While your hotel needs to get more from your employees, remember that your employees are also looking for more out of you and your business. Having an employee benefits program is one way of motivating your staff to use their work habits and behaviours to benefit your business. A benefits program could improve work ethic, attitude, and general motivation. But the main point is that your employees must feel that you’re rewarding them, both for their hard work and the results of their efforts. And reward them you should – hotel staff are some of the hardest worked employees and that deserves to be acknowledged.
Setting up an employee benefits program
When creating an employee benefits program, here are some things you need to keep in mind:
- You should involve your employees with the development, implementation, and revision of the program
- It is important that your employees see the rewards as being worth the effort and the reward system as fair
- You should have clear program goals so that your employees understand how they can earn the rewards
- Performance standards and targets for rewards must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely
- The program should focus on tangible accomplishments, e.g. rewards must be tied to achievements that are aligned with your business values
- Rewards should always be linked to performance and given based on objective performance data
- Offer rewards and benefits to all your employees and not just those in certain positions
- The rewards must be something your employees want. There’s no point in having a reward nobody really desires or cares about, as they won’t work towards it
- A reward should suit the employee. For example, don’t offer bottles of wine to employees who don’t drink
- Acknowledge both small and big achievements, e.g. reaching sales targets, cost savings, great customer service, teamwork, etc.
- Make the program an integral part of your business strategy, and execute it regularly.
The benefits of having an employee benefits program
There are countless benefits for employers who have a good employee benefits program. These include:
- Building employee loyalty and engagement
- Increasing employee motivation, morale, and productivity
- Enhancing your Employment Value Proposition (EVP)
- Cementing or building your status as a ‘Preferred Employer’
- Reinforcing your employer or employment brand
- Differentiating your business or employment offering
- Increasing the disposable income of your employees
- Attracting and retaining excellent employees
- Reducing employee turnover.
Types of programs to implement
An employee benefits program can be divided between a recognition system and a rewards system. A recognition system offers psychological and sometimes financial benefits, whereas a rewards system offers financial or physical benefits.
Here are the different types of programs you could implement under the recognition system:
- ‘You’ve been caught’ program – This is when managers and employees ‘catch’ colleagues doing more than what their duty requires. The winner can be rewarded with a restaurant gift certificate, a free night’s stay at a hotel, or something similar.
- ‘Coins’ peer recognition program – Employees who go beyond the call of duty receive coins each quarter from their co-workers, which they can then cash in for prizes.
- ‘Public’ recognition program – Present a reward to a stellar employee and acknowledge their efforts in front of their peers. This will boost their morale and inspire others to do the same.
- ‘Employee of the month/year’ program – The winner is chosen from amongst nominated staff who have provided exceptional service in a month or year. They can be rewarded with cash or a free lunch/dinner.
- ‘Employee appreciation’ program – Show your appreciation for your employees and their hard work with appreciation breakfasts / luncheons / banquets, picnics, parties, gift certificates, plaques, or closing business early for a day.
Here are some employee benefit programs that revolve around the ‘rewards’ system:
- Online rewards and benefits program – Member employees can get online discounts on different products and services from top brands and establishments. If your hotel has associations with any restaurants or brands, use this to your advantage and reward your staff with their services.
- Wellness program – The aim of this is to create a healthier staff – both physically and mentally. A healthier staff is a happier staff – all the more important since customer service is paramount in the hotel industry.
- Gift card program – Reward top-performing employees with special gift cards during the holidays or when they do something special for the company.
- Employee assistance program – A short, confidential counselling service for employees whose personal problems are affecting their performance in the workplace.
- Leave program – Give your employees paid vacations, holidays, and sick leave. You can also reward good performance with paid time off to have a break or to spend time with family.
- Workplace flexibility program – Provide employees with flexible and alternative work arrangements for work-life balance, such as:
* Working earlier or later in the day
* Working their total number of hours in fewer days
* Sharing their duties and tasks with another employee
* Working from home (telecommuting)
* Working part-time on a regular basis
* Working and studying at the same time
- Tuition reimbursement program – If an employee takes a course in their own time and it’s related to their role at the hotel, consider offering reimbursement
- Retirement benefits program – The benefits include:
* Retirement/pension plan: You can provide your employees with a source of income when they’re retired or of pension age by arranging a retirement or pension plan
* Registered retirement savings plan: An account providing tax benefits for saving for retirement
* Phased retirement plan: For older employees who plan to prepare for retirement by gradually reducing the number of hours or days they work until they’re ready to leave.
- Lifestyle rewards program – This covers various brands, retail stores, attractions, and restaurants, where member employees can also get discounts. Again, use any relationships your business may have to both show support for your partners and reward your employees. Some lifestyle rewards you could offer include:
* Incentives: Giveaways, gift cards, and vouchers
* Shopping: Massive discounts on a variety of products, plus rewards points
* Travel: Savings on flights, hotels, and tours around the world<
* Tickets: Cheap tickets to the best attractions, sports events, and tours.
It’s important to foster a sense of achievement, recognition, and motivation amongst your staff, and an employee benefits program is an excellent way to encourage your employees to perform at their best while simultaneously showing gratitude for their work. Employees who feel rewarded and acknowledged are more motivated, happier, and more likely to be loyal to your company.
About the author
Nick Sims is the Founder and CEO of Edge Loyalty. With more than 22 years experience in marketing, promotions and incentive programs, Nick is committed to helping brands connect with their audience.