Pivoting HR to Remote Incentives

HR Incentive Trends

Location, location, location? Now it’s people, people, people

Tech companies went wild with location-based benefits in the last decade. Millions were spent on perquisites just to keep folks in the office. Companies felt a genuine pressure to compete for attention. On-site restaurants, gyms, dry-cleaners, barber shops, game rooms – you name it. Now many organizations are pivoting HR to remote incentives in light of the new remote work strategies.

Bragging rights about on-site freebies and cool workplaces helped HR organizations succeed in attracting and retaining talent. No on-site benefit was too extraordinary to offer in the competition to woo and keep employees.
The pandemic shut that all down.

But it’s also shown us that employees and companies can continue doing well and prosper while employees work remotely.

Frustrated Woman Figuring out how to create remote incentives

Now what?

A recent Mercer flexibility study made the point that 90% of surveyed employers thought that employee productivity has improved or stayed the same and that greater working flexibility will be implemented by 82% of surveyed organizations. There isn’t any going back now that in-demand employees know they can be successful while working away from the office.

So how can HR Pivot?

HR professionals need to recognize and reward remote working success. Organizations should also find new alternatives to location-based incentives for employees that help preserve bragging rights about the cool-place-to-work factor. Forget the most outrageous perks.

There are steps you can take to rethink the work model and put programs in place that embrace the new remote paradigm. People managers that can’t interact with employees in person still want workers properly recognized and rewarded. It helps if the latest recognition programs add excitement as well.

Zero contact incentive programs can help you continue to deliver culture-enhancing programs remotely. Employees react well to casual and unexpected benefits and perks.

Develop a Strategy – Pivoting HR to remote incentives is easy!

Think about what made location-based incentive programs successful in your organization? What made employees feel special? How can you reasonably replicate those on-site experiences for a remote work force?

Keep The Good

  • Current incentives for health, tuition assistance, bonuses and comparable benefits should stay in place – and be reevaluated to ensure they are having the desired result and that they are competitive. Programs should be audited and changed if needed to make sure that they are accessible and easily administered for remote workers.
  • Recognition programs should continue as well. Now that they can’t easily be done onsite, HR groups can put in place new incentives based on themed rewards that are easily administered centrally and made available to departments as incentives and digitally delivered to employees.

Replace the no-longer possible

Virtually all location-based benefits – the very things that made workplaces trendy and cool for employees are no longer possible – but new HR-managed incentive programs can be substituted. With some imagination and a bit of fun, these programs may be replicated easily and economically for the remote working model.

Here are 5 examples of Employee Engagement programs:

Onsite Cafeterias

  • You can’t put a cafeteria in every person’s location, but you can still offer good eats as incentives. Employees can’t visit the cafeteria, but they can still get high-quality meals delivered. Design a program and a message wrapped around high-quality food experiences to give your program a wow factor. Dining cards, including choices from more sophisticated, higher-quality alternatives to fast food can be given to employees and delivered digitally.
  • Recipient’s Choice lets you curate a selection so employees may select their own preferences. Delivery options such as Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats can usually deliver directly to the employee’s location.
  • Do this on an on-going basis and automate it so the employee is touched – and reminded – often.

Coffee and beverages

We used to be able to walk down the hall and get coffee and beverages. How about delivering the same experience to the employee’s remote workplace? Coffee and tea supplies as well as other choices can be offered from a set of curated suppliers. Supplies may be replenished periodically, just like in the office.

Department Meetings

  • Everyone loves a meeting – right? Love them or hate them, occasional departmental all-hands meetings are a nice opportunity for team building and recognition. How about a pizza-party theme? Send the cards for the pizza in advance with instructions on when to order. You may want the food delivered after the meeting! No one wants to be seen eating on a Zoom call.

Quarterly Recognition Meetings

Give out employee recognition and rewards during the meeting and have the employee rewards digitally fulfilled instantly. Rewards may be themed, for example:

    •  Your best “Remote warrior” might get to choose work from home gear from business and technology suppliers.
    • An employee that is getting “Customer Kudos” can be given entertainment rewards from online TV and music providers.
    • Team members that are the “Most Helpful” to the team might choose from charitable donation selections.
    • Folks that write the “Cleanest Code” or post the best record based on your metrics might be rewarded with personal care incentives, like gym memberships or spa visits.

On-site Slip and Slides and Game rooms?

OK – you can’t really replicate everything, but if fun and games are in your brand you can offer online games and tournaments for those that are interested. Creative reward ideas can be fun, and they can be themed based on your line of business.

Change Up!

One-offs are seldom enough. The memory of a single reward or incentive can wear off so keep programs going over time. Pivoting-HR to remote incentives works best with a mapped out a plan to continually encourage and recognize folks via permanent and one-of-a-kind incentives. Make sure to touch every employee periodically with incentives that delight employees and create lasting impressions. Keep some ongoing programs – like lunch delivery, department meetings and quarterly recognition meetings – as well as introducing plenty of surprise programs throughout the year.

Use special announcements, company milestones and new product introductions as opportunities to touch employees as well. Gifts and incentives really help make the message more memorable.

HR can set incentive programs up for the entire organization and delegate the management of the actual rewards to individual departments and managers. HR sets up the materials and incentives with a common theme, while managers decide how to best reach employees.

TruCentive gives you a unified platform for a wide variety of digital gifts and delivery strategies for every step of your remote incentive programs. Incentives and rewards can come from hundreds of regional and national suppliers as well as local merchants. We give you the ability to deliver carefully curated, cost-effective programs that are memorable – and efficient. Our focus on a superior recipient experience, ease-of-use and our advanced management-focused capabilities create flawless experiences that are second to none.