The role of rewards and recognition in employee motivation
Culture of recognition is an important lever to build a high performing workforce. In an organization with high performance culture, employees feel inspired and motivated to give their best and make discretionary efforts to ensure organization’s growth in market place. Thus, to win over customers, it is extremely important for the organization to first win over their employees. It was well said, “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace” and this phrase I believe appears to hold true because after all, culture is an umbrella, which differentiates and defines the success of the organization.
Besides, rewards and recognition programs that are aligned with organizational values and objectives can influence desired behavioural outcomes and play an important role in asserting an employee’s sense of belongingness and commitment to organizations’ objectives.
However, there are two key points to be kept in mind while designing an effective Rewards & Recognition Program. First, the Organizations have to focus on Total Rewards Culture specifically balancing compensation and benefits, professional and personal growth opportunities, work-life balance and enhance the softer aspects of values in an organization. Compensation design should balance Fixed & Variable Pay, Benefits, Medium and long term Rewards. It is important to demonstrate linkage of these programs to the objectives of the organization. When the workforce senses that they are part of a larger picture, they are far more likely to offer creative solutions and act on improving their overall performance in the workplace. Reward programs work if they are sturdily interrelated to business intents and the employees know what is expected of them. Hence, clear goal setting with defined measurements should be the starting point of the program. Benefits that are designed should be market competitive and relevant for changing times and needs. There is no one size fits all rewards program, it needs to be customized basis the demographics of an organization. The millennial workforce increasingly values experiences over monetary benefits. Today’s environment post COVID-19 era will reiterate Organizations’ focus on Employee Well-Being and Health Benefits. Career Planning and Individual development as a part of Total Rewards can go a long way to have engaged and motivated employees.
The second important point is that a great recognition program can fail if it is not juxtaposed with culture of instant recognition, appreciation by co-workers, peers and superiors. Recognition should happen whenever one notices an accomplishment or behaviour worthy of praise and not just on the designated employee appreciation days. In addition, a peer-to-peer recognition program helps in refining employee engagement due to an augmented sense of connection and belonging. It also fast-tracks alliance across teams that promotes improved business productivity.
In fact, as more millennials and gen Z workers enter the workforce, the significance of a reward system to upturn motivation is becoming even greater. Even though these workers need fair compensation and benefits, they also want a meaningful and rewarding job. A big chunk of this meaningful work is recognition for a job well done along with awards for their efforts.
Simply put, the significance of rewarding employees in an organization is that it motivates people to work hard, work smart and be more productive. It is well said, “People will always work harder when they know they are valued.”
An effective Reward Program can only be successful if communicated in a simple and transparent manner. Excellent programs can fail if they are not communicated in time and a manner in which it is understood by everyone across the organization. It is also important to solicit continuous feedback on the program.
Engaged employees who feel that their personal and professional goals are aligned are less likely to leave organizations. Effective Reward and Recognition Programs help achieve that.Motivated and happy teams contribute to the bottom line – and the difference is significant.
I’ll conclude with words of Stephen R. Covey - "Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers."