Reward and recognition programs are not one size fits all. You can create an informal or a formal program. What’s important is that your program is linked meaningfully to your company’s strategy.
Basics to consider:
- Provide Immediate Recognition: Recognize and praise the employee as soon as the task is completed. Employees may feel unappreciated if they are not recognized in a timely manner, which may decrease their motivation.
- Recognize Small Improvements: Even though a manager may view an employee’s improvement as a small accomplishment, the employee might view the same improvement as a significant accomplishment. All accomplishments, no matter how large or how small, should not go without some form of positive recognition.
- Provide Incentives: Always provide some form of incentive, which does not always mean a monetary reward. There are many non-monetary incentives you can use to show employees they are appreciated and respected (i.e. verbal or written thank-you, recognition in staff meeting, etc.).
- Recognize What Is Important to Employees: Employees should feel that their managers care about them as human beings. Make sure that recognition is on a personal level and is sincere. Employees need to feel appreciated and respected. Show employees that they are valuable assets to the company and worthy of praise.
For a formal program follow these steps:
- Determine who the program is intended to motivate
- Determine why and how this program will benefit your organization – what is the goal?
- Establish a budget
- Determine who is eligible for recognition
- Define performance measures that trigger an award
- Identify who are the decision makers in approving rewards
- Choose the awards – employees are motivated by different things and it may be most effective to offer both cash and noncash incentives to make the program meaningful to all participants
- Communicate the program
- Present the awards
- Continuously evaluate the program’s effectiveness – be prepared to change and modify the program
Customize your rewards and recognition to align with what motivates your employees:
- Do they want to be involved in work decisions?
- Do they want to have fun?
- Do they want to have variety?
- Do they want to know their opinions matter?
- Do they feel empowered to make their own decisions?
- Do they enjoy being part of a team?
- Are their strengths being used?
- Are they being encouraged?
- Do they feel part of your overall company strategy and goals? Are they connected to your mission?
Things that will de-motivate your employees:
- Violating trust
- Inconsistency and playing favorites
- Unclear expectations
- Being taken for granted