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Do your rewards resonate with your company’s values?


Your company’s values are meant to be a guiding force.

But often they lie dormant, displayed only on your website for clients to glaze over.

For core values to become really valuable, you need to create brand custodians. That is, you need your employees to develop a deep connection with the guiding principles that govern your organisation.

This article explores some of the workplace and motivation factors that any values-driven organisation should acknowledge when curating its rewards.

No more carrot and stick

We’ve come a long way since philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed the carrot and stick method of motivation.

That was during the Industrial Revolution when machines had just showed up on the factory floor. Workflows and workers were managed in straight assembly lines. And an employee reward was compared to giving a donkey a carrot for moving forward and a poke with a stick for bad behaviour. No wonder the plague was rampant.

The nature of work today

We’re currently experiencing the 4th Industrial Revolution. It’s a period of disruptive change where machine learning is creating a shift in the way we work. Predictions are that up to 47% of jobs in the future will be automated.

But as Erik Brynjolfsson, director at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, says; “The future is not preordained by machines. It’s created by humans.”

Emotional intelligence is a skill that only humans possess. For businesses and their leaders, values-centric behaviour will be the anchor in a sea of uncertainty.

The point being, if you’re looking for something to hold onto in today’s ever-changing business landscape, human values are the key.

Aligning personal and organisational values

Richard Barrett, international thought leader in values-driven organisational transformation and development says that “Values are at the heart of human decision‐making. When we work in an organisation whose culture aligns with our personal values, we are able to bring our full selves to work. We not only bring our energy, our creativity, and our enthusiasm, we also bring our commitment to the well‐being of our associates and the overall success of the organisation. Unleashing this energy is tantamount to liberating the corporate soul.”

Simply put, your employees’ personal values are a source of human capital, particularly when they align with your organisational values.

In the past, rewards served as incentives (carrots, if you will), motivating people towards the achievement of specific goals. Today, we know that rewards are multi-dimensional experiences. Also, that they can provide employees, not only with a sense of achievement, but also a sense of meaning, and belonging, and self-worth.

And that’s why it’s crucial that your rewards resonate with your values and that they, in turn, align with people’s personal values.

But how do you achieve this alignment?

A great place to start is with an understanding of the multiple drivers of human behaviour. Including rewards that appeal to these different drives helps you to forge lasting connections with employees and deepen their loyalty. With fully engaged employees, whose personal values align with your organisational values, value creation is the inevitable result.

So, what drives us, really?

In 2010, Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria (together with Harvard Business School) developed a compelling model, which serves to explain what drives human beings. It’s called The Four Drive Model and it states that at any one time, we will feel the need to:

  • Acquire – money, power, trophies, cars…
  • Defend – that which we think belongs to us.
  • Bond – as in form relationships, connect, engage and interact with others.
  • Create – from learning new skills to exploring new experiences and following our curiosity.

Based on the model, these drives – to acquire, defend, bond and create – summon powerful emotions in us, which, behavioural science tells us, influence our actions and decision-making.

Gain insight into employees’ behavioural analytics

Personal, meaningful and memorable reward experiences are the most effective. And in today’s data-driven workplaces, with access to people analytics and behavioural data, you can reward your people personally and purposefully with relative ease.

The power of a values-driven, behaviourally-orientated rewards program goes hand in hand with a strong company culture. Susan Peters, Senior Vice President, Human Resources at General Electric says that “We define employee experience simply as seeing the world through the eyes of our employees, staying connected, and being aware of their major milestones.”

A holistic, human-centred approach drives business results too

In the current climate of prolific, technological change, human-centric solutions are the name of the game. Much like your customers, employees are seeking authentic brand experiences. They want to connect with you.

Studies show that happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy ones. What this highlights is that there’s more to business than making money. Your bottom line is critical. But as economic progress goes, you’re nothing without an energised workforce.

Reinforced values = success

If the power of corporate values lies in their ability to inform, guide and unite people, then finding ways to weave your ethos, beliefs and corporate behaviours into your rewards is critical.

There is no other company quite like yours. You, your offering and your employees are a unique ecosystem. If you’re able to express your authentic brand story (and value proposition) through your rewards, you’re forging a powerful connection. The result? An aligned and emotionally invested workforce. Priceless

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Alana Moyes

About Alana Moyes

Alana is a content creator and consultant who helps business owners find their authentic brand story.

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