Rewarding Employees

As times change, so do the expectations of employees in the workplace (Robb, 2007). They want to be appreciated for their contributions, and employers need to be creative in ways of doing so.

Employees appreciate being rewarded for their hard work.

Here are a few reasons why providing recognition in the workplace is a must–especially during tough times. So come on, managers, it’s time for some reward lessons!

Recognition Is FREE!

One of the most effective, yet powerful ways to reward and recognize employees is also the cheapest. A simple “great job” or “thank you” in a spontaneous and timely manner can mean a lot to anyone. Don’t forget to mention the task, project or behavior being recognized, and be sincere.

This simple recognition makes employees feel better about themselves, their work and the company (Cadrain, 2003). It also can motivate them to achieve higher levels of performance in hopes of receiving additional compliments.

Doing this in front of peers and fellow employees will have an even bigger impact–it will motivate other employees to start thinking about how they can receive similar recognition. However, repetition can be predictable, so have a variety of praises prepared for employees.

According to a Gallup poll, the increase among workers who are completely satisfied with the amount of recognition they receive went from 47 to 48 percent in a three-year period. The increase is not much different than in 2002, when 46 percent were completely satisfied (Saad, 2010). With only half of the American workforce satisfied with the amount of recognition, there is much room for improvement!

The following are some tips to provide more recognition:

1. Be specific.

It is highly rewarding for employees to have a clear idea of how they are doing, and where improvement may be needed. Aside from the actual performance appraisal, employers have the opportunity to show a genuine interest in employees and their careers, and this is one of the greatest rewards they can provide.

When recognition is on the table, feel free to provide more autonomy, control and decision-making responsibilities! Not only does this help improve employee performance, but it also signifies that employees can be trusted to handle more. But remember–job enrichment is earned by those whose performance is consistently strong, and should be received as a reward for excellence.

2. Reward those whose performances have improved.

Not all employees are stars; some may find themselves struggling more than others in achieving predetermined goals. A manager’s role is to make sure the non-stars are receiving coaching, guidance and support.

With some luck, a lot of determination and hard work, those who struggle may surprise you. Recognition at this point is positive reinforcement that will encourage employees who struggle with their job to continue their successful behavior. Even if these are not the Most Valuable Players (MVPs) on the team, they can be recognized as the most-improved players! Like MVPs, employees who improve should be singled out in front of the group and praised for their performances.

3. Good publicity can work miracles.

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