Are Current Employee Reward Programs Aligned to Make Hourly Employees Happy and More Productive?

November 11, 20158:10 am3023 views

Gone are the days when employees were just happy to have a job, and were motivated by tickets to sporting events and occasional chances to win a trip. Today, employees are craving recognition on a regular and recurring basis.

That recognition doesn’t always have to be in the form of a reward. For both peers and supervisors, simply saying “Thank you!” or “Great job!” can provide an environment where employees feel appreciated and a little more secure — in an era when security is not at all a given.Peer-to-peer recognition is an efficient high-touch way to help employees feel happier, and thus more productive and engaged at work. Lower-level, more efficient rewards also go a very long way toward improving overall happiness and morale.

Work trails most other happiness influencers, ranking near the bottom. Yet two of three hourly employees say their jobs are important to their overall happiness.

This dichotomy suggests an unmet need, and a big opportunity for employers to make their hourly employees happier and more productive with more thoughtful and effective recognition programs.

New employee research from Blackhawk Engagement Solutions reveals that current employee rewards programs—a key component in growing employee happiness—are not aligned with what makes hourly employees happy and most productive.

“Hourly employees want more immediate and consistent recognition for their accomplishments from managers and executives, with rewards in the form of prepaid cards for exceeding expectations and taking on additional responsibilities,” said Rodney Mason, GVP of Marketing with Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, an international incentives and engagement company.

The research findings reveal that current employee reward programs aren’t all that rewarding, which is impacting employee productivity levels and overall happiness quotient at workplace.

Here are some findings that could make hourly employees more happy and productive at work:

Look off the clock for what makes employees happiest: When asked to rank key factors by how much they contribute to happiness, both degree and non-degree hourly employees placed work in the bottom half.

Family, friends, and health were the top three responses, and jobs also came after hobbies, music, and even pets. However, while work trails after most other happiness influencers, two of three hourly employees still say their jobs are important to their overall happiness.

See: Total Reward Experience is What Motivates Employees: Cash Isn’t King Any Longer

Engaged and recognized, not so much: Overall, employers are not doing a very good job of keeping hourly employees focused, comfortable and engaged at work, as only 74 percent of degree and 71 percent of non-degree employees believe their boss seems to care about them.

Only 55 percent have received praise for their work in the last week and it impacts how happy they are with their jobs overall.

The recognition gap: Most employees want more reward opportunities than employers offer, but hourly employees want the most of all.

Forty-three percent of degree and 37 percent of non-degree hourly employees say their employer doesn’t offer any reward or recognition.

Even when programs are offered, hourly employees are generally not eligible for most of them including bonuses, recognition rewards, wellness rewards, spot rewards and safety rewards.

It’s the thought that counts: Hourly employees widely report that the types of recognition that would make them happiest include awareness about their achievements.

Fifty-seven percent of degree and 62 percent of non-degree employees most want managers to be aware of their recognition, followed closely by executives at the company (54 percent of degree and 60 percent of non-degree), and then their peers (37 percent of degree and 45 percent of non-degree).

The fewest hourly employees are happy when people outside of their company are aware of their recognition.

Which activities most deserve rewards and recognition: Degree (84 percent) and non-degree (75 percent) employees agree that they would feel happy being recognized and rewarded for receiving a promotion followed closely (83 percent of degree and 80 percent of non-degree) by exceeding personal performance levels.

Hourly employees are least happy receiving recognition when achieving milestones in a company program.

Prepaid pleases everyone: When given a choice, people prefer to receive payments in the form of prepaid cards, and hourly employees prefer them as a reward.

Ninety-two percent of degree and 89 percent of non-degree hourly employees prefer prepaid cards over rewards that can be redeemed online or from a catalogue. When asked how they would spend prepaid cards, more than half of hourly employees would use the reward for practical, everyday things.

The Happy Hourly report can be accessed in detail here.

Also read: Top 8 Innovative Ways of Employee Recognition

Image credit: flickr.com

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