Survey Finds Rewards Programs Need to ‘Fit’ the Employees

by: Nichole Gunn May 13, 2011

Writing for the Small Business Network, Dr. Darryl Roberts of Towers Watson explains that businesses need to start moving forward and aim toward loyalty programs, as well as employee rewards.

Rebounding from two years of layoffs, decreased or stagnant salaries, more work and less benefits, employees are ready, able, and willing to move on. And, that means to new employment if necessary to fulfill their needs and wants.

Citing from Towers Watson’s 2010 Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey, Roberts noted that just over half (52 percent) of the respondents reflected that it is difficult to garner workers with the required vital skills. To make matters worse, 25 percent of the respondents are finding it difficult to hang on to their key workers.

Offering advice in regard to the survey findings, Roberts focuses on employee rewards programs. He explains that organizations need to design customized programs targeting the individual employees, and the programs need to be comprehensive and be a ‘fit’ for all employees.

Structuring these types of programs can be cost-effective and help curtail rewards program spending. Aiming for the individual’s wants, these programs will be better designed for success. But, he warns that many businesses are still using out-of-date incentive models. Holding onto old strategies will raise incentive expenses and be less effective – the incentive program goal to enhance employee retention and engagement will fall short.

Roberts notes that there is a breach between the incentive rewards offered by companies and the actual wants of the employees. "By listening to their employees and giving them a say in determining their rewards, employers can boost engagement, retention and productivity without increasing expenditures."

Probably the most significant finding from the survey is the respondents’ strong inclination toward non-cash incentives. The survey showed that 86 percent of American employees referred to “work-life balance” as a primary factor in regard to retention.

Along with this, another key motivator is building skills; 62 percent of the respondents cited that skill development fosters a happier and more satisfying working environment. Unfortunately, only one-third (33 percent) of the workers’ employers provide an effective program for skills-building.

Offering effective internal skill-building programs leads to employee satisfaction and is an essential factor in employee retention. Employees, as individuals want to feel valued and necessary; they don’t want to remain in a stagnant position. They want to feel invested in their future, not just in a job. Employees want the opportunity for advancement.

Providing this type of workplace training will enhance not only employee morale, it will help create a stronger and more able workforce, thereby increasing productivity and the company’s bottom line.