peer recognition activities.
Review and make changes as appropriate.
Takeaway

Finding your budget for employee recognition comes down to one major factor: your company’s specific needs. But remember, you don’t need a huge budget to roll out a great program — frequent, non-financial rewards are a good place to start.