Deborah Frost: Making reward and recognition personal

A successful employee benefits programme only truly works when it is meaningful to the individual. Employees want to feel valued for their contribution, not like a small cog in a large machine.

Research has shown that happy and engaged employees are up to 20 per cent more productive. Showing employees that their hard work is not only appreciated, but also rewarded is essential for a happy, engaged and motivated workforce. However, doing this effectively can be difficult to achieve.

Employees are as unique as the business they work for, which is why a ‘one size fits all’ approach is ineffective. Tailoring a reward and recognition programme that truly reflects the needs of the workforce is key.

With technology ever evolving, digital solutions for reward and recognition are a fantastic way to streamline the process and create a scheme that allows for people’s individualities.

Instant reward and recognition

In many businesses there is some form of existing reward and recognition already in place. This often takes the form of an appraisal. A performance-based review that in some instances has a financial reward based on the outcome. Whilst this is a great way to recognise the contribution of the employee, the fact that these are usually annual means that employee successes can be forgotten by the time the next appraisal comes around.

Being able to instantly reward and recognise employees is critical. Real-time praise and acknowledgement of a job well done ensures extra efforts do not go unrecognised and can help keep employees engaged all year round.

App based platforms enable businesses to connect with their employees wherever they are, an invaluable solution for employers, particularly if they have field-based staff, people working remotely or those that do not have regular access to a computer. The use of push notifications is perfect for instant communication, and can be sent to specific people or groups, providing employers with a simple, easy way to ensure in the moment recognition.

Cash alternatives

When it comes to reward, those that are financial can be a motivator for participation, but cash alternatives can make the reward more memorable and valued by the person receiving it. Often, people who receive cash will end up incorporating it into day-to-day spend, or even using it to pay bills.

The premise of cash alternatives is that they still deliver a financial benefit, however, drive the behaviour of the recipient to spend it on something they wouldn’t ordinarily purchase themselves or for an extra special treat. This method of reward can serve as a reminder to the employee that their employer values their contribution and is ultimately more meaningful and motivational.

Cash alternatives can be in a variety of formats from experience and travel related rewards to vouchers and additional annual leave. A popular choice are prepaid cards. These give the flexibility to either spend the pre-loaded amount, or bank it and add future rewards until such point when they choose to redeem it. This allows employees to save any smaller rewards and put them towards a bigger purchase. These can be sent digitally with a message to the recipient, adding a personal touch to the reward.

Peer to peer recognition

Peer to peer recognition is a great way to build or reinforce a culture where employees feel valued by their colleagues. It creates team spirit and strengthens co-worker relationships, in turn, boosting productivity and employee wellbeing. Studies have proven that employees who are empowered to recognise their peers were twice as likely to identify themselves as engaged.

The way in which you offer peer to peer recognition can range from simple e-cards to physical or monetary rewards, or even a combination of all three. Employee nomination awards that run monthly or quarterly are a great way to encourage staff to think about their peers and equally motivate themselves to get nominated.

Introducing a Wall of Fame, where employees can see awards or nominations received throughout the organisation, is another way of enabling people to congratulate their peers and encourage employees to get their own names on the board.

Peer to peer recognition not only creates a positive work environment but also has a positive impact on customer satisfaction and financial results.

Being an employer of choice

Having the ‘best offer’ on the table to secure new talent and equally to retain existing employees is always a balancing act however, with UK employment figures at an all-time high, businesses are facing stiff competition and an increasing challenge to become an employer of choice.

Job satisfaction is no longer about salary alone, but the complete package. More and more businesses are implementing an employee benefits programme with reward and recognition playing a key role. In a recent study, 68 per cent of the companies surveyed said their employee recognition programme positively impacted their employee retention, highlighting how beneficial a successful programme can be to a business.

A business’ most important asset is its people. Employers can set themselves apart from the competition and connect with their people by providing an employee benefits programme that delivers not only a well-rounded reward and recognition offering but a programme that focuses on their wellbeing inside and outside of the workplace.

Choosing the right provider

With a plethora of benefits providers in the market, it is paramount that businesses choose the right one, ensuring they can meet their unique needs and objectives.

Personal Group deliver solutions to help UK businesses increase employee engagement and boost productivity. Our industry leading, fully customisable online and app-based solution – Hapi, allows businesses to take a holistic view of their wellbeing and benefits offering; connecting all aspects of mental, physical and financial wellbeing with the benefits, communication and engagement tools needed to create an environment for employees to thrive and succeed.

The Employee Engagement Executives (EEEs) are what sets Personal Group apart. These specialists deliver increased engagement within employee populations that are typically difficult to reach and / or engage. Market leading participation rates of over 80 per cent are achieved through a series of activities that culminate in a face-to-face benefits presentation.

Personal Group are able to take this approach due to our simple, easy to understand insurance plans, helping protect workers against the unexpected, employers to avoid presenteeism and ultimately to maintain a happy, healthy work environment.

For more information on how Personal Group can become your partner of choice, visit, call 01908 605 000 or email