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More Than a Round of Applause for your Employees

It’s time to think about how to re-engage and reignite your employees as they come back to the office for work, because, according to the Prudential Pulse of the American Worker Survey, 43% report their choice to stay at their current jobs depends on how employers maneuver reentry. Incentive programs that reward and recognize employees for their contributions are a great start. As you develop appropriate incentives, remember that some workers are hesitant to return to the office due to enjoying remote work and/or public health safety concerns. You should consider, at least short-term, offering flex-hours or a hybrid work structure to accommodate changes in family commitments and public health fears. In a Paychex survey, employees reported team morale dropped from ⅔ to less than ½ due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time for HR to modify incentive programs to balance employees’ new wants, improve morale, and reduce unemployment and job jumping. Employee incentive programs should support transformational experiences and help professionals to become their best selves. 


What do your employees want for incentives? Ask them directly, then modify the perks accordingly. Remember, it is not a “one-size-fits-all” answer, by being flexible and innovative, you will retain happy and productive employees. While cost may seem prohibitive, research shows successful incentive programs result in an increase in weekly profits. “The Harvard Business Review reports that 40% of employees would put more energy into their work if they were recognized more.” Specifically, effective safety incentive programs should pay for themselves, realizing savings on compensation insurance anywhere from $2 to $10 on every dollar spent. As you’re developing an incentive program, don’t forget about traditional incentives: generate open communication between managers and employees, send hand written recognition notes, pay for lunches, create social media recognition posts, maintain a positive company culture, and lead relationship building experiences (see “Summer Outings” blog for ideas). Make the workplace fun again, while increasing productivity.