<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=416020905483495&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

While generous benefits and steady financial support are important, people yearn to be valued and appreciated in the workplace. Sadly, many employees find a simple “thank you” to be lacking from their day-to-day work. 

In recent days of burnout with the looming reality of “The War for Talent” employees are leaving their jobs while many are speaking up about craving recognition and appreciation in their roles. Forward-thinking organizations understand how managing rewards is crucial to retaining employees, and many departments are focusing on providing more recognition to their employees through the use of frequent and desirable rewards and benefits.

66% of HR leaders say their company is currently hiring. Teams all over the country are also facing the need to not only reduce their administration costs, but also reduce the time and resources required by HR teams. 

Traditional award systems lack efficiency

efficiency conceptIn the past, a free lunch or round of coffees for the department may have worked.

Today, however,  vague and overarching rewards -- while well-intended, simply don’t work.

But employees now seek more specific rewards featuring flexibility, fairer pay or another form of meaningful recognition rather than a trophy or gift.

Although so many companies desire to create a culture of recognition to celebrate achievements, traditional methods no longer work. HR departments struggle to find the perfect reward system; one that provides each employee with a tailored reward experience and also streamlines and simplifies tracking, budgeting and reporting. So, how can employers reimagine the reward experience while also reducing administrative burden? 

1. Count on scheduling awards
2. Be immediate with rewards
3. Automating reward reminders
4. Award in bulk
5. Offer choice of reward

1. Count on scheduling awards

Have you failed to acknowledge employee work anniversaries, birthdays or tenures until it was too late? Doing so decreases the impact of the recognition moment and leaves employees feeling unseen.

award schedulingThrough the use of Scheduled Recognition, you’ll never miss a milestone moment or holiday bonus, which ensures consistency across departments and eliminates any lateness or forgetfulness. By putting a system in place that readily schedules awards and plans ahead of any anniversaries, birthdays, or tenures, you can be rest assured the right moment is recognized with the right reward.

Plus with custom tiles on the platform homepage, others in the business can see birthdays (only if an employee wants them to, of course) and continue the celebration on the company-wide, social recognition wall.

2. Be immediate with rewards

A reward should always be memorable, personal and delivered as close as possible to the time of the success, strengthening the connection between HR, the employee's action and the company’s appreciation of their hard work.

In 2020, Reward Gateway asked people what the optimal redemption experience would entail, and we found that the following aspects are the most important to consider:

Choice in reward
Transparency in costs
Personalization of reward choices
Immediacy

InstantAwards™ is a monetary recognition tool that allows you to reward employees in a relevant and timely way. The focus is on personalizing the experience of receiving an award, making the reward interesting and suited to each individual. Organizations can choose to have different tiers for the awards, and even set up budgets for managers throughout the company – helping the delivery of reward be even more immediate and transparent.

In addition to InstantAwards™, our “On the Spot” recognition feature empowers managers to present in-person recognition (either monetary or non-monetary) to frontline employees – making it easier to shine a spotlight on hard work in the moment. With the employee recognition platform, employers can generate unique award codes that can be printed on individual thank you cards, certificates or another medium of their choice.

Employees can then choose to redeem all awards from hundreds of e-Gift cards, directly from Amazon or from their company’s custom awards offerings – giving employers greater oversight and control over the entire process, from creation to budgeting to redemption.

3. Automating reward reminders

While rewards may be scheduled, the messages that accompany them may be automated as well, reducing the burden of reward management that so many HR teams may find cumbersome. 

With Reward Gateway’s employee reward platform, managers are notified of each upcoming reward and can further add to the message, including a personal touch to humanize the recognition.

Generic_HappyRGAnniversary
As an example, if a company decides that a manager will take an employee out to lunch on their five-year anniversary, a built-in reminder can be added to the manager’s calendar that will notify them to plan for a customized reward message. They can then reach out to the employee based on their schedule and set up a time for lunch.

Regardless of whether messages – such as welcome day messages to new employees – may be automated, employees will welcome the immediacy of the message.

4. Award in bulk

Remember when mailing out physical copies of gift cards was the way to hand out rewards? This was costly and time-consuming. 

Whereas rewards used to be manually organized in spreadsheets and calendars, today there’s great potential for automation – something that HR teams have been waiting for. To eliminate the burden of manual awarding, this can be done on a set schedule or time. But rewards can also be handled more quickly and efficiently through bulking awards.

Here at RG, we understand that when it comes to sending awards en masse to your people, it works best (and makes the biggest impact) when the process is swift and as seamless as possible.

Our platform enables HR leaders to skip the “middleman” in the file upload process and save precious time, while making sure all employees receive their awards in a timely manner. Employers can set as many awards on their programs as they like and incorporate ideas from their employees – especially around the end of the year. 

Some common ones we’ve seen are for year-end bonuses, holiday gifts and boosting morale during tough times.

5. Offer choice of reward

Although a general reward is well-intended, it doesn’t necessarily work for every employee as it can fail to offer personalization and specific recognition. Employees seek flexibility and choice when it comes to redeeming a reward, and the idea of choice is becoming more popular. 

reward marketplace

The Reward Gateway Marketplace brings employees the ultimate choice in how they redeem their rewards, through experiences, travel, fashion and more. Our Marketplace offers an extensive selection of categories of rewards in an easy-to-use hub that offers hundreds of different eCards, a direct integration with Amazon’s catalog and Prime shipping options and the ability to donate rewards to charity.

Taking it one step further, our custom awards allow you to create and offer one-of-a-kind rewards for memorable and meaningful moments. Imagine exclusive one-of-a-kind company awards such as lunch with the CEO or additional paid days off. The possibilities are endless – you can even involve your employees and ask for their opinions on what awards to create.

examples of rewards

Offering your people the power of choice also benefits HR teams. Around 60% of candidates surveyed by Glassdoor said that benefits and rewards are factors that are strongly considered when accepting a job offer. However, what motivates one employee may not always motivate another.

Personalization plays an important role in recruiting talented candidates and staying relevant with a young workforce with personalized and unique offerings.


Even if you start tackling just one of these five ways to reduce your administrative burden, you’ll be on the path to delivering a better experience (and a better reward system) for your people. 

When you focus on evolving the methods of reward and recognition to meet the expectations for your modern workforce, you’ll start moving the needle on employee engagement. You’ll also stand out as an employer of choice, helping to attract and retain top talent in your industry in the War for Talent.

If you’d like to learn more about how to make your teams’ lives easier by reducing the administrative burden that can come with manual reward and recognition, get in touch with us.

Talk to an Engagement Consultant »

Lauren Chiavaroli

Lauren Chiavaroli is a Product Manager at Reward Gateway, focusing on employee surveys, communications and reward and recognition. She has two dogs of her own but has fostered 12 so far.

Product Manager

Subscribe to our blog

Subscribe to our Blog Updates!

Receive our most popular articles in your inbox every other week for employee engagement best practice and inspiration