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3 Ways to Make Your Employee Rewards Scheme the Gift that Keeps Giving

3 April 2019 6 min read

employee rewards scheme

Your employee rewards scheme should not be an afterthought. You need to offer a gift that keeps giving – something that will still make your employees feel valued, appreciated, and rewarded years down the line.

How can you achieve this? By offering truly meaningful rewards, as opposed to ill-thought benefits that’ll fade over time.

We’ve already touched upon what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to employee rewards. In this post we’ll focus on future-proofing your employee rewards scheme, to ensure that it can continue to work for you indefinitely.



The Changing Landscape of Employee Reward Schemes

Two budget statements a year. Endless discussions about pensions, auto-enrollment, a living wage, and the gender pay gap. Then there’s the B-Word – Brexit. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, and what sort of effect it’s going to have on… well, everything.

The point is that everything exists in a state of flux. Everything you know about rewards and reimbursement could change overnight. The only constant changes.

This should inform your employee reward scheme. You need a system in place that empowers your employees without scuppering your business through excessive and unsustainable costs.

The response to this shifting landscape varies from sector to sector. According to research by the CIPD, certain high street retailers have started to cut back on certain employee benefits, such as paid breaks, discounted staff rates, and extra pay for weekend or evening shifts.

By cutting down on these perks, businesses may save money. But as these are all things that employees value, they might also see a rise in staff turnover and a dip in employee satisfaction. Are reduced business costs worth it if they come at the expense of employee engagement and retention?



How to Make Your Employee Rewards Scheme the Gift that Keeps Giving

The mistake many businesses make with employee benefits is that they base them almost entirely on tax savings. This is not a long-term strategy. Tax savings as you know them today may be unrecognisable 10 years from now. Or they may not exist at all.

If you want to futureproof your employee rewards scheme, you need to think beyond tax benefits. This may mean thinking beyond “salary sacrifice” benefits entirely. At the moment, things like pensions, cycle to work schemes, and childcare vouchers are exempt from government schemes to limit tax benefits. But this may not always be the case.

So where do you find the balance? What sort of benefits will make your employees feel valued without costing your business too much? And what sort of benefits will be just as effective decades from now as they are today?

In short, how do you make sure your employee rewards scheme is successful for years to come?

1. Investing in People

What’s your business’s philosophy when it comes to employee benefits? As we’ve seen, basing everything on tax benefits is not a good strategy. Beyond the changing political and economic landscape, if nothing else this suggests that you view your employees as a means to an end. But they’re not numbers. They’re people, and without them, your business is nothing.

So instead, you need to view your employee reward scheme as an investment in people. Investing in people always pays off. The upfront costs are justified when the end result is increased employee engagement, improved staff retention, better employee relations, reduced staff turnover and an overall boost to productivity.


2. Focus on Wellbeing and Empowerment

Your goal should be to empower your employees by taking an active interest in their health and wellbeing.

Employee wellbeing is a combination of good mental health and good physical health. It’s influenced by many factors, from the ambient temperature in the office to the amount of exercise your employees do. Here’s a great primer to explain the many factors that can influence wellbeing in the workplace.

Your employee wellbeing scheme can complement your employee reward scheme and vice versa. We recently took a look at seven of the world’s best employee wellness programs. It’s interesting how many of these successful companies provide rewards, benefits, and incentives that contribute to an organisational culture of wellbeing. For a good example, look to Google, where the focus is on health, fitness, fulfillment, and a good work/life balance for everyone.


3. It’s Good to Talk

Employees will always feel empowered and valued if you go for a culture of transparency. No matter what sort of employee reward scheme you offer, you need to clearly communicate why you’re offering it, and what you wish to achieve.

We recently touched upon the biggest barriers to wellbeing in the workplace. A major barrier is a lack of interest on the part of employees. Yet a lack of interest can be countered if you take the time to communicate your goals, and clearly outline the benefits that could come from taking part in your scheme.

It also helps to talk to employees about the sort of benefits they want to see. We recently explored how vital it is that you consult your employees on the sort of long service awards you offer. The idea is to offer something truly valuable, rather than a lazy token of appreciation.

You can absolutely take the same approach to your employee benefits. Talk to your employees. Find out what matters to them, and think about ways you can meet their needs.



Summary: What Will Employees Value 100 Years from Now?

OK, maybe you don’t have to think quite so long-term. But it’s an interesting exercise nonetheless. If you want to future-proof your employee reward scheme, think about the sort of employee benefits that will always be valuable.

No matter who it is, or when it is, every single employee, without exception, will value the sort of job that never gets in the way of the rest of their life.

A good work/life balance is the secret to managing stress in the workplace, reducing incidents of unplanned absence, and to helping employees cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental ill-health issues.

So if you want to offer employee benefits that stand the test of time, consider introducing schemes that will help employees achieve the best possible work/life balance.

A very good place to start is to make it easy for employees to book the time off they need when they need it. With our absence management software, employees can request leave with our staff holiday planner, and receive confirmation, in a matter of minutes – all through clicking just two or three buttons in a secure, online, easy-to-navigate system.

We’ll help you empower your employees by giving them total control of their time, their work, and their lives.

Start making absence matter with an intelligent, centralized solution that helps growing organizations to thrive.

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Katrina Bennett People Director at edays
April 3, 2019

Katrina is edays' own People Director with significant UK and international experience in delivering people strategy and value-adding HR solutions across a range of organisations and sectors (including Arriva, Boots, Rolls Royce, the utility and charity sectors). Katrina has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources and is CIPD qualified.