Are your employee recognition and reward programs paying off? Is it helping to motivate staff and supporting your retention efforts? Do they seem to be effective with some employees but not others?
If you’re not getting a return from your recognition efforts, it might be time to revisit and question whether these programs are tailored enough. After all, the same formats of recognition or reward do not appeal to everyone. i.e.
Some staff will be more motivated by monetary rewards, while others will find such targets daunting.
Some may crave to be publicly recognized for their contributions in front of the whole organization, while others would prefer a direct one-on-one thank you from their manager.
People are different, and so are their motivations. So it’s only logical that the same recognition systems won’t work for every employee.
In this post, we’ll break down the differences between recognition vs rewards, we’ll share six fresh ideas for recognizing and rewarding your staff, and delve into how to deliver these programs successfully.
Recognition and reward are often lumped together or used as terms interchangeably, but it’s important to make the distinction between each and when they should be used.
|Are tangible benefits like pay rises, bonuses or gifts.||Is intangible and comes in the form of feedback or praise.|
|Should always be accompanied by recognition||Can be given on its own|
|Are less personal||Is more personal|
|Are limited||Is unlimited|
|Often have a cost||Can be given for free|
Ultimately, recognition is all about encouraging positive behavior, boosting performance and retaining the right people, but the thing about changing behavior is, the same approach won’t be effective for every person.
Depending on personal attitudes, values and beliefs, certain forms of reward or recognition will have varying levels of effectiveness. In some cases, the wrong choice of recognition or reward could even be detrimental to performance.
The effectiveness of monetary incentives, for example, can be dependant on the nature of work your employees are doing.
Research from economics shows that significant monetary incentives or time pressures often result in decreased performance when it comes to tasks that require creativity or strategic thinking. Conversely, these incentives can work well to encourage performance in roles that are largely based on manual tasks.
Delayed forms of recognition like showcasing great work in quarterly company meetings, or delivering a pay rise in annual reviews, can also diminish effectiveness.
Recognition or reward works best when it’s delivered immediately, or as soon as possible after an achievement is made.
In this way, you can keep the momentum going and motivate employees to continue on their performance trajectory. Leaving recognition or reward too late risks employees becoming disheartened if they feel their efforts are going unnoticed, and hence productivity could fall again or even drop lower than before.
Bonuses pay rises, gifts… traditional forms of reward most of us will be familiar with.
People who value work-life balance or family can be motivated by the option of greater flexibility as a reward for good work. This could be given in the form of work from home days or extra time off.
Another form of reward that will appeal to certain team members, especially those in the early stage of their career, can be allocating new role responsibilities that give them more autonomy or an opportunity to extend their skills and gain experience. Depending on the degree of increased responsibility, this may also need to be accompanied by a remuneration increase.
4. Professional development
Professional development or training opportunities can appeal to staff at all levels of seniority, especially if it involves helping people gain an additional qualification.
To have its full effect, rewards should be matched with some form of recognition. This is where employees get to feel appreciated for their efforts.
Don’t underestimate the value in managers giving personal feedback or congratulating their direct reports for their efforts one-on-one. For some employees, this recognition is the most valuable and sincere, especially for those who may not enjoy being in the spotlight.
6. Public praise
Some staff will find being publicly recognized more meaningful and want to have their achievements shared in team meetings or other public forums.
Want to know what type of recognition matters to each of your people? Ask them.
Work questions on recognition into your employee engagement or continuous feedback process so employees get the opportunity to signal what type of reward may be most meaningful to them.
It’s important for individuals to know that different preferences are welcomed and accepted. You may find you get more honest answers by asking employees to select an option from a multiple-choice list, rather than providing a free text form.
Ideally, this information should be gathered as part of the onboarding process, so preferences are ready on file when it comes time to provide recognition to an employee for the first time. Established companies with existing staff could also simply send out a check-in pulse asking the same question to ensure equal details are available for every employee.
Working personality testing into the recruitment process can provide valuable insights into the motivations and values of individual employees. While it’s still important to directly ask people what forms of reward or recognition they prefer, aggregating this data can provide insights into what options you may want to make available to your workforce.
Okay so you’ve got some ideas for your reward and recognition program and how to tailor it to your people. Knowing all of this, what are some tactics we can use to make recognition and reward more successful?
Professional development reward
Implementing reward and recognition
All-too-often we find ourselves focusing on the negative, and what needs to be fixed or improved rather than the positive (don’t beat yourself up though, it’s actually human nature). It’s easy to miss the wins, or to forget to celebrate the positives.
The solution is simple – set and track employee goals in your HR software or system. That way you can monitor progress towards them and remove barriers or provide any support that’s needed along the way, and you’ll be automatically notified once they’ve been completed so that you can roll out the most suitable option above.
We hope these tips to have inspired you to reinvigorate your employee reward and recognition program. Need some guidance? Get in touch with our team to see how intelliHR could help you tailor your recognition.
intelliHR is a people management platform helping HR, leaders and managers enhance performance, culture, engagement and retention. With built-in HRIS and powerful real-time analytics, see how the platform works today.