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Employees prefer short-term, immediate rewards

Like many people, it seems that workers want their just desserts right away, by choosing employee rewards and recognition programs that provide immediate gratification over those that stress the long-term.

Like many people, it seems that workers want their just desserts right away, by choosing employee rewards and recognition programs that provide immediate gratification over those that stress the long-term.

A recent study from Mercer surveyed 10,400 workers worldwide and found that in seven of the 10 markets researched, staff members cited time off among their top three employee incentive choices. Six of the 10 markets listed health-related benefits in their top three.

Firms said they would like to give their workers a bigger role in the determining of rewards. However, companies also noted difficulty in developing initiatives that balance short- and long-term benefits.

"Employees valuing more time off … in the current stress-filled economic environment may be understandable," said Dave Rahill, president of Mercer's Health & Benefits business. "This challenge puts even more pressure on employers to deeply understand and communicate the value of various benefits to their employees so they can make smart choices."

Companies can approach these decisions through multiple avenues, including contracting with professionals, speaking with workers and reviewing budgetary allowances.

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