Design a Rewards Program Structure for the Steepest Results

Investing in employee engagement can have a positive impact on your bottom line. Engaged, respected, and empowered employees are more likely to stay with a company. On the other hand, employees who don't have high levels of engagement only have a 35% chance of making it to their third work anniversary. Recognizing performance, especially in the competitive job market we're seeing today, is critical because replacing employees can be expensive and time consuming.

Implementing a rewards program that bolsters loyalty and motivates productivity is easier than you might think. The key to success is in the planning of your rewards program structure. Recognition takes many forms, but the type of structure you implement can promote motivation and loyalty differently. Let's look at ways reward programs are structured to find one that elevates your organization’s retention and productivity levels best.

Which Rewards Program Structure Should You Use?

Most reward programs fall under the categories of structured or unstructured. This article will help you determine which type of program will best hit your objectives and when to use each.

How Structured Rewards Programs Work

In structured programs, employee recognition comes from upper management levels. For example, an employee receives a mention in a special section of the monthly newsletter published by the human resources department.

Many businesses also recognize exemplary work with employee awards like employee of the quarter. These programs are great opportunities to celebrate milestones and other achievements, creating a strong sense of community and tradition.

A good company culture can rely on these celebrations to be something employees look forward to. Structured reward programs are ideal for long term employee motivation.

When To Use a Structured Rewards Program Structure

Use a structured program to create a ceremony held at a regularly scheduled time. If you plan to award a plaque or trophy, consider including a personalized gift card to make it even more memorable. Use data, like years of service or sales numbers, to ensure everyone feels they have an equal chance. Ultimately, you want to recognize employees for their long-term work. The structured reward program drives loyalty and shows that the company values longevity and dedication.

The Unstructured Rewards Program Structure

The unstructured rewards program is flexible and addresses more immediate recognition needs. Think of it as regular praise, an integral part of managing employees. These rewards can come from peers and managers, making them more spontaneous and warmer than when they arrive at a formalized time and place. They can fit any budget and should be easy to send and redeem. Electronic gift cards to employees are ideal for this purpose.

What kind of recognition works in an unstructured rewards program structure? A points-based system where employees earn points for completing tasks or reaching a daily goal. In this type of structure, employees earn rewards as an incentive for excellent performance. One way to use an unstructured rewards program is by allowing employees to earn points for completing tasks or reaching a daily goal. After earning a predetermined amount of points, the employee can redeem them for a reward.

Another way to use an unstructured format is to recognize birthdays or work anniversaries with a gift card. The unstructured program is also an excellent format for peer-to-peer recognition where coworkers send positive feedback to each other with a reward.

Peer-to-peer reward programs are a great way to nurture connections in departments, foster teamwork, and strengthen relationships. An employee who feels valued as a member of an organization by their peers is highly engaged. Peer-to-peer recognition helps build a dynamic company culture, promotes meaningful relationships, and leads to a positive employee environment.

When to Use an Unstructured Rewards Program Structure

Use an unstructured rewards program when you need a flexible way to give recognition in real time or reward someone who performed above expectations. You can also use this structure when you want recognition to come from the employee's direct manager or one of their peers in a peer-to-peer recognition program. The unstructured format fits better in smaller rewards budgets too as more frequent recognition doesn't have to be expensive.

Structured or Unstructured, Rewards Genius Can Help

Revisit your goals and consider which strategy might work best for your objectives. Or, try a blend of structured and unstructured systems for your rewards program and monitor the results. No matter which approach you use, sending gift cards will make the experience personal. You’re giving a reward the employee can use immediately and will make them feel valued.

Looking for a simple way to send desirable rewards? Rewards Genius, our free self-serve dashboard, makes it easy for you to order, send, and track digital gift cards.

Want to see how Rewards Genius can help you manage structured and unstructured rewards plans? Email Our representatives are happy to show you how easy it is to use Rewards Genius to meet your goals.

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