“Old school” rewards programs hold HR back

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Employers who rely on an outdated rewards program will see little return on investment and won’t inspire their employees – that’s the warning from one CEO, who’s an expert in the field.

“When it comes to recognition programs, the basis of human nature is this primary consideration – people want to be appreciated,” says Rick Patrick, CEO of Beyond Boardrooms.

“There may be vast differences as to the personalities of your personnel but appealing to the one constant – appreciation – will beget better response, engagement and results from your employees,” he insists.

While the notion seems fairly straight forward, Patrick – who heads up one of Canada’s leading rewards and recognition platforms – says many employers are still stuck in a traditional rut.

“One of the biggest problems that I’ve found is a lot of people are still very stuck in the old school thought processing,” he told HRM. “Their rewards program recognizes years of service but the only reason they do it that way is because they’ve always done it that way,” he explains.

It’s a change-averse approach that Patrick says is getting employers nowhere.

“When it’s a time factor only, it’s really not a very effective tool at all,” he warns. “It’s nice and I wouldn’t say don’t do it but what I would say is – as far as engagement and incentive – don’t count on it.”

According to Patrick, employers are now acutely aware of the workforce’s changing demographic but claims many are still failing to adapt their rewards and recognitions programs.

“It’s interesting because in so many ways they’re looking and understanding that we’re dealing with an extremely diverse and different workforce now and yet when it comes to recognition programs, they’re not really accounting for those differences,” he told HRM.

Calgary-based Patrick says employers should place more importance on the small, everyday efforts that have an impact in the workplace.

“People don’t need you to do cartwheels and go head over heels for something they’ve done for you but people really appreciate when somebody notices,” he told HRM. “You have to recognize peoples’ contributions and they will respond in kind.”

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  • Steven Green on 2016-08-11 10:19:04 AM

    I agree 100%. In fact I just hung up from a call with a company who is looking to replace their recognition program. They realize that they have just been doing what they have been doing for no good reason aside from the fact that they bought what the recognition vendors were selling.

    The old school points and prize programs do not have an impact on talent motivation and retention for knowledge based businesses and the costs are astronomical.

    Dan Pink covered this off years ago in his book drive. You can watch the white board video of the key learnings here: http://www.tembosocial.com/blog/on-carrots-good-for-your-eyes-bad-for-your-employees

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