The Importance of Rewarding Employees for Their Work


rewardsWhen a tree falls in the forest and there’s nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound? Likewise, when a good employee does great work, or goes outside the scope of her job description, do your managers take notice? And if they do, do THEY make a sound about it? If YES, then you already acknowledged the importance of rewarding employees for their good job.

Good for you! But keep answering to the next questions and find out if your hr management work is as brilliant as you think.

Do your managers or you draw attention to, acknowledge, celebrate, and recognize the employee that done a great job?

Are they capitalizing on this opportunity to communicate such an example of excellence to that employee’s peers and teammates – thus reinforcing the values that drive the organization’s culture?

Herein lies a critical touch-point between a company’s brand and its most important constituent – the internal stakeholders. Is it being leveraged to its fullest potential?

And I’m not just referring to the big things, such as selling above quota or shattering safety records. Those are, of course, the obvious (and expected) situations that probably are already and should continue to be rewarded.

Litlle things that make HUGE difference 

What I’m specifically talking about are the little things that collectively make a BIG difference to your firm’s overall performance and operation.  Those “above-and-beyond” behaviors that truly indicate that this employee is fully on board.

There’s no better way to foster a culture of recognition than by influencing the normative behaviors of “how things are done here.” When people start seeing those values lived and enacted in the office, then their likelihood of “getting on the bus” will drastically improve. Frequent rewarding employees practices visible to all employees ignites an engaged workforce!

“Carrots” employee recognition principle

A recent book, The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, follows our logic. It proposes that the most effective managers go out of their way to learn about their employees’ interests and lives outside of work.  Rewarding employees process should be individualized based on what makes their people tick.

Calling them ‘carrots,’ these formal recognitions appeal to intrinsic drivers, and should be practiced regularly to maximize motivational impact of any reward and recognition program. We wholeheartedly agree.

And so would motivation guru Victor Vroom, who’s Expectancy Theory states that employees will be motivated when they believe that increased effort will yield better job performance, which in turn leads to additional rewards that are valued by the employee. This is the type of positive cycle that sustains exceptional performance.

But how about rewarding employees frequency? How often should we do it?

Reward employees frequencyWell, even though we’re talking about rewarding everyday behaviors, the good news is that it need not be carried out every day.

For example, Gostick and Elton propose a tiered schedule of rewarding employees, with a (free, “thank you” note) formal acknowledgment of good work be performed every 7 business days.

More substantial rewards will be offered at less frequent intervals throughout the year. This should be doable, right?

Make rewarding employees a common work

And to take the onus off management and improve the likelihood of organization-wide adoption, the responsibility can and should be spread throughout the company.

Allow everybody to participate in the act of recognizing positive behavior. Distribute the power of handing out spot awards to all your employees by formalizing peer-to-peer recognition as part of the non-cash incentive strategy, and you will see your employee engagement levels increase. No doubt about it!

Also, keep in mind that those rewards need to be commensurate with the level of impact to the organization; if they’re not, they can actually be de-motivating. That’s part of Vroom’s theory, too. And we definitely don’t want to create that effect through our incentive initiatives.

This is quite an undertaking, huh? It sure is, but employee engagement is a 2-way process, where rewarding employees plays a huge role. When employees see and feel that the organization takes notice of all their contributions – big and small alike – they will reciprocate.

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