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Rewarding hyggelig: supporting a good company culture through simple reward





Posted on: 06 December 2016

Rewarding hyggelig: supporting a good company culture through simple reward

HR Reward | Reward Consultancy | Reward Intelligence | Reward Strategy |

It seems like everyone wants a bit more hygge in their life these days and thanks to Sarah Lund, Birgitte Nyborg and Saga Norén, the Glendinning household has seen spending on candles rise at an alarming rate over the last few years.

The Danish term, ‘hygge’ is often referred to as meaning cosy, warm and friendly, but it is more complicated than that. Hygge is a personal thing and can mean different things to different people. For me it is about making the ordinary special, acknowledging the moment and enjoying simple rituals. The best definition I have come across is, ‘the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things’ (unattributed).

Often our clients are keen to develop or reinforce their company culture through good reward policies and practice. Clients now see a strong company culture that is lived and breathed by employees not as a nice-to-have, but a must-have. Reward and reward strategy have a significant impact on a company’s culture in terms of design and structure, but also feel. Attracting and retaining talent is more complicated than offering a good salary and a pension scheme. Employees want to feel valued, appreciated, cosy – they want to feel hygge. 

The first step to creating your reward hygge is finding meaning in the ordinary. A reward strategy doesn’t need to be long, complicated, and unforgiving. It needs to give you an approach to answering any questions you have about reward. It could be as simple as, “we will pay you fairly compared to your peers”. Alternatively, it could be a set of principles that outline what you want reward in your organisation to achieve. Whatever it looks like, your reward strategy should give you comfort that you are making the right decisions to attract, motivate and retain individuals.

The next step is creating simple rituals to enjoy the ordinary. While your reward strategy will go a long way to support the culture, it is the implementation of the strategy through your reward mechanisms where employees will ‘feel’ it. Having a clear and transparent pay structure will help you to create simple rituals that act out your reward strategy. A clear pay structure will also help your employees see and understand the fairness in your decision making, giving them comfort in the process, as well as showing them a career path that will excite and engage them.

These simple rituals are not about simply turning the handle and wading through decisions and processes. Hyggelig reward is also about acknowledging the moment and not being lost in detail and process. A key aspect of reward is recognition and a strong reward offering, ensuring recognition is relevant and timely to gain the best levels of engagement. Allowing managers flexibility to reward their teams when they have done something great, rather than wait for an end of year incentive scheme to pay out, will help build that feeling of togetherness and intimacy needed for good hygge. 

Finally, hygge isn’t something you can buy; just like a good company culture. It takes clear terms of engagement to ensure everyone is bought in, knows how to behave, and knows what to expect from others’ behaviour. Where the Danes have The Law of Jante, which basically states you are no better than anyone else, a good company culture will have clear values and ethics.

Take away the candlelight of hygge and you are left with clear, simple, and well thought reward mechanisms that will help you to engage, attract and retain your employees. At this time of year though why shouldn’t we feel warm and cosy, managing our reward strategy by candlelight with a hot cup of coffee and a thick blanket?

To find out more about how we can help with your reward strategy, get in touch: 020 3457 0894.

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