Employers are increasingly adding more rewards and individualized tactics to their workplace cultures, according to a study by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF).

The paper, 2012 Trends in Rewards and Recognition, highlights recent changes in the economy and consumer behaviour that are now being carried over into the workplace. Specific trends the study noted include an increased use of award elements for employees, the use of non-cash incentive programs to encourage employee participation, and the reliance on mobile applications to improve employee communication.

Melissa Van Dyke, president of IRF, says the unprecedented rate of change in today’s economy is paving the way for more flexible approaches in the management of people. Reward and recognition programs have a key role because they can meet employee needs faster and with greater ease and precision than conventional compensation structures.

The offering of rewards—including non-cash rewards—is a growing trend and can have a significant impact on employee engagement, according to IRF. The paper points to various studies that demonstrate how organizations that have reward systems in place to reinforce good performance outperform those that don’t have such a system. As well, offering more meaningful and challenging work, combined with a transparent performance management process, can help to attract and retain talent.

Virtual workplaces that rely on social networking to connect their staff are growing in popularity, as is the use of ‘gamification’—incorporating the principles of game design into the structure of reward and recognition programs. Gamification could include implementing achievement levels, leaders’ boards, progress charts and other recognition tools as part of your workplace culture.

Corporate social responsibility is also a trend to watch in the workplace. The paper suggests employers consider adopting eco-friendly efforts as part of their cultures, such as using digital instead of paper communications, and documenting where supplies are sourced from.

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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