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The benefits of rewarding service

Annual recognition programs promote core organizational values to create a culture that can increase employee engagement.

Creating programs that bolster employee engagement is a challenging endeavor, but it can be worth the effort. Studies have shown that engaged workers are more productive, more innovative and more likely to seek new opportunities to enhance their skills. A study by Forum found that improving levels of engagement among staff members can increase revenue by as much as 23 percent.

Forbes reported that employee recognition is one of the keys to building motivated and engaged staff. Top performers can be publicly recognized for their accomplishments during annual events. These opportunities to promote core organizational values help create a strong, focused culture that can increase employee engagement. A study by Deloitte found that recognition was one of the most important factors in creating a robust company culture. By rewarding those who best exemplify their core principles, firms are encouraging additional participation by all employees in the future, particularly if presentations are made before friends and co-workers.

Make rewards personal
A strong employee recognition program highlights the achievements, sacrifice and efforts of workers through a special presentation. This helps draw attention to awards and adds to their value. Employees are singled out because they exemplify the specific qualities businesses want to promote in their culture, and public recognition will help to solidify these principles on an organization-wide scale.

Companies that take the time to acknowledge the hard work of a few key individuals should ensure ceremonies are personalized and unique. Mentioning each employee's interests, personal life and activities outside of the workplace makes the presentation more relatable and shows respect for workers.

Tax advantages
Annual events and employee rewards are not only extremely valuable, but are also more affordable than many think. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration notes that companies get tax advantages by providing awards as part of incentive programs. These tax breaks have helped dramatically reduce workplace accidents by creating a strong focus on safe practices. Additionally, other tax advantages are available with length-of-service awards or special achievements if they meet IRS qualifications. Companies may be able to deduct up to $1,600 per person for the cost of employee achievement awards, as long as the rewards are reasonable and relate to services performed.

Compensation can be made in cash or with property. Tangible rewards can be a powerful motivator for employees, as monetary bonuses are usually forgotten within a few short weeks as recipients use the funds to pay routine bills and expenses. Presenting staff with personalized awards can provide continuous reminders of their accomplishments. Every time they see or use the merchandise, they will appreciate the gestures their companies made on their behalf, which can increase engagement in the long run.

Additional benefits
Reward presentations can become a cornerstone of companies' employee recognition programs by providing the means to acknowledge special milestones. Employees who have been with an organization for 10, 15 or even 20 years have contributed a lot of value to the company. The body of knowledge and skills such workers possess represent a large portion of the institutional knowledge of the workforce. Making sure that all employees understand how these individuals have contributed to a firm's success helps workers at all levels appreciate their own value.

For younger workers, the special recognition that veterans receive is a good indicator of how they will be treated during their careers. Taking the time to acknowledge specific milestones of older workers can send a powerful message to those just starting out.

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