Getting employees to engage with a business requires incentives but pay and bonuses is not always the most practical reward.
Employees can become more engaged with their company through a number of other benefits, including career opportunities, training exercises and acknowledgement of the hard work they do.
According to the 2013 Trends in Employee Engagement survey by Aon Hewitt, career opportunities are the main driver of employee engagement within the Asia Pacific region, followed by pay, then recognition, organisation reputation and brand alignment. The survey shows that there are more ways to encourage staff than increasing wages, with other factors sometimes proving more useful.
Businesses need to ensure that plans to encourage staff productivity do not limit their profitability, which is why increasing the payroll is not always the most effective method.
Incentivising With Cost in Mind
A good incentive policy can boost employees' morale and improve staff retention, however it needs to be adjusted to the specific workforce to be effective.
Staff increasingly expect management to be more original in terms of what they offer. As a result, many companies review their rewards programmes on an annual basis to determine whether they still suit staff.
According to the 2013 Top Five Global Employer Rewards Survey from Deloitte: "Rewards are a critical component of the “employment deal” offered to employees in virtually every region of the world, so employers should regularly assess their programmes to determine whether they are hitting the value target of employees. This value then should be balanced against the rewards costs of the population’s changing needs."
The top action due to be taken in the Asia-Pacific region is "Definition, mix of components, and/or redesign of overall rewards strategy". Forty-seven per cent of respondents from this area said that they intend to put more emphasis on programmes concerned with employee communication and education.
Tailor Awards to the Individual
The most effective type of incentive is in line with the individual member of staff and with recognition being one of the top areas that drives employee engagement, rewarding workers for their contribution can prove beneficial.
However, working out what incentives would be most sought among specific employees is a challenge. Therefore, offering a choice of rewards may be the best approach and considering what firms can invest in to do this.
Gift certificates are one option but can create more paperwork and can be lost or stolen easily, which is why opting for an online gift card instead is generally wiser. It reduces the cost of paper and is a platform that tends to be favoured by younger generations, particularly as many can be supported on smartphones.
Pre-paid gift cards online are also more secure than their paper counterparts as they cannot be lost and require the details of the individual owner to be used.
Improve Talent Retention
Retaining some of the best staff for longer is among the top benefits of a successful incentive policy.
The Deloitte survey found that "shortage, motivation and retention of talent" was viewed as the top challenge among HR professionals over the next few years, with 24 per cent of respondents from Asia-Pacific citing this. Therefore, to ensure that the best talent is retained, having programmes in place to keep employees engaged is vital for companies to abate this concern.
Certainly, keeping a strong talent pool will aid a firm's progress in the long run. By keeping staff engaged with a business, this can raise productivity, innovation and will benefit profit margins in the long run.