Recognition and Reward

Mar 20 / Margaret Stockley

Without intentional gratitude and recognition, employees will likely find another place to work.

Research shows that companies that reward their employees on a regular basis not only remain competitive with fewer turnovers, but their employees are happier, more resilient, and less stressed. The year-end bonuses, workplace parties, and gift-swaps may be wrapped up for another twelve months however now can be an ideal time to build-upon what you’ve recently shared collectively and consider how you can continue to motivate your employees and colleagues as the coming year unfolds. Can this be done without negatively impacting the benefits budget?

An article by Kenneth Thomas in the Ivey Business Journal emphasized the importance of Intrinsic Motivation in the workplace and in particular a four-step self-management process that requires employees to make a judgment about:

1. The meaningfulness of their purpose

2. The degree of choice they have for doing things the right way

3. The competence of their performance

4. The actual progress being made toward fulfilling the purpose

Intrinsic Motivation also works alongside the external tangible benefits such as one’s professional role and having a good salary, as well as generating a workforce that enjoys work-life balance, job satisfaction, appreciation for activities completed, and challenging assignments.

Dissatisfied employees do not feel they are realizing their potential; they feel a lack of communication or that their work lacks purpose. These emotions increase stress on the individual, place limitations on their ability to perform their daily work well, resulting in a disengaged worker who eventually leaves the company, which increases recruitment costs.

Employees need to know that they are seen and that their efforts are appreciated. A 2015 study on employee rewards found that monetary incentives eventually become less effective and actually decreased performance. However, when incentives were combined with motivational language such as “Good Job” and “Thank You,” the results were improved performance in the quantity of work by over 20 percent and an improvement in the quality of work by 40 percent.

Combining the use of incentives and other benefits with regular praise and recognition can be a cost-effective and motivating tool to use throughout the year. Also, by encouraging participation in the decision-making process it empowers employees to feel that they are making a worthy contribution.

This creates a performance-driven cycle of positive reinforcement. Built from the top down, the results are trust, engagement, and significantly higher job satisfaction, which in turn reduces the perception of stress and allows employees to manage work-life conflicts better.

Without intentional gratitude and recognition, employees will likely find another place to work.

Connectivity is enhanced by valuing an employee’s contribution through visible support from their manager and peers. Building a recognition and reward strategy sends a clear signal about the contribution that an individual, or a team, has made to the company and how meaningful it is. In turn, motivated employees enjoy their work and promote the company and its products passionately to friends as a great place to work.
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