Employees tend to find deeper value in roles that mean more than just a reliable paycheck. Culture, opportunities for growth, strong relationships, and the chance to make an impact can all help shape an employee’s experience on the job.

One of the most effective ways leaders can deliver on these demands is by implementing a formalized employee rewards program.

In this article, we’ll share four of the most impactful ways employee rewards programs can transform the way your team works.

What is an employee rewards program?

Rewards programs come in many shapes and sizes. Most modern ones involve a company-wide social feed where colleagues can recognize one another for great work, and also attach points to recognition for an added bonus. Recipients then redeem those points for any number of items featured in the company’s rewards catalog.

4 ways employee rewards can change how your team works

Besides providing an easy way to keep team spirits high day-to-day, a strategic employee rewards and recognition program has the potential to profoundly change the way your team operates. Here’s a closer look at how it can make an impact.

1. Rewards make work more goal-oriented

Most rewards programs allow administrators to set custom recognition occasions that employees are encouraged to recognize one another for. Determining criteria for employee recognition is one of the first things you’ll need to do when implementing a new program. What behaviors warrant public praise? Which actions deserve to be rewarded?

By aligning your recognition criteria with your company’s overall goals, you can help tie employees’ day-to-day work more firmly to your organization’s most important objectives.

For example, imagine your team’s biggest goal for the year is to expand your company’s global presence. With this goal in mind, you might decide to set one of your custom recognition occasions as “Go Global”. You could then instruct employees to reward and recognize anyone they see working hard to bring the “Go Global” goal to life.

By making this goal a central component of your rewards and recognition program, you incentivize employees to work hard to achieve it by letting them know they’ll be rewarded when they do. Plus, when other employees see their peers being recognized for progress towards this goal, they’ll likely be inspired to do the same.

In this way, a rewards program triggers a positive feedback loop that can fundamentally change the way your team works by aligning day-to-day work with major objectives. When everyone’s efforts are pointed in the same direction, your team becomes a powerful force for bringing goals to life.

2. Rewards improve relationships between colleagues

Rewards and recognition programs also have the potential to change the way your team works by strengthening relationships between colleagues. This is critically important because today’s workforce has demonstrated a chronic problem with feeling underappreciated at work—one study found that nearly half of all US employees don’t feel appreciated in their jobs.

That number is staggering, but it’s important to keep in mind that it doesn’t mean half of all employees actually aren’t appreciated—it just means there’s a breakdown in the flow of communication that makes it difficult or inconvenient for peers to express gratitude.

An employee rewards program is a straightforward way to remedy that. Providing your employees with a monthly allotment of points to be distributed to their peers sends a clear message that regular, explicit gratitude is an expectation at your company. Partnering with a dedicated employee rewards and recognition provider like Fond can help make the process easier too, as it provides employees with a user-friendly social feed, points catalog, and dashboard. When recognition is convenient, it’s more likely to happen more frequently and resonate as a cultural norm.

Shot of a group of young businesspeople using a laptop in a modern office

Shot of a group of young businesspeople using a laptop in a modern office

3. Rewards systems help reinforce HR and management workflows

In order to incorporate a rewards system or tool successfully, you also need a way to manage it and have it sync with the workflows and systems already in place.

monday.com’s Work OS offers teams a way to easily plan, run, and track projects big and small. Customizable workspaces can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any undertaking, and offer an effective way to keep complicated projects running smoothly.

Among the many customizations available in monday.com’s Work OS, leaders can actively track how many rewards points are associated with given tasks and which employees are standouts. They can then use this information to inform campaigns to motivate employees. HR leaders and managers can build out their workflows with discussions and operational plans related to reward systems too.

In this way, rewards work harmoniously with project management systems to solidify processes, incentivize milestones, and keep the whole team motivated. Over time, this too can have a significant impact on the way your company operates.

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4. Rewards help instill company core values

Lastly, recognition programs change the way teams work by helping employees live up to company core values .

Company core values are behavioral ideals that (theoretically) guide the way your entire organization operates. Because they are so high-level, they have a tendency to feel abstract and are often forgotten as employees become more and more caught up in the day-to-day demands of their jobs.

Employee recognition programs are one of the most effective ways to help reinforce core values. When you reward employees for living up to core values, you encourage people to strive for those same values again in the future with the promise of another possible reward. Additionally, seeing value-based recognition in a company’s social feed can provide inspiring examples of what company core values look like in practice.

Some companies take this idea as far as centering their entire recognition program around core values. You can set up your program so that every time employees send recognition to a peer, they have to select a core value to accompany it. This establishes a direct link between core values and workplace behaviors.

A little recognition goes a long way

At a glance, employee rewards and recognition programs might seem like a small way to make the employee experience at your company just a bit more enjoyable. But when considered more deeply, it becomes clear that this single program has the potential to exercise a big impact long-term. Leverage employee rewards to the fullest extent you can to ensure you enable your team to do their best work.

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