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How to Pick the Right Employee Rewards Program for your Organization?

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Workplaces are going through a dynamic transformation. And with the changing scenario, HR functions are evolving massively. It is pivotal to create a more employee-centric work environment where employee engagement takes center stage.

We cannot talk about building employee engagement without having an effective Rewards and Recognition program in place.

  • 26% of employees ranked recognition for their work in their top three factors for staying with their current employer.
  • 17% of employees said their manager/employer was horrible because they never recognized their work.
  • 43% ranked their manager/employer as just okay because recognition is not infrequent and timely. (Achievers)

Creating a sound employee rewards program from scratch is quite a tough and time-consuming process.

Thanks to technology and the massive inundation of cloud-based HR tools, you will find many employee rewards programs to serve the purpose. These cloud tools can make the entire employee recognition process more straightforward, more structured, and effective. Also, they can hugely reduce admin time. As a result, employee recognition is more frequent, timely, and meaningful.

The real test now is evaluating and picking the right employee rewards program from the lot.

In this blog, we will outline ten criteria that can help you pick the right employee rewards program for your organization to make this process easier.

1. Ease of Integration:

Digitization and technology have become a quintessential part of managing people. The chances are that your organization is already using an HRMS for various HR functions.

You don’t want to invest in a program that will not become part of the existing workflows. It will add hassles for both you and your employees. It also minimizes admin time when you can integrate your rewards program with other SSO software that you’re using.

Hence, it is essential to ensure that the employee recognition program can be seamlessly integrated into the existing system.

2. Customization:

Every organization is different from the other.

Since you’re choosing a Rewards platform and not building one on your own, it is important to fit your company effortlessly. Customizable features will give you the freedom to tailor-make the program for your employees. It can be in the form of the number of employees, award titles, allocation of points, etc. Your employees shouldn’t feel like they are joining a completely new and unknown program.

Solution providers like VantageRewards offer complete white-labeling of the program to give it company identity. This means you get full autonomy over the look and feel of the program, starting from the name to interface.

Look for a solution provider who can provide complete customization.

3. Smooth Point-based rewarding Process:

Gone are the days when you could apply a one-size-fits-all policy in rewarding your employees.

Point-based rewards for employee recognition are gaining popularity for all the right reasons. Here employers can buy reward points and distribute these points to employees as rewards. Employees can then redeem the points earned by them and purchase items or experiences, or subscriptions of their choice. This gives employees flexibility and a sense of freedom. And for managers, it reduces their headache in deciding what gifts to give on what occasion.

So, you must make sure that the program you choose follows a point-based rewarding system. Also, have a look at the points to currency conversion beforehand.

4. The program should suit your organization:

A company’s recognition program must suit the company culturally.

Recognition programs are a great way to spread and articulate your company’s core values. So before choosing a program, you must ensure that you can tie the Rewards program with the company values and ideologies. Research on the message that the program wants to emphasize and the unique ways they are trying to achieve the same.

For example, if the program claims to promote social recognition, look at their portal or the social feed and similar features.

So take a free demo or a tour of the inside of the portal and make an informed decision.

5. Cost Factor:

One of the preliminary criteria while choosing an R&R program is the cost.

Before you go about investing in a program, you should plan a proper budget. The budget will differ according to the size and needs of the enterprise. Make a reasonable estimation of how much you are willing to pay the external vendor for the program. Investigate what all will be taken care of by them and what will not.

SHRM recommends that HR departments spend at least 1% of payroll on rewards and recognition.

Note that some solution providers show a lower cost on paper, but there are many hidden costs once you get on board. These can be transaction fees, processing fees, or extra taxes. To avoid that, I would recommend you to go for a tool that shows a transparent and flat fee.

Once the program is launched, the budget allocation and distribution should be on your hands. The platform should enable you to purchase rewards points when you want them, based on the budget that works for you.

6. Alignment with desired Outcomes:

It is important to establish the outcomes that you expect from the R&R program. One of the biggest challenges of building a culture of employee recognition is a lack of means to determine the ROI.

To tackle this, you must set quantifiable outcomes and expectations. And more importantly, you should be able to capture the results of the program with sound analytics. Have a close look at the analytics dashboard that will come with the program. All the data you need should be displayed in a systematic and hassle-free manner and in real-time.

To ensure transparency of your rewards program, take a detailed review of the product before making a choice.

7. The Program should be Fun and Engaging:

The success of the Recognition program comes down to the degree of engagement of your people. While considering the factors for choosing a program, there is one thing that is often overlooked, and that is making it fun.

The program interface should be simple, smooth, and user-friendly. Since everyone in the company will be using the program, the features should be easy to understand.

Secondly, make sure the program is fun (and not boring) to use. Having gaming elements makes a program instantly more interesting. Gamification in the R&R module can be having a leaderboard, points allocation, badges, tags, etc.

Note: Go for a tool that has mobile access to ensure regular participation and engagement.

8. Industry knowledge and experience of Vendor:

Choosing the right external vendor for the organization’s recognition needs comes down to various factors. You should ensure that the vendor is experienced and capable of delivering the results and meeting the goals. You might want to look at their industry presence and previous experiences with companies on the same scale as yours.

You should stick with the brand name that offers top quality and has shown commendable results in the past.

9. Scalability:

Scalability in cloud computing or cloud tools is the ability to quickly and easily increase or decrease the size or power of an IT solution.

A scalable cloud makes it possible to sign in and start using a cloud solution in a matter of seconds. When your rewards program is scalable, even sizeable changes in the organization can be handled in a few minutes. It doesn’t require the program to change the entire structure according to your company size.

Make sure that the cloud-based program of your choice is scalable to meet the diverse needs of your organization.

10. Global Deployment:

One of the prime challenges for a Rewards Program is maintaining the consistency of the program across regions. If you company is a multinational company or your workforce is spread out in various location, this is an essential criterion that you must take note of.

Make sure that the employee rewards solution provider can deliver a consistent solution across the continents and in remote locations.

This article is written by Darshana Dutta. She works as a Content Creator and Digital Marketer at Vantage Circle. She writes extensively on trends around employee engagement and transforming company culture. For any related queries, contact