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How to Implement Rewards and Recognition in the Workplace

Want to learn how to incorporate rewards and recognition into your work environment? Knowing how to properly recognize someone and reward them for their good work is essential for any leader and it might be simpler than you think.

For recognition to be effective, you must do it in real-time and make it personalized. According to the employee engagement expert Margy Bresslour, engaged employees are crucial to the prosperity of any organization. Employee engagement strategies don’t work if they are created with the hope of receiving something in exchange, as the true purpose and lack of honesty eventually come out. Bresslour believes that these strategies will most likely worsen the problem of disengaged employees.

How hard is it to recognize people when they do good work? Not hard at all! Erika Andersen gave us a simple example to illustrate this:

“Think about the last time you said something kind to your kid or your spouse; like ‘thanks for taking out the trash.’ Employees need the same thing, and it’s that simple.”

Therefore, recognition at work must become a natural part of a successful leader. Organizations need to help leaders understand the benefits of employee recognition and the impact it can have on a business. Furthermore, recognition must be consistent and honest. Everyone in the organization should be accountable for recognizing each other, particularly managers.

As David Zinger said,

“We should worry every day we fail to recognize someone. This is not some kind of soft mushy thing it is about being human. The bottom line is not the bottom, it is supported by the work of all in the organization.”

Recognition at work is not only nice to have but is also a real need. There are so many types of recognition that can be implemented in the workplace. Building a continuous feedback culture, through real-time recognition launches your firm into a category of more attractive companies to work at faster than the speed of light. Recognition in the workplace has a tremendous impact on the business. Josh Bersin presented us with a real case of successful employee recognition at JetBlue. They implemented a peer-to-peer recognition software strategy focused on company values. The result? Employee satisfaction grew by 88%. The science behind it has to do with oxytocin, known as the “love chemical”, a hormone that is released when you appreciate or recognize someone. This hormone makes us feel more content, carefree, and collaborative, thus satisfaction increases.

5 simple but essential tips on how you can implement rewards and recognition:

 1. Say why they matter and why their work matters

This tip can be found in every single article when researching this topic. Turns out it is extremely important to state specifically what you are recognizing people about. What exactly did they do? Why and how did it matter? It is vital to be specific because it identifies and reinforces the desired behavior. People feel the most valued when rewards and recognition are sincere and attached to a specific performance or good outcome. Employees respond to recognition of their behavior, but more importantly, how their actions add value to the team or organization. Susan Mazza believes that everyone who performs well deserves recognition for their behavior and its results.

2. Go beyond the “good job everyone”

To recognize someone, say thank you often, and do so in a specific and individual way. The more specific you are about what you’re appreciating or recognizing, the better. It makes the recognition a lot more significant, and the people who were recognized are more likely to sustain that practice in the future. The key is to get to know who people are, not just what they do. Know your people as individuals. Patti Johnson taught us that motivation is different for everyone, so understand the differences – no one size fits all!

3. Give rewards and recognition in real-time

We are living in a more digital time than any other. As such, we expect everything to happen not just fast, but in real-time. Employees require the same approach when it comes to recognizing and rewarding their contributions within the workplace. Rewards and recognition in real-time are not only important for employees but also for Human Resources and Team Leaders. They can obtain real-time data and see which values are the most endorsed.

Recognize your employees right when things happen. When it’s out of context it doesn’t have the same impact. By recognizing them in real-time, you can make sure that person will remember your action and why their contribution was good.

4. Reward accordingly

While recognizing someone means acknowledging their achievements, rewarding them is about giving them a tangible gift along with recognition. This can take on the form of a structured rewards program or of spontaneous rewards. Rewards not only boost productivity and produce trust and happiness among your employees, but actually motivate them to work far more than other common factors such as fear of punishment, which are only partially effective and not for long.

Besides that, a good recognition and rewards system will help retain employees and increase your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and employer branding, which will help attract top talent to your company.

With that being said, don’t feel like you must spend all of your budget on rewards – the type of rewards will depend on the size of your business. Remember to stay within your means and find innovative ways to reward your employees in a way that will be meaningful to them!

5. Design a human-centered culture with rewards and recognition

Rewards and recognition - Human-centered culture

Finally, our last tip relies on designing a human-centered culture. This culture embraces a mission and vision that employees understand and believe in. This is crucial if you want your employees to feel stimulated and accomplished. Ben Callahan showed that valuable collaboration is at the core of a human-centered culture. The diversity in perspective and empathy are extremely relevant to achieving ease of collaboration. Hence why it is necessary to give sincere acknowledgments for good work. In such a culture, people feel cared for, experience growth opportunities, and develop trust.

Cultures based on human-centered models are a win-win for both the individual and the organization. An inclusive culture connects the company’s mission and values to people and team performance. Rewards and recognition based on behaviors you want to reinforce strengthens corporate values and retention.

Tap My Back

Tap My Back is an employee feedback app that provides a peer-to-peer recognition software. That way, we help companies work on employee recognition while improving engagement. With our recognition feature, anyone within your organization can recognize another person based on your company values. This way, they are reinforcing the company’s values and behaviors, as well as giving recognition in an individual and specific way.

Find out more about how you can try our free employee recognition tool!

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