How to Design a Reward System for Employees

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Employees must feel that they matter for a reward system to work effectively.
Employees must feel that they matter for a reward system to work effectively. (Image: workers image by Daniel Wiedemann from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Designing a reward system for employees should be done with consideration for who they are. Determining what motivates a worker is something elusive in many businesses across the nation. However, you can take one step to help remove the mystery. You can ask them. Becoming interested in what they desire and making that happen could be the best reward system. It does not require much money or time. Therefore, as a manager designing a reward system for employees, you should start with the basics first. Allow revenue to help guide your direction.

Find out what matters to your employees by creating a survey to ask them directly. Ask employees what motivates them and what rewards they feel are appropriate for their positions and job objectives. Surveys should be short and succinct, no more than one page in length. Leave little room for free responses that are independent opinions shared in statements. Give options, such as A, B or C, to guide the responses to better categorize them.

Take the data collected and formulate a reward plan. Decide whether financial or self-esteem increasing efforts would be the most appropriate for each individual employee. Remember, everyone is different and sometimes the incentives must change from person to person. The reward system should reinforce positive behavior, like increased productivity. The reward could be a better parking space or a free lunch paid for via a gift card from the management with a satisfactory remark of praise.

Implement the reward plan on a trial basis to determine the effectiveness. A sign that it works is if you notice an upward shift in revenue or productivity. Test the reward system for a specified amount of time, like three months. Give enough time to complete an overall analysis of how well each worker improves based on the strategic design of the reward system.

Establish a permanent reward system for employees based on the trial run and the survey collected. This reward system should be announced and incorporated into the company policy to allow everyone the opportunity to become fully aware of how to obtain it. It should not be something attainable for any worker who meets a designated benchmark, or goal.

Revamp the design of a reward system for employees as they evolve. It is a system that may need to be revisited each year and new incentives may be introduced. Make the reward design clear, able to be monitored and obtainable. Spreadsheets and other types of reporting methods work well. It must be viewed as fair for the reward design to become ultimately successful in generating more revenue, which is the purpose of rewarding workers.

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