1501 Ways to Reward Employees
By Bob Nelson
Workman Publishing, 2012
List price: $15.95
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A deli made a deal with its employees: Help us cut food costs, and we will split the savings with you. Employees found $30,000 in savings and got a $15,000 reward to share.
A Midwestern company unable to foot the bill for bonuses sought a way to let workers know executives cared. So the executives pledged to clear snow off employees’ cars at least once a month, all winter long.
Departments at Ben & Jerry’s headquarters get a grant if they develop great ideas. Departments can use the grants to buy what they want for themselves—such as popcorn machines.
Popcorn, cash, a snow-covered boss … whatever form a reward takes, employers that actively recognize employees find that recognition reaps business benefits. According to 1501 Ways to Reward Employees author Bob Nelson, research shows that employees who receive recognition at work are seven times more likely to stay with the company than those who don’t receive recognition, and 11 times more likely to “feel completely committed to the company.”
In this handbook for employers, Nelson outlines why employers need to ramp up recognition and why money alone isn’t the strongest motivator. He reviews the excuses managers give for not recognizing employees, from “I don’t know how” to “I’m afraid I might leave somebody out.”
But five trends will push employers toward recognizing employees, Nelson notes:
- Employers must compete for fewer skilled workers.
- The youngest generation of workers expect rewards from employers and will move on quickly if those rewards don’t materialize.
- Employers must figure out how to motivate the increasing number of contingent workers.
- Greater use of virtual employees and virtual teams means employers must ensure that those workers feel connected to the company by more than computers.
- Globalization requires employers to find ways to motivate an increasingly multicultural workforce.
Nelson writes about ways to give day-to-day recognition, tips on creative recognition for teams and groups, the use of activities as rewards, rewards tailored to specific achievements, and more, all presented so that users can look up not just the rewards but the companies that now use them successfully.
The book gives pithy but detailed lists of ideas, drawn from employers’ real experiences in a wide variety of industries. Among the topics:
- How to make rewards part of the company culture at all levels.
- Pitfalls and benefits of cash rewards, plus ideas on rewards to substitute for cash.
- Ways to use “specialty items”—gifts such as wearable items—more creatively, and ideas for items beyond the usual coffee mug.
- Ideas for nonmonetary rewards from trips to tickets to free parking.
- Eight ways to praise a team, and dozens of ways to reward teams and groups and help them develop cohesion, from simple and inexpensive rewards (cookies, applause), to group activities such as movie night, to special event tickets.
- Specific rewards for specific accomplishments, such as “employee of the year” programs or on-the-spot awards.
- Ideas for creating or improving employee suggestion programs.
- Advice from employers on how to use formal reward programs and tools.
Healthy Employees, Healthy Business
By Ilona Bray
List price: $39.99
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A guide to “easy, affordable ways to promote workplace wellness,” this volume lets readers build an entire wellness program from the ground up or focus on just one wellness topic. The book guides readers through the whole process, from making a business case for workplace wellness to navigating legal issues and creating specific programs for disease prevention, nutrition, fitness, stress and addiction.
Drawing on expertise from specialists in medicine, workplace law, health insurance benefits and more, the book lets readers skip around and concentrate on topics of interest.
Making the business case. Wellness programs can reduce health insurance costs, boost productivity, reduce absences, and improve employee satisfaction and retention. Author Ilona Bray outlines how wellness programs can be affordable.
Strategies for your wellness program. Figure out which health issues matter most to your workforce, and consider incorporating these ingredients in your wellness program: health screenings, education and information, individual follow-up and treatment, and incentives and rewards.
Legal advice. Law covering workplace wellness programs is still developing, Bray says, so find out what laws currently affect your program and how to avoid potential legal issues.
Evaluate what your workplace needs. Assess employees’ interests with a survey (included in the book). Form a wellness team, choose the right leader for the effort, use HR’s input, and turn to outside wellness professionals for help.
Get going. Launch the wellness program by marketing it to employees while watching for nonparticipants who may need convincing about the program’s benefits. Learn how to arrange health screenings and encourage participation. Track and chart your wellness program’s progress.
Disease prevention and detection. Educate workers on the personal and professional costs of illness in the workplace. Make the office cleaner and healthier, and teach basic symptom and treatment information. Consider offering flu shots, massages, blood tests and other tests, and remember to investigate the potential for repetitive strain injuries in your workplace.
Nutrition. Hear how other employers have offered stocked refrigerators, shifted to healthier vending machine options, ordered catering with health in mind and more.
Fitness and exercise. Help employees understand the connection between inactivity and health problems. Top ideas include group fitness activities, such as on-site classes, sports leagues and walking groups; individual fitness incentives, including gym memberships; and a more active workplace culture, such as encouraging use of lunch breaks or flextime for fitness.
Other topics explored in the book include selecting health benefits, setting up options such as health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts, lowering stress, helping addicted workers, and reducing obesity.
Next-Generation Wellness at Work
By Stephenie Overman
List price: $44.95
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Next-Generation Wellness at Work cuts straight to what employers want to know: Do employee wellness programs benefit our bottom line? The answer, author Stephenie Overman says, is yes. Wellness pays off, to the tune of an average $5.81 saved for every dollar invested in worksite health-promotion programs, according to one study.
Overman’s book helps readers create workplace wellness programs and get employees to use those programs. It shows readers how to do the following and more:
--Get buy-in from top management. Learn to build a business case for wellness and demonstrate how expensive some diseases and conditions are for the organization. Incentives for managers can help them get behind wellness initiatives; rewards such as money for their operating budgets can motivate managers to work toward specific wellness goals.
--Form a wellness committee or team to set the strategy. Overman covers how to find team members and determine their tasks, how to train and reward wellness team members and how the team can help sell the idea of wellness to the rest of the workforce.
--Try simple, immediate changes. Wellness doesn’t require a huge program and a big dollar investment. Overman advises on getting started with small changes: Introduce health and nutrition educational sessions, and get employees involved in planning them. Cut out sugary snacks at meetings and swap healthy items for candy and chips in vending machines. Sponsor a walking program in which employees log their steps.
--Give incentives to encourage employee participation. Learn how employers have used prizes, cash, and even reductions in health insurance premiums as wellness program incentives. Overman also looks at potential legal considerations if you require wellness program participation.
--Consider an on-site fitness center or health clinic. Consider the feasibility, costs and benefits of on-site facilities, as well as the possibility of contracts with third-party companies. Readers hear the experiences of companies that have run successful clinics and fitness centers for their employees.
--Focus on mental wellness, not just physical wellness. Employee assistance programs are a starting point for helping employees with mental wellness, but flexible schedules, work/life balance and opportunities for education and advancement are all ways to improve employees’ psychological wellness.
The book examines the impacts that age, gender, ethnicity, disabilities, industry differences and other factors have on employees’ acceptance of wellness initiatives. Overman also provides short articles with case studies of employers with successful programs.