If you’re a business owner you’ve probably wondered how to make your employees more productive, at one point or another. The answer seems obvious: make your people happy.

Research shows that disengaged employees cost money. According to a study by The Engagement Institute, unhappy employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion in lost revenue, every year. But on the other hand, highly engaged employees were 21% more profitable. And teams that scored in the top 20% in terms of engagement showed 41% less absenteeism and a 59% reduction in turnover. These results are stunning. So how can your business earn them?

By giving employees what they want. Your employees want to be reminded of the meaning behind their work. They want you to acknowledge how they’re making a difference. By giving values-based recognition you demonstrate how their work furthers your company’s goals, which creates a sense of purpose. And by understanding that work must be meaningful and rewarding, upper management shows that they have empathy for all members of the organization, which is vital for making employees feel valued and empowered.

Finally, your people want clearly outlined expectations and regular feedback. And there’s no better form of positive feedback than awarding customized, branded products that are badges of honor. So give them what they want. It will make employees happy in another important way—by making them feel heard.

The Right Incentive Program Boosts Productivity

By now you may be wondering how you can possibly deliver on so many employee expectations. The answer is to incentivize, recognize, and reward employees. This shows how much you value your people and the work they do, which makes a career at your company more fulfilling. According to a study from the Incentive Research Foundation, an incentive program that fulfills all of your employees’ achievement needs can raise performance by as much as 25% to 44%. And that’s a tremendous jump!

But in order for your incentive program to work, you must include everyone. Many companies only reward the top 5% of their employees. This makes the other 95% feel excluded and forgotten. Talk about demoralizing! So make sure your incentive and reward program leaves no one behind. How can you afford to include everyone? With an Inproma incentive program tailored to fit your budget.

Incentive Programs Yield Real Benefits

A well-designed incentive program is an investment that adds value to your business. It’s an investment in your workforce like any other, such as education or wellness programs. A good incentive program creates happier employees who report higher rates of job satisfaction. And it creates the positive corporate culture that’s central to engagement.

Happy employees are less vulnerable to stress, which causes bad health. They endorse your company on employment websites and tell people your business is a great place to work. They provide great word of mouth that helps you recruit the best talent and improves your brand’s reputation in the community. And a satisfied workforce yields the best benefits of all: lowered rates of turnover and absenteeism, and greater job performance and productivity.

How to Build an Incentive Plan That Works

Not all incentive plans are the same, and if you want to know how to make your employees more productive, you’ll need to invest in the right one. An effective incentive plan will make it easy for you to do three key things. 

  1. Incentivize: Give your people a goal to work toward. Incentivizing employees motivates them to reach the achievements you’ve laid out for them. It also enables you to judge progress toward specific goals using performance metrics and see a program’s ROI written in its results. 
  2. Recognize: Identify successful employees and acknowledge their contribution before the entire organization. Recognition should serve as a badge of honor that wins respect from colleagues. You should recognize people on a regular basis and allow individuals to win as many times as their performance merits. This will deepen employee engagement and create fun, healthy competition.
  3. Reward: Imagine awarding a one-of-a-kind branded jacket that’s a symbol of success, or giving employees the ability to choose their own reward through an online store. Rewards need to be something good that your people will enjoy. So give them enjoyable rewards that make them feel truly special.

An incentive plan built upon these three key features has the power to raise morale and transform the work environment. Here are more strategies your incentive plan can include as you further learn how to make your employees more productive.

  • Peer recognition: You can customize your incentive plan however you want, but it should make peer recognition possible. One way to do this is to set up a graduated achievement system, which allows people to win increasingly higher tiers of recognition, prestige, and rewards. Earning the highest recognition tiers should offer exclusive rewards, which inspire other employees to win them. This can help raise performance across the board as all employees work to earn the highest prestige of their peers. 
  • Recognition on social media and mobile access: You can help spread peer recognition by announcing employee success on social media. This allows employees to like and share success stories and leave encouraging comments. Enabling employees to access your incentive program through their mobile devices adds additional convenience, enabling them to browse the program from anywhere. 
  • Personalized rewards: Brand-name apparel is an excellent reward because it can be personalized. Choose an incentive program that enables employees to choose the details of their gear or customize it yourself to create unique, meaningful rewards.
  • A company store: Employees love having their voices are heard, and they love being given choice. Make winning convenient by enabling employees to choose their own rewards through an online company store. This takes the guesswork out of selecting a reward for a specific employee and makes the reward more satisfying.
  • High-value brand-name rewards: Invest in quality, brand-name rewards and they’ll be well-received by your employees. Valuable awards impress the significance of an achievement upon employees, reminding them of how important they are to your organization. And in the long run, the investment you make will more than grant you worthy returns in the form of less turnover and the many costs that come with it. 
  • Milestone rewards: One of the most traditional forms of professional recognition are milestone rewards given for years of service. They’re very effective for encouraging long-term retention. And they can be used more frequently than every five or ten years, too. You can give them at six-month and yearly marks, or award them to employees who do not have 401(k)s or pensions. While they do not replace retirement plans, they can go a long way in encouraging retention.
  • Just-for-fun giveaways: Incentives and rewards don’t always have to be expensive or occasional. You can always surprise employees with smaller, frequent rewards just to brighten their day. These giveaways relieve stress and keep the atmosphere in the workplace light. This can help to lessen tense workplaces as fun prizes, such as Legos®, provide stress relief.

Contact Inproma Now

If you’re looking for a way to make your employees more productive, let Inproma help. We can identify what best motivates your team and design an incentive program that will make your employees love coming to work. Our customized, branded products are badges of honor that your employees will want to work harder to obtain. They raise your workforce’s productivity and morale, leading to better products, service and a more successful brand. To get started, contact us today.

Inproma’s custom employee incentive programs get results. From design to fulfillment, we can handle all the behind-the-scenes requirements. If your employee benefits aren’t producing the results you need, or your current incentive program isn’t getting anywhere, let’s talk.

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