Most companies are well aware that they need to have a meaningful employee recognition and rewards program to attract top talent. However, employee rewards and recognition programs have another important benefit that most companies don’t consider: they are a great recruiting tool.

A meaningful rewards and recognition program is a cost-effective way to reduce employee turnover, increase productivity, and encourage happiness at work. In this article, we’ll explain how implementing and promoting a rewards and recognition program can help you both attract and retain top talent at your company.

Recruiting Has Changed: So Should Your Company

The current job market is candidate-driven. With record low unemployment, candidates are now in a position of power because more often than not, candidates choose companies, not the other way around. As a result, the way we recruit has changed, and the hiring market is more competitive than ever.

If you want to attract a quality candidate, you need to differentiate from your competitors. Ask yourself why top talent should work for your company instead of your competitors. Candidates are searching for more than just a high salary and comprehensive benefits; they expect employers to be appreciative of their efforts and achievements. They want a great place to work — a company with an inspiring company culture — that recognizes and rewards their employees.

In SHRM’s most recent survey on employee recognition, 80% of HR leaders reported that their organization currently has an employee rewards and recognition program. 89% reported that their programs help improve employee relationships, organizational culture, employee engagement, and organizational values. This means that it’s important for HR leaders to treat employee recognition as not just a program, but a management practice with a real and measurable business impact.

Three Steps to Attracting Top Talent

Step 1: Implement a Great Employee Rewards and Recognition Program

If you want to use an employee rewards and recognition program to attract talent, you first need to implement a successful one at your company. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

Tie Your Rewards and Recognition Program to Your Company Core Values

New data suggests most employees don’t know their company core values, which are a crucial component to establishing your company culture. To strengthen your company’s goals, reward and recognize your employees for demonstrating behavior aligned with your company core values.

Reward and Recognize Behavior, Not Just Results

Many rewards and recognition programs are entirely results-focused, but rewarding behaviors you want to reinforce in the workplace is a more effective way to positively influence company culture. Rewarding desirable behavior leads to desired results and encourages others to reinforce the same behavior.

Make Recognition Easy and Frequent

To increase adoption rates of your company’s employee rewards and recognition program, it should be very simple and easy to use. Luckily, there are many modern employee engagement platforms which enable you to seamlessly reward and recognize your employees!

Encourage Peer-to-Peer Recognition

If you want to build a lively culture of appreciation in your company, encourage peer-to-peer recognition. Recognition coming from peers and managers is more effective, builds a culture of appreciation in your workplace, and builds stronger peer-to-peer relationships.

Step 2: Offer Unique Rewards that Help Employees Grow

What do top performers want?

Top performers are driven by curiosity, learning, and the need to constantly improve. This is why offering unique employee rewards that enable employees to learn and grow are key. Offer rewards in the form of career coaching, educational programs aligned with your employees’ interests, conference attendance, and trainings. Learning and development is key to attract top talent and it’s important to reinforce that your company is invested in employee growth.

Step 3: Promote Your Rewards and Recognition Program Internally

What’s the most effective way to showcase your employee recognition and rewards program and reach your potential candidates?

Qualified candidates spend time on social media when researching job offerings, and you can leverage this to your advantage. Use social media to highlight your top performers and share employee experiences with your rewards and recognition program. For example, you can post photos of your employees receiving rewards and capture moments of public recognition on your social channels.

Tip: Rewards and Recognition Starts with Hiring

One final tip: recognition begins during the hiring process.

Have you ever considered sending a personalized gift to your chosen candidate along with the job offer? This personalized touch can make your offer a special moment that will delight not only your new hires, but also their family and friends.

Interested in learning more? Check out TalentLyft’s infographic, 15 Recruiting Trends in 2019!

How Rewards and Recognition Can Help You Attract Top Talent

This guest post is authored by Anja Zojčeska. Anja is an HR enthusiast and a Recruitment Marketing Specialist at TalentLyft. She is curious about the latest marketing trends and passionate about applying them to recruitment.