An online search for the phrase “remote company culture” delivers a wide range of opinions on how organizations should engage employees as they weigh returning to the office against remaining virtual. Regardless of where the work happens, organizations need sure-fire ways to encourage employees to stay with the company for longer periods. Yet recent research suggests a positive workplace culture is no longer enough to support employee retention. The missing ingredient: employee recognition.
A 2022 InComm InCentives survey of more than 1,200 full-time workers in the U.S. found that employees feel less appreciated and connected to their teams working remotely. Thankfully, there is an opportunity for remote employers to stand out from other workplaces, as the survey’s results reveal how a monetary-based incentive program may reduce costly turnover by delivering consistent recognition.
Positive Workplace Cultures Alone Are Not Enough
Employers juggled morale and productivity after the sudden shift to remote work in 2020, and many successfully translated their workplace culture to virtual settings – 80% of surveyed employees say they currently have a positive company culture. Despite that encouraging trend, almost half of employees are considering or actively looking for a new job. The factors driving the decision to seek a new job vary on an individual basis, but there are indications that a lack of recognition is having a greater impact on employees.
Only 13% of employees feel recognized by their executive team. This underappreciation extends down the ladder, with 59% of surveyed employees feeling less appreciated and connected to their remote teams. Left unchecked, a general lack of recognition and appreciation can lead to departures, as 39% of employees cited a lack of appreciation as a reason to look for a new job.
Many employers rightfully focus on compensation, benefits and work-life balance in attracting new team members, but recognition is growing in importance as 21% of surveyed employees find recognition from co-workers and managers equal to or more important than salary considerations.
Organizations must act now to reverse these trends by showing their employees that they see and appreciate their hard work on a regular basis. Implementing an incentive program is an effective way to start, but employers must first understand what kinds of rewards resonate with employees so that their efforts do not go to waste.
Employees Seek Monetary-Based Rewards
Employee appreciation begins when organizations recognize team members for their performance. Recognition can take many forms, from words of praise to privileges like extra vacation days. However, employees are quite clear on the rewards they most favor. Gift cards and monetary bonuses ranked as the top two types of recognition employees prefer to receive from their companies.
This preference for gift cards and monetary bonuses makes sense when considering the true value of such rewards. They provide flexibility, enabling employees to spend rewards on items or experiences that are meaningful to them. Additionally, gift cards can be delivered physically or digitally, which means organizations can easily disburse them across in-office and virtual workplaces. In short, monetary-based rewards are an effective way to ensure that a performance incentive will be appreciated by as many employees as possible.
Despite the inherent value of monetary-based rewards, many organizations fail to take advantage of their popularity. About two out of five employees (42%) say their workplace does not offer a monetary or gift card recognition program. This gap presents a considerable opportunity for employers to stand out from the competition and show team members that they truly appreciate their contributions. The reasons why companies do not offer monetary-based incentives can range from cost concerns to doubts over the time and resources necessary to run such a program. Managing a monetary-based incentive program may seem complex, but with the right partner, organizations can streamline implementation.
Customized, Monetary-Based Employee Incentives
Employees clearly favor gift cards and monetary bonuses, and there are several ways that organizations can offer them as incentives. Rather than limiting themselves to certain kinds of gift cards that may only appeal to a narrow segment of the workforce, organizations should consider partnering with payments technology experts that have access to a broad network of gift card brands. Such a partner can assist a company in creating a customized incentives program that is tailored to its operational needs. Some such partners even have the ability to allow people to add a personal message in a physical or digital card with the incentive, allowing even more customization and an added personal touch.
With the right mix of monetary-based rewards, employers can more effectively recognize employee performance and tangibly show team members that they are valued assets to the company. The more employees feel appreciated through consistent and meaningful recognition, the more likely they will stay with an organization to strengthen its workplace culture and increase workforce retention.