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Here is a Method that is Helping Employers Know How to Reward Employees

Tags:  Management, Employee coaching, Motivating employees, Reward

Thank goodness for diversity. If employees were all the same – little cookie-cutter or Stepford employees – the workplace and the world would be pretty darn boring. And because of these differences you have to learn what kind of rewards work to motivate which employees.


Reward and recognition systems are a very important part of the workplace because they serve to acknowledge employees for their effort. In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll of 80,000 employees, recognition ranked four out of the 12 dimensions identified, behind 'doing what I do best (#3)', 'materials and equipment (#2)' and 'knowing what's expected (#1)'.


Unfortunately, reward and recognition programs can easily go wrong if not properly outlined. Here are the five key elements necessary to establish a reward program:

  • Allow employees to participate in developing the program and identifying the rewards. Depending on the structure of the program they may also be involved in selecting the recipients.
  • Establish predetermined specific behaviors or goals to reward.
  • Determine the key measurements for these behaviors or goals. 
  • Link recognition to performance through consistency and timeliness of the reward.
  • Communicate the program clearly to all employees.

By creating buy-in for the process and a sense of control over the program employees are more likely to respond positively when they receive a reward. So what rewards work best?


While many factors may affect which rewards motivate which employees, there really is only one way for you to get to the heart of the matter: ask. And while doing so would probably net you a laundry list of ideas, according to Business Group Inc. (BGI) (http://www.businessgroupinc.com/MIVA_Graphics/pdfs/Employee-Recognition-White-Paper.pdf) what most people think of as a reward – cash -- becomes ""invisible.""


Instead, BGI suggests that for a successful employee recognition program you need to find unique incentives that can help change the workplace culture. They suggest items such as:

  • Accumulated points used for merchandise redemption in an incentive catalog
  • Gift certificates, dinner certificates, movie and athletic tickets
  • Performance cards that, once filled, can be redeemed for rewards
  • Supervisor issued ""on the spot"" recognition slips for small acts of customer services that employees can redeem for merchandise

In addition, rewards should come as a surprise, be tailored to the individual and be personally delivered by you.


So while rewards and recognition programs vary depending on company need and employee population, there is one consistent truth: employees value recognition. And one of the smartest moves you can make is to involve your employees in the reward and recognition decision-making process by talking to them. Have you asked your employees lately?


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