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Companies looking to refresh their employee reward programs

Management programs occasionally need to be refreshed to reinvigorate staff members. Small changes to how initiatives are run can boost participation and motivation among employees.

Management programs occasionally need to be refreshed to reinvigorate staff members. Small changes to how initiatives are run can boost participation and motivation among employees.

This is one reason why nearly half of U.S. companies are considering making changes to their employee reward programs. A survey by Towers Watson found that 45 percent of businesses may reorganize their reward initiatives in light of recent health care reform. Rising insurance costs are forcing organizations to consider new ways to help keep employees healthy, and reward and recognition programs are being increasingly tied to wellness objectives. Healthcare reform provisions related to the Affordable Care Act will go into effect in 2014, which will give greater flexibility to companies using incentives to encourage preventative healthcare. Corporate wellness programs inspire employees to eat better, quit smoking and exercise regularly to see benefits such as lower insurance premiums and rewards from their companies.

"Some employers are adopting a wait-and-see approach, but others are considering changing their total rewards strategy or evaluating their mix of rewards," said Laura Sejen, global head of rewards at Towers Watson. "And in rethinking the total rewards mix, companies are putting a range of options on the table to keep costs down and avoid triggering the excise tax in 2018."

Offer different rewards to reach new employees
Reward programs motivate workers to change their behavior, but occasionally they need to be refreshed to deliver better results. Taking the time to review initiatives can highlight ways to make them more effective, such as altering how performance is measured or offering a different type of reward. The News-Press Now reported that various types of employees are often motivated by different rewards. Some seek rewards of high monetary or trophy value and these staff members often take pride in being able to show off their accomplishments. Others want a more flexible work schedule or are looking for opportunities to take on more responsibility. Altering programs to include various types of rewards could increase their appeal to new groups of workers, which expands the programs reach and help improve results.

Continually offering monetary bonuses or the same type of rewards may cause staff members to lose interest in reward programs. Another effective strategy is to continually provide employees with a range of rewards options. This creates flexibility within programs that can boost participation but also keeps administrative costs down as rewards are only purchased after they are chosen.

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