Best Practices for Points-Based Programs

Dear Levy,

We’re implementing an employee recognition program and it has become my job to assign points values to tasks employees can complete to earn rewards. Our points system will allow employees to redeem their earned points for merchandise and incentives in our rewards catalog. I want to be fair in how points are awarded and redeemed. What are some best practices for setting points values?

-- Program Manager 


Dear Program Manager,

Congratulations on implementing an employee recognition program! Implementing a program is an exciting journey and I can’t wait for you to start seeing the benefits!

Customizing your program and setting points values is just one step in the journey. Determining best practices for use of rewards and recognition programs begins with determining the type of tasks employees will be rewarded for completing. The program allows employees and managers to recognize and reward the right behaviors when they occur. Here are a few tips on setting up your program:

  1. Aligned Rewards with Company Goals and Values. Award points to employees who achieve specific goals or demonstrate a work ethic that aligns with the company values. If these goals are significant to whole company success, they should be rewarded with higher points values.
  2. Recognize Milestones. Create a point scale that awards points for employees who have reached performance milestones and service anniversaries. Points should reflect the level of achievement earned. For example, an employee who has been with the company for 5 years might receive 500 points, but someone who is celebrating a 10-year anniversary could receive 1,000 points.
  3. Give Everyday Recognition. Don’t forget that birthdays and achievement outside the workplace should also be recognized. Consider setting small points values that celebrate these life events. Give anywhere between 5 and 10 points for celebrating a birthday. Or 2 to 5 points for a goal or life event that occurs outside the workplace.
  4. Reward Program Engagement. As employees and managers are utilizing the program’s tools, consider awarding small points values for their participation. Give 1 point to those who utilize peer-to-peer recognition like on-the-spot cards and e-cards. Encourage managers to use learn-and-earn knowledge quizzes and award points to employees who complete the quizzes.
  5. Create Programs and Earn More. Employee recognition programs include a host of events and tasks employees can complete to earn rewards. Programs can involve job training, healthy living exercises, or participating in workplace improvement committees.

The choice is yours when it comes to setting up the points values for rewards in your workplace. There really is no right or wrong way to do it, but it does take time and thought. If you are worried about fairness, always make sure that the tasks you are awarding points for align with your company goals and values. Employees will be more motivated to participate if they can see that earning points and rewards are attainable. Structure your points values around a pre-determined set of goals and programs and your employees should have no issue following along and staying engaged.


Good luck,

Recognition Rachel

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