Treating Your Employees to Training

Are the traditional employee rewards and recognition programs – the ones that focus primarily on tenure and company service – becoming passé? For millennials, who are staying in a job for an average of 18 months, the idea of an anniversary award as a retention incentive is a completely outdated notion. In a study conducted by Achievers and ConnectEDU, the majority of students in the Class of 2014 chose travel and experience rewards as the most appealing rewards, relegating years of service awards to the bottom of the rankings.

The fact is, although companies continue to spend billions of dollars each year on recognition, the standard reward approaches of the past are not effective at engaging today’s workforce and enticing employees to stay. Long recognized as one solution to the epidemic of disengaged employees, rewards and recognition programs still have their place, of course. After all, according to research from Bersin by Deloitte, employee engagement, productivity and customer service are nearly 15 percent better in organizations where recognition occurs. 

Companies who want to succeed in today’s global economy, however, need to look beyond the typical rewards and recognition initiatives and develop a program that reflects the organization’s unique corporate culture. To do that, many are turning to personal and professional development and training programs as a way to reward their top performers. 

According to Accelir’s Rewards & Recognition: 2014 Trends Report, companies who are successfully creating a culture of recognition go beyond providing a service award and instead include performance-based rewards that recognize a job well-done, such as allowing an employee to attend an industry conference or professional development event. Instead of looking at training as a job requirement, companies are treating it as a special treat for employees who deserve recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty.

The benefits of using training and development programs as an incentive are two-fold – employees appreciate that they are being rewarded for their high performance and the company benefits from their employees’ continuing education. In addition, the public recognition of their accomplishments – such as that enabled through employee attendance at a training event – can make the reward that much more meaningful to employees and can help reinforce the desired behaviors among all team members.  

New advancements in technology are helping companies take advantage of this “training as reward” trend. As gamification continues to more closely integrate with learning and development programs, badges and certificates provide a way to make learning more fun, drive training completion and provide an additional method for rewarding employee accomplishments. 

With recognition playing a much more important role in business performance than in the past, finding innovative ways to reward employees is becoming increasingly critical for companies who want to remain competitive. Utilizing training as an incentive can help create an employee reward system that both acknowledges employees’ accomplishments as well as drives increased motivation and engagement.

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