Rewarding or recognizing members of the workforce is a standard component of most employee engagement efforts, but the way in which organizations approach the practice can vary.
In fact, during a discussion with our Partners in Improvement, we uncovered a variety of approaches to rewards and recognition programs. Some, like a service award, are very predictable; if you reach an anniversary, you are likely to receive one. Many other recognition programs include an element of surprise when exceptional service is spotted. Some rewards cost the organization little or nothing — such as a thank you note or a special parking place. Others are quite costly, such as a one year lease on a car or a $20,000 ‘President’s Award.’
Similarly, some programs are for teams, and others are for individuals.
Many of the rewards and recognition are after the fact, while some are announced and hyped in advance in order to encourage people to try for them.
But despite the variety of implementations, the objectives were really quite simple. An organization implements a reward and recognition program for one of these three reasons:
- To increase the recipient’s satisfaction and happiness (and hopefully engagement) with the organization and his or her role within it
- To motivate continuation of certain types of behaviors and accomplishments
- To motivate people to work to achieve certain measurable results.
However, regardless of purpose, the amazing variety of program types allowed us to explore the benefits and unexpected drawbacks of each, which will be the subject of our next post.