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Still think employee recognition and rewards programs are for the birds?

Employees are often not all that difficult to please and engage, yet many companies fail to maximize morale, culture and retention at their firms in the modern private sector.

Employees are often not all that difficult to please and engage, yet many companies fail to maximize morale, culture and retention at their firms in the modern private sector. Now that there has been plenty of evidence to indicate that a lack of engagement can be toxic to a company's financial and operational performances, it is unclear why businesses have not become a bit more aggressive in their pursuit of strategies that will boost staff sentiments. 

In many instances, a well-managed employee recognition and rewards program can be one of the only things needed to take a decently engaged staff and turn it into a rich workforce culture. Before investing in these programs, though, business leaders ought to understand exactly how powerful recognition and rewards can be, identifying the specific benefits that will be felt by the company itself upon deployment.

A unique case study
Pizza Marketplace recently reported that one Texas-based restaurant chain saw a truly unbelievable turnaround in its sales performances after launching an advanced recognition and incentive program for its employees. According to the news provider, this very same chain was forced to contract its operations significantly only a year ago to the tune of 20 fewer stores at the beginning of 2014 than the end of 2013.

It is important to note that while this is a restaurant business, virtually any type of company can enjoy significantly positive impacts to their bottom line with the right strategies in place. The source interviewed Andrew Gamm, the brand director of Pizza Patron.

"We launched our MERO MERO (best of the best) employee incentive program at the beginning of 2014," Gamm told Pizza Marketplace. "We want to create a culture inside our company that says 'if you work hard, you will get noticed.' We want our team members to know that there are career opportunities available that can take them from making dough in the kitchen, to running their very own restaurant. Motivated and happy employees always lead to better customer experiences and ultimately more sales."

The news provider went on to explain that although this recognition and incentive program is relatively affordable and simplistic, it has positively impacted on the company's financial performances. 

"When we looked at the condition of our business, we knew that we would be much healthier if we could eliminate the substandard stores from the system," Gamm continued, according to the source. "The result of our strategy to close has exceeded our expectations with total sales up 6 percent and comp sales up nearly 12 percent for the first half of 2014."

Sharing the same advantages
Businesses in other industries can take a similarly simple approach to recognition, rewards and incentive programs while still capturing the advantages seen by this pizza restaurant chain. Entrepreneurs might actually be a bit more interested in these types of programs, or complex ones managed by a professional service provider, to reduce strain on supervisors and leadership. 

Small Biz Trends recently gave a few suggestions to pique interest among corporate leaders and entrepreneurs in terms of bonus programs, which are a popular approach to incentives. According to the source, one approach is to give spot bonuses, which can be distributed when projects are completed, an employee saves the day or the staff exceeds expectations by way of performance. 

The most important matter to remember is that these strategies should be carefully and expertly aligned with the culture, vision and objectives of each given business for optimal results. A recognition and rewards program provider can help strike the right chord in this respect. 

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