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How Rewards Create Sustainable Engagement

Posted, by Hannah Noel on 01/31/2019
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Workplace disengagement is a rising trend that no manager likes to see but is happening in businesses all across the country. In just the past four years, employee disengagement rose 17 percent according to Gallup data.

Gallup goes on to report that disengagement levels rose to 87 percent in 2017, and the increase isn't isolated to one particular industry. From healthcare companies to retailers, they're all experiencing the difficulties of keeping workers focused and motivated.

There's no getting around it: when employees feel undervalued or overlooked, it leads to full or partial disengagement in the workplace. In fact, it could ultimately result in another problem altogether: a high turnover rate.

Related: How to Retain Top Talent in 2019 [Free Guide]

One way companies are countering this disengagement challenge is with employee rewards. Rewards are a must for any company serious about motivating its employees to achieve goals and meet deadlines for major projects.

There are dozens of ways to engage employees, but here’s 2 reasons why rewards have a lasting effect on engagement.


Rewards come in many shapes and sizes

Creating engagement isn’t a one-quick fix. You have to match your rewards to your audience in order to make waves. Luckily, there is a wide range of rewards that can suit your audience and your goals.

But choosing the most effective reward type that will motivate and impact your employees can be tricky.

Depending on your program there are several great reward options to consider offering your employees, including:

  • Additional paid time off
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Gift cards that offer experiences (i.e. Home ChefGo Play Golf gift cards)
  • Health-related discounts (see: gym reimbursements, weight loss challenges)
  • Opportunities to work from home


Rewards can be used for both short- and long-term goals

What has been shown to work is using smaller rewards over a longer time period. You may think rewards with a high value given out once a year is enough, but it doesn’t set your employees up for success in the long haul. It’s easier to forget about a long-term, voluntary goal until it’s right around the corner. Instead, having more frequent benchmarks with smaller rewards towards a larger goal is more motivating and easier to stay on track.

Just think of it this way: in a study we conducted with the IRF, we found from the people we surveyed that the most common gift card amount given was within the range $50-100. Instead of opting for rewards that break the bank, try using smaller rewards, like gift cards, more frequently.

Using multiple tactics can also be a great way to spur employee engagement in the workplace, while at the same time reducing worker disengagement. Finding the right mix of compensation, incentives and rewards is the key to employee satisfaction, as well as a company's long-term success.

What have you found to be effective approaches to increasing employee engagement? Let us know by posting a comment in the comments section below.

Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Incentives & Rewards

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