Recent posts have focused on “rewards and recognition,” a crucial component of enterprise engagement.
We shared a range of perspectives based on discussions with our Partners in Improvement groups, who agreed that these programs are typically designed to achieve one of three objectives:
- increased commitment
- increased desired behavior or motivation
- increased measurable results
Based on their collective experience the Partners identified the following eight criteria or best practices for an effective rewards and recognition program:
- Keep it simple: The most cost effective method of all seemed to be the simple thank you note. The notes, if done well, are widely appreciated and cost nothing more than the time and attention to set up a system of information when an individual or team deserved a thank you.
- Be very careful about extrinsic rewards: these can cause more trouble than benefits. Extrinsic rewards require very clear metrics, auditing, and careful, even elaborate design to ensure a focus on the rewarded metrics will not lead to deterioration of other facets of the organization. Obviously, this makes it hard to ‘keep it simple.’
- Be specific: it is much more effective to recognize a team or a person for a specific result or accomplishment than for generally doing a good job.
- Be timely: the closer in time the reward or recognition is to the accomplishment being recognized, the more impactful it will be.
- Be consistent: Be sure that you respond to comparable accomplishments in comparable ways.
- Be authentic: Sincerity in words of appreciation and praise are essential to an effective system of reward and recognition.
- Communicate widely: Publicity helps extend the celebration and communicates widely what is valued by the organization.
- Use team rewards to encourage better organization-wide results.