Workplace Recognition and Incentive Programs

Are Your Reward & Recognition Programs on Target?

Posted on May 18, 2010 by Carl Bonura in Uncategorized

Simply put, it is crucial to identify a particular activity that is known to be a key to your success and then put a program in place to reward that behavior every time it occurs.

People tend to do things if they feel that it is in their own best interest. Organizations need to connect what employees want for themselves to overall organizational goals by rewarding behavior in a way that is meaningful to them and their own self-interest. By pointing out that a particular behavior is rewarded, you could be well on your way toward reinforcing the performance that will help achieve business goals. Moreover, people don’t walk away from companies they feel care about them, so rewarding them can stabilize your talent pool.

To help assure your recognition process is on track, consider the following factors:

Be strategic and make sure it reinforces your company values.

• Make your approach personal. Think about what will be truly memorable for the employee.

• Be inclusive. Your program should be able to occur in all directions: top-down, peer-to-peer, etc.

Include easy-to-use, robust tools with appropriate reporting capabilities.

The process should be fast, requiring few approvals, so the award is closely tied to the action performed.

Use a cross-functional team to design the process (payroll, IT, communications, HR) so it appeals to all targeted functions.

Conduct ongoing communications to inform and encourage use.

(No Good Deed Goes Unrewarded, Scott Himelstein, HR Magazine, January, 2010. p. 27.)

When creating your program, be aware of the tendency to assume “one size fits all” and that everyone will respond positively to the same program or practice. While it may seem difficult to individualize recognition programs, there are ways to help heighten effectiveness:

Each manager should spend time on a regular basis with each employee to determine how that employee is best motivated.

Managers should find ways to integrate the identified type of recognition into the employee’s development plan.

Recognition needs to be given consistently.

Be sure there are opportunities for management to recognize everyone’s contributions.

Clearly communicate the reason for the recognition.

  • Provide opportunities for peer recognition that can result in increased productivity.