Micro-Rewards: How Companies are Motivating Employees with Instant Gratification


Motivate employees all year round with micro-rewards

In the evolving workplace, companies are embracing new ways to keep their employees engaged by offering more than just the standard annual bonuses. Modern reward systems, featuring micro-rewards, are quickly becoming a staple in recognizing and motivating employees, with benefits that extend beyond mere compensation.

Jackie, a communications manager in London, recently experienced this new trend firsthand. She was able to treat herself to a luxury handbag worth £950, something she would never have bought with her salary, thanks to her company’s innovative points system. These points are awarded to employees to celebrate their achievements and can be redeemed for various items.

This shift towards frequent, smaller rewards is gaining momentum. Employees receive recognition not just for their annual performance but also for their contributions throughout the year. Companies are finding that such micro-rewards programs foster a positive workplace culture and increase employee engagement, leading to higher productivity and better retention rates.

These rewards can take many forms, from cash incentives to a versatile points system, and they’re not limited to any particular industry. They’re especially popular among technology, advertising, and financial services companies and are becoming essential for remote and hybrid work environments, where maintaining a strong company culture is more challenging.

The immediate and ongoing nature of these micro-rewards creates a continuous sense of value among employees. For Jackie, the luxury handbag was a great perk, but it was the ongoing acknowledgment from her peers that really boosted her morale.

Unexpected rewards can make a substantial impact, according to Anthony Kesterton of Red Hat in London. These special recognitions, when they come as a surprise, can significantly uplift an employee’s spirits.

Creating a sense of connection and gratitude is another crucial aspect. Jeff Hagel of McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes in Canada noticed a shift in employee self-reflection post-pandemic. To keep his staff motivated, he introduced a system where employees give out points each week, which has led to thousands of messages of gratitude and a powerful motivational boost.

From a business perspective, these micro-rewards have shown to be financially beneficial, reducing turnover and recruitment costs. Research suggests that regular recognition can lead to a temporary uptick in overall performance, not just in the rewarded tasks.

However, experts caution that the novelty of these rewards must be maintained to prevent them from becoming expected and losing their impact. Argyro Avgoustaki from ESCP Business School highlights that the immediacy of these rewards is key to their effectiveness.

While these micro-rewards are popular, they’re unlikely to replace traditional rewards systems like annual bonuses. As Hagel points out, employees view bonuses as an expected part of their income, whereas micro-rewards offer something additional and enjoyable.

As the workplace continues to change, micro-rewards are proving to be an innovative and effective tool for companies to appreciate and motivate their employees continuously, creating a workplace that is both productive and rewarding.


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Source: BBC