STUDY: Points Programs Increase Employee Motivation and Engagement

Why wait until an employee’s 5-year service anniversary to recognize them? Points programs can motivate and engage employees daily!

Motivating and engaging employees isn’t easy. But points programs make it easier! Research shows these types of programs result in positive outcomes – for both organizations and their employees.

Based on the IRF’s survey, employees working for company that use a points program (vs. no points program) report each of the following:

Higher intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation comes from within. It stems from three basic needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In other words, we need to feel like we’re in charge of decisions, feel confident in our skills, and feel as though we belong.

Compared to employees without points programs, those with points programs were much more likely to agree their “work makes a difference.” Using a points program allows employees to see the impact of their work daily! These employees find themselves more motivated with a higher sense of purpose at work.

Higher organizational identification

Secondly, employees at companies with a points program are more likely to identify with their organization. They may even define themselves by their employment at said organization! Organizational identification is associated with benefits such as greater employee performance. These employees are also more likely to see their employer’s success as they own success. This means more loyalty and satisfaction!

Higher employee engagement

The cherry on top is increased employee engagement. Engaged employees are more productive and they drive greater customer satisfaction and financial performance.

It is important to note that points most effectively engage employees with less work experience as well as employees at smaller organizations. But that doesn’t mean more experienced employees and bigger organizations cannot also benefit! Consider a custom-tailored solution.


Aspects of points-based programs that just make sense…

  1. Broad-based – Programs often reach 100% of the workforce rather than simply the top performers. That means you can motivate and improve performance across a much larger group.
  2. Peer-to-peer – Recognition is not restricted to managers and leaders. Peers can thank and recognize each other too, which means employees are being appreciated more often. This is also a great way to build relationships.
  3. Range of rewards – Points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, cash, gift cards, company swag, and more. The options are virtually limitless, so every employee is bound to find something that excites them.
  4. Flexibility – Points program platforms can be integrated with HRIS, ERP, and other workforce software. This means recognition and points can be built into a company’s or team’s initiatives. For example, an HR leader promoting referrals can use points to enhance cash rewards for employees who give referrals.
  5. Tons of data Points programs produce tons of data. Analysts see who is being recognized, who is doing the recognizing, why recognition is being given, and the frequency of recognition. Patterns develop over time and tell a story of how employee engagement, retention, loyalty, and performance are being affected.

It seems crazy…that something so simple can have such an impact on an organization. Recognition has been proven to be effective in the workplace time and time again. Points programs are a way make giving recognition become an easy and frequent habit. And the outcomes of increased motivation, organizational identity, and engagement can’t be beaten!