9 Reasons Why Your Employee Rewards System Still Sucks

May 17, 2023

It's time to get your employee rewards structure right. As manager, you're now in a role that carries immense potential for influencing the success of your team and, by extension, your organization. One of the key tools at your disposal is the employee rewards system. However, this tool is often misunderstood and underutilized, leading to missed opportunities for fostering a motivated and high-performing team.

Many new managers fall into the trap of viewing rewards systems solely through the lens of monetary compensation. While salary and bonuses are important, they are just the tip of the iceberg. A truly effective rewards system goes beyond the paycheck, encompassing a broad spectrum of factors that contribute to employee wellbeing.

The real power of a rewards system lies in its ability to align with the holistic needs of your employees. It's not just about how much you pay, but how you support your team's growth, security, autonomy, and sense of purpose. When you start viewing your rewards system in this light, you unlock its true potential as a driver of team success.

In the journey ahead, we'll delve into the key metrics that can help you shape a rewards system that resonates with your team and fuels their motivation. Let's embark on this exciting journey of discovery together.

The Power of Employee Wellbeing Metrics in Reward Systems

As a new manager, you might be wondering, "Why should I focus on employee wellbeing metrics when designing a rewards system?" The answer lies in the profound impact these metrics can have on your team's motivation, performance, and overall satisfaction.

Employee wellbeing metrics are not just numbers on a spreadsheet. They are indicators of your team's overall health and happiness. They reflect the degree to which your team feels secure, competent, respected, and valued in their roles. When these metrics are positive, your team is more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal to your organization.

Now, let's connect the dots to your rewards system. A well-crafted rewards system should not only be fair in terms of monetary compensation but should also align with and support the wellbeing of your employees. This means considering factors like opportunities for growth, work-life balance, recognition, and a positive work culture when designing your rewards.

By aligning your rewards system with employee wellbeing metrics, you're not just offering a paycheck. You're creating an environment where your team feels valued, motivated, and committed to your organization's success. This is the true power of a well-designed rewards system, and it's a power you, as a new manager, can harness to drive your team's success.

Unveiling the Nine Metrics for an Effective Employee Rewards System

  1. Workplace Security

A secure workplace is the foundation of a motivated team. When your employees feel safe—both physically and psychologically—they can focus on their work without fear or distraction. Your rewards system should reflect this by prioritizing safety measures, clear grievance procedures, and a culture of respect. This not only reduces the need for financial compensation for risk but also fosters a sense of belonging and trust among your team.

  1. Workforce Competence

The opportunity to learn and grow is a powerful motivator. Your rewards system should encourage skill development and career progression. This could be through training programs, mentorship, or opportunities for lateral movement. When your team sees that their competence and career growth are valued, they are more likely to be committed and engaged.

  1. Healthy Company Culture

A positive company culture is priceless. It promotes respect, diversity, and a healthy work-life balance. Your rewards system should reinforce these values, perhaps through recognition programs, team-building activities, or flexible work arrangements. A healthy culture not only attracts and retains talent but also cultivates a team that is motivated and productive.

  1. Leadership

Effective leadership is critical for a thriving team. Leaders who act with integrity, communicate transparently, and inspire their team can significantly boost morale and performance. Your rewards system should support this by recognizing and rewarding good leadership practices. This could be through leadership training, feedback mechanisms, or leadership recognition programs.

  1. Physical and Emotional Wellbeing

The physical and emotional health of your team is crucial. Stress, burnout, and health issues can significantly impact productivity and morale. Your rewards system should support wellbeing initiatives, such as wellness programs, mental health resources, and adequate sick leave. When your team feels cared for, they are more likely to be engaged and committed.

  1. Financial Wellbeing

Financial security is a key concern for many employees. Your rewards system should ensure fair and competitive compensation, retirement plans, and financial education resources. When your team feels financially secure, they can focus on their work and contribute more effectively to your organization.

  1. Purpose and Autonomy

Employees who find meaning in their work and have a sense of autonomy are more motivated and satisfied. Your rewards system should encourage this by aligning team goals with the company's mission and promoting autonomy. This could be through clear communication of the company's vision, opportunities for independent projects, or rewards for innovative ideas.

  1. Empowerment and Enablement

Empowering your team with the right tools, training, and opportunities can unlock their potential. Your rewards system should support this by investing in technology, continuous learning opportunities, and resources that enable your team to excel in their roles.

  1. Return on Investment

Lastly, your rewards system should demonstrate a positive return on investment. This could be through increased productivity, innovation, or reduced turnover. By tracking and communicating these returns, you can show your team the tangible impact of their efforts and the value they bring to the organization. This not only motivates your team but also justifies the investment in your rewards system.

By considering these nine metrics, you can create a rewards system that truly resonates with your team and drives their success. Remember, a well-designed rewards system is not just about the paycheck—it's about creating an environment where your team feels valued, motivated, and committed to your organization's success.

Decoding the Myth: Pay as a Primary Motivator

As a new manager, you might be under the impression that a hefty paycheck is the ultimate motivator for your team. However, this is a common misconception that needs to be debunked. While fair pay is essential, it serves as a "hygiene" factor rather than a primary motivator. 

Hygiene factors, such as pay, job security, and working conditions, are the basics that need to be met to prevent dissatisfaction. However, they don't necessarily lead to higher motivation or job satisfaction. They are the prerequisites, the non-negotiables, the 'givens' in any employment contract.

On the other hand, true motivation stems from factors that enrich an employee's job experience. These are the elements that make your team feel valued, included, and recognized. They provide a sense of responsibility, offer opportunities for advancement, and foster room for creativity. 

When your team feels accepted and included, they are more likely to be engaged and committed. When they are recognized for their efforts, they feel valued and motivated to perform better. When they have room to grow and be creative, they find their work more fulfilling.

So, while pay is important, it's not the be-all and end-all of employee motivation. As a new manager, your focus should be on creating a work environment that offers more than just a paycheck.

The Transformative Power of a High-Scoring Workplace

Imagine a workplace that excels in all nine metrics we've discussed. It's a place where employees feel secure, competent, respected, and valued. They are led by ethical leaders, enjoy good physical and emotional health, have financial security, find purpose in their work, and are empowered to reach their potential. Such a workplace is not a utopia—it's achievable, and the impact it can have is profound.

In a high-scoring workplace, remuneration becomes less of a focal point for employees. Why? Because their holistic needs are being met. They're not just working for a paycheck—they're working in an environment that nurtures their growth, respects their contributions, and cares for their wellbeing. This doesn't mean that fair pay isn't important—it is. But in a high-scoring workplace, employees see beyond the paycheck. They see the value in the total rewards package and the enriching work environment you provide.

For the business, a high-scoring workplace offers flexibility. When employees are satisfied and motivated, the business can adapt more easily to changes, whether they're market fluctuations or internal shifts. The business becomes resilient, agile, and better equipped to thrive in the face of challenges.

As a new manager, striving for a high-scoring workplace should be your goal. It's a win-win situation—your team flourishes, and so does your business.

Conclusion: Embracing a Holistic Approach to Employee Rewards

As we wrap up, remember that an effective employee rewards system is about more than just pay. It's about creating a work environment that nurtures your team's growth, respects their contributions, and cares for their wellbeing. The nine metrics we've discussed provide a roadmap for achieving this. They guide you towards a rewards system that resonates with your team and fuels their motivation. As a new manager, I encourage you to reflect on these metrics the next time you review your team's compensation packages. Embrace a holistic approach to rewards, and watch as your team begins to flourish.

And that's a wrap. Keep learning, keep growing, and we'll speak again soon.




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