To improve the performance of employees, companies generally offer more money as an incentive. New research is showing that symbolic kinds of incentives, such as cards congratulating the employee, public recognition, or awarding of a certificate can greatly increase employees’ intrinsic motivation, their performance, and even their retention.
That’s because these types of recognition demonstrate a company’s appreciation and respect for their employees. And research has also shown that when employees feel valued and supported, it not only increases their well-being but helps the entire company.
Rewards and recognition can be very effective. But to get the most out of them, it is important to fit them into the culture of your company. Here’s what matters most about recognition.
Who delivers the recognition
The person who is giving recognition is important. And companies need to consider who will have the most impact when giving recognition. This person often sets the tone for business, it is essential that the appropriate superiors are assigned for this recognition.
When the recognition is delivered
The timing of the recognition can also affect its impact. In some environments, for example, which are more stressful and unpredictable, feedback every day that includes recognition for the work done could have a significant impact.
But in other more relaxed environments, giving it every day may look like you are just going through the motions.
But research has shown that recognition delivered at certain times can have a bigger impact. For example, if it’s done at the start of a new quarter or at the end of a major project, it can really give a big boost to employee motivation.
How it is delivered
Whether the award should be given in public or not is a judgment call that should be based on your situation.
Research on this has delivered mixed results. Some studies have shown that giving recognition to employees publicly helps to boost the motivation and performance of everyone in a workgroup. However, other research has shown that recognizing employees publicly created friction with other workers and hindered performance.
Details are important
Employees can tell the difference between a slapdash effort and one where the employer took the time and effort to really put together something meaningful. With a certificate, for example, it’s easy to see whether the employer hastily scribbled something or took the time to have it professionally done.
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