Rewards & Recognition

It’s a New Year – Isn’t It Time for a New Rewards Program?

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Whether your plan for it or not, the post-holiday lull is inevitable.

After a stream of holiday parties, short work weeks, and general end of year festivities comes to an end, the harsh reality that it’s time to get back to business begins. It’s natural for employees to become bored and unmotivated during this period but the good news is that most people are craving improvements in their life, and now is your chance to be part of their New Year’s resolutions.

Yes, now is the ideal time to get creative with your incentives program. That doesn’t have to mean creating sales contests or rewarding your top sellers to get results (although it can’t hurt). The truly innovative manager thinks not just outside the box, but all the way around the edges to find ways to motivate.

Helping workers keep their resolutions

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. More than likely, many of your employees have made it their goal to shed a few pounds. This can be especially difficult for people stuck behind their desks.

Lost in the maze of cubicles, the break room or cafeteria becomes their only escape. Often stocked with not-so-healthy edibles, this leads to mindless snacking. Purchasing some low-fat, healthy snacks or implementing a lunchtime walking club would encourage employees to keep their waistlines shrinking.

A fun twist is to give a reward to the employee who logs the most miles, number of days, or loses the most weight. In lieu of giving cash, giving a gift card to an athletic store or offering to reimburse a month’s membership to their local gym will continue to incentivize even after the money is spent.

Investment help is also good to offer

The first of the year is also a time when people are reviewing their finances to prepare for tax season, winter expenses like snowplowing and heating costs, and upcoming vacations.

Many people are creating budgets for the year, just like you are making plans for the company. Offering to have your 401(k) company’s advisor come to the office and discuss the plan options can help your employees make better decisions about their investments. If you don’t offer a 401(k) plan, you could also have your tax advisor come in and discuss new tax laws that might impact them.

Thanks to a fresh bank of vacation days (and perhaps those cold winter nights), January also happens to be a time when people start day-dreaming about their next vacation. One way to bring some good cheer to your employees is to host a travel fair in your office and allow employees some time to meet with the travel agent.

Remember what I have been saying all along: incentives and rewards are meant to show that the company cares about employees and that they are listening to employee concerns.

By offering a few simple things at the beginning of the year that are not just monetary but really address your employee’s concerns can lift the post-holiday lull and go a long way toward building loyalty among your employees for the rest of the year.

Jennifer Vecchi is the Manager of Individual Incentives and Recognition Programs at Atlas Travel in Milford, MA, where she is responsible for supporting her client’s recognition programs and sales contests.