We often associate recognition and reward with positive and negative reinforcement of behaviour. There is, however, no need to spray your co- workers with water to show disapproval. And, although chocolates are a good start, there are more effective ways to reward employees.
Why does workplace recognition and reward matter?
From babies, we are rewarded for positive developments, be that through verbal praise or material gifts. Children are rewarded with gold-stars when they correctly complete a task. Students are rewarded with certificates, which allow them to progress down a particular path. Adults reward themselves with holidays after a long year of work. And so on.
Reward in the Workplace
If you take away reward, and with it a sense of achievement, employees can feel saddened, angry and unresponsive. Why would anyone maintain high performance or loyalty for a company that does not show their appreciation?
In the article ‘Boosting Morale, Not Just Ducklings and Cake’ we noted how exercise classes, table tennis tournaments, free lunches and ball-pits can be used as a means of reward.
It is, in actuality, very easy to reward your staff. But sometimes this is an issue in itself.
Take this scenario…
Higher management recognise how hard everyone is working. To reward employees, a masseuse is sent into the office every Monday. This goes on for weeks. Until one employee says he can’t come in on Mondays. Another employee doesn’t like massages and wants the money it costs to use on other things. The masseuse can’t come in one Monday, everyone complains about it. Higher management is now fed up with the trivialities of what was a nice gesture, so stops the massages altogether. This results in more aggravation as staff now feel entitled to what was provided.
Know Your Employees
You need to recognise that not everyone handles recognition and reward in the same way. Some may relish applause and whistling. Others may shrink back in embarrassment. Football tickets are great, but made redundant in the hands of a golfing nut. Before rewards are dished out, understand your employees.
This is easy to do within a small office. But, if you do not have time to get to know a 500+ work-force scattered all over the world, use staff surveys. Ask questions such as ‘What is the best way you have been rewarded? How would you like to be rewarded in the future?’ Do this as soon as you hire anyone. That way you can see how people like to be thanked and avoid embarrassments down the line.
It is important that rewards are given sporadically. We all love celebrations, but if you had Valentines twenty times a year, it would lose its novelty. The same goes for rewards. Keep people on their toes by not making them an expectation.
Pansensic work with organisations from all over the world in a wide range of sectors. What they have in common is the understanding that the experiences of their staff provide game-changing insights. If you want to know how your employees feel about your business, and its rewards and recognition process, contact the team.