Building Corporate Rewards Schemes for the Next Generation of Employees

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Corporate rewards schemes have traditionally been about the "old" economy, rewarding the employee base to hit pre-determined targets. But now, with digital at the front and centre of everything we do, there's a clear opportunity to rethink what corporate rewards are.

If you're looking to find innovative and effective employee reward ideas, then it's time to think outside the box. At Ovation Incentives, we are redefining how companies can engage their employees with new and exciting reward schemes. We like to call ourselves a 'one stop' rewards shop that offers fully customised employee rewards - all under one roof. You see, unlike other companies, we understand that it's not just about the great prizes; it's about providing real value for money through our award-winning Customer Engagement programmes.

Corporate rewards schemes can be a powerful motivator for employees; however, there is often a generational gap between the decision-makers who think of bonuses and perks and millennials who have never experienced such schemes. This article explains how companies can structure and design their employee reward schemes to appeal to the modern workforce.

Attracting, Retaining and Developing Your Future Workforce

Corporate rewards are companies rewarding employees with benefits, bonuses, perks and other incentives. Furthermore, it is vital to establish an outstanding corporate rewards program that will help attract the best talent, retain them and contribute to their development. Companies must differentiate themselves by offering a unique employee experience in today's competitive business environment. This includes providing benefits and rewards that are attractive to millennials, the most sought-after generation of employees.

A recent report highlights how events (COVID pandemic) have accelerated radical changes in the way people work and the need for flexibility. It also notes that employers are increasingly aware of the benefits of supporting their employees through flexible working arrangements and more excellent work/life balance.

As a result of the pandemic, over 46% of companies have implemented a flexible working scheme, with most having access to technology allowing them to work remotely, while 66% offer flexi-time. The growth in corporate rewards schemes is also highlighted, with many companies now offering employees a range of benefits, including memorable incentive travel opportunities, gym memberships and healthcare benefits.

The study found that a third of employers have increased their investment in employee rewards over the past year, while only 10% have cut back on spending. This demonstrates that businesses are serious about attracting and retaining top talent by offering attractive incentives.

The next generation of employees will be digital natives and have higher technology and digital skills competencies than any previous generation. In what is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution: reshaping every aspect of the business from operations and supply chain management to customer service and sales, transforming customer experiences by offering tailor-made products and services through blockchains, savvy cyber security prowess among other upgrades.

Creating A Successful Corporate Rewards Program

To create a successful corporate rewards program, it is necessary to clarify what ‘successful’ looks like. The key is to plan it with a consistent strategy so that the end result is not based on random activities and events but rather on achievements and growth in areas that are important for your company. 

They can be perceived through:

  • Getting consistent positive feedback from employees during surveys.
  • High staff retention rates and low employee turnover.
  • High morale among employees

A successful employee reward program considers the changing needs, wants and expectations of employees. The modern workforce is increasingly populated by millennials who are used to participating in retail rewards programs via their phones. This is a generation that expects to have instant access to customer service and expects their employer to deliver on its commitments. In their best interest, they get all these rewards, creating a happy, healthy environment.

Employers can display corporate social responsibility through the below key points.

Present a Strong and Positive Corporate Culture

Today's managers must consider keeping employees engaged and motivated by identifying ways to incentivise them. Incentive schemes are a simple way to encourage employees through motivation and are particularly suited to millennial workers.

Establish Helpful Environmental Policies

Next-generation of workers has very different expectations of their employers. They want to work for organisations with values that align with theirs, let alone demonstrate social responsibility. Therefore, the drive for profit must be balanced with social responsibility, and the reward programs of any corporate should reflect this.

Show Staff They are Valued

A rewards program is a great way to show staff they are valued and how the corporate culture can support their individual needs. A rewards scheme can be used more effectively to engage younger workers who need more than simple financial rewards to keep them motivated, engaged and loyal. The combination of financial rewards and recognition and other non-financial incentives can be highly effective.

Promote Wellbeing in a Happy, Healthy Work Environment

More companies are choosing to offer corporate rewards schemes to recognise the importance of a healthy work/life balance and its appeal to younger workers. Offering employees incentives such as vouchers and gift cards means they can choose what they want and when they want it. Your company will also be perceived as community-minded due to your investment in local community initiatives and environmentally friendly policies.

Offer Incentives they Actually Want

From millennials to Gen Ze’s, organisations are tasked with understanding the reward preferences of their employees. New generations have had different life experiences shaping their psychology, priorities, and belief systems. This is especially true of millennials who came straight out of college into the larger workforce and are now competing for jobs with other generations. 

As organisations seek out new talent and attempt to build loyalty in this unpredictable economy, rewards programs must support the values and desires of the next generation. These include looking for ways to reward employees for their performance and ensuring that employees value the rewards by hearing them out.

Provide Enjoyable and Meaningful Experiences

Corporate rewards systems have their place, but they're often geared towards the older generation of motivated employees. However, a younger workforce is more likely to be motivated by meaningful experiences than by acquiring new things. In fact, a recent study found that millennials are not only more likely to prefer "experiences" over "possessions," but they're also willing to pay more for them.

Creating a rewards program that gives your younger employees the experiences they want and need will help them feel like an essential and valued part of your company.

Offer Memorable Travel Incentives

Even though travel is a powerful motivator for younger generations, it remains the top reward choice for corporate reward schemes. They are likely to crave experiences over items, and travel will fit this lot perfectly. These employees want frequent, meaningful rewards that reflect their interests and values, not just cash or company swag.

In Summary

Next-generation corporate rewards programs need to address the changing needs of younger employees. The main aim of these programs is to help companies retain their best talent instead of simply attracting it. To do so, employee engagement should be one of the main objectives of your reward program.

Ovation Incentives offers bespoke corporate rewards schemes. The rewards schemes can be customised following your business requirements and presented as a sustainable idea to motivate employees. Book a demo with our experts, and they will guide you further on how you can give your employees incentives without incurring additional costs to your company.