Employee Retention Tactics, Part 2: The Power of Personalization in Employee Rewards

Employee Retention Tactics: The Power of Personalization in Employee Rewards


Last week in my series on employee retention tactics I covered whether the ideal compensation package actually exists. This week, I’m focusing on the types of meaningful rewards employers can offer their employees.

Have you ever thought about what a simple “thank you” or “great job!” can do to motivate your colleagues, employees, and others within your organization? Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make someone feel appreciated and believe that the work they are doing is important and valuable to the organization.
According to a recent article by Kathleen Kim for Inc.com titled the Power of Praise, companies that are able to successfully promote and foster employee recognition are 12x more likely to produce strong business results versus those that do not have sound employee recognition strategies in place.

How Do You Encourage and Reward Your Employees in the Workplace?

In addition to expressing verbal forms of gratitude, which can go a long way, it’s also nice for employees to be recognized and rewarded in a more formal way for their major achievements and overall performance. When determining how to reward an employee, it’s important to remember that each of us is unique and values different types of rewards; thus a standard reward may not cut it.
The most traditional rewards have their pros and cons.

  • Standard Bonus: The safest and most common method for rewarding employees. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice to see those additional funds at the end of the day, however this feature may not differentiate your organization from any other nor would it help the employee develop stronger levels of loyalty and affinity to the company.
  • Collective Recognition: Others may choose to reward a team versus individuals by using a collective recognition model — for example, taking a group out for dinner to a nice restaurant of their choice. Again, this may not always be the most desired option for everyone on the team.

If you are planning to reward your employees monetarily, then you might consider putting the amount towards a different type of incentive that may have a broader and more lasting effect.
At the end of the day, putting in a bit more effort in learning about your employees’ interests and then rewarding them accordingly may pay off more than you expect. By providing personalized rewards for your employees, chances are they will remember the effort and experience far more than simply the number of extra dollars that were added to their bank accounts.

Ways to Personalize Employee Rewards

Although there are numerous ideas that come to mind, I want to share two which might specifically provide some inspiration.

Points-Based Customized Rewards

A few years ago, while working for a Professional Services firm who had partnered with Achievers.com (formerly I Love Rewards), I was told that I could earn points during the year for exceptional performance and teamwork, which could then be redeemed for gifts of my choice  (e.g., brand name accessories and handbags, sound systems, spa treatments, thrilling experiences, and many more).
I could not believe my eyes when observing all the options that were available on the website after choosing to redeem the points I had earned. Although I received other types of rewards for my efforts during my time with the company, including many dinners and monetary compensation, this to me was one of my most memorable reward experiences, especially considering that I still make good use of the items I redeemed!

Personalized Experiences

By taking the time to learn about what your employees love to do outside of work and/or what their interests are you can better determine the type of reward to offer them.
For example, some companies have chosen to reward top-performing employees with customized shopping experiences with a personal fashion consultant. Others have opted to provide employees with experiential rewards that can include hot air ballooning, skiing, white water rafting, concerts, shows etc. Some have even offered customized getaway packages for their employees and significant others.
As outlined above, employers have many non-traditional reward options they can explore and offer to employees if they wish to provide them with non-monetary forms of compensation.
You can choose to reward your employees in any manner, but in my opinion, nothing beats taking the time to understand their interests and reward them accordingly. That can go an incredibly long way toward making employees feel that they are a valuable part of the organization and that their contributions are being recognized in a meaningful way.

What types of non-traditional and/or personalized employee rewards have you offered or received?


Salima Ladha
Salima Ladha
Head of People Operations

Salima Ladha is the Head of People Operations at Signpost, a cloud-based marketing software that gives local businesses the power to effortlessly build and manage customer relationships. She previously recruited top talent to to OpenView and our Portfolio Companies.
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