Blog: Rewarding Employees - How to Make This Practice Effective

Rewarding Employees - How to Make This Practice Effective

Most organizations are always looking for ways to reduce employee turnover. One way to combat the issue of turnover is to reward employees. When done correctly, this type of program can have a very positive impact. On the other hand, the wrong strategy for rewarding employees can end up being both expensive and ineffective.

The Reality of Employee Rewards

Money or other financial incentives are the first thing that come to mind when most people think of employee rewards. While those types of rewards definitely do have their place, it's important to understand that they're not the only options for rewarding employees. In fact, if an organization depends solely on financial rewards, they're likely to be disappointed by the effect of this type of program.

Non-Financial Rewards That Employees Care About

From Gallup to Harvard, numerous surveys and studies have shown that there are many ways to motivate employees that don't involve money. In fact, some of those ways can be significantly more effective than financial incentives in certain situations. The first method of awarding employees that falls into this category is saying thank you. Although this may seem too simple to be effective, it really can make a difference in how employees feel about an organization. A best practice for maximizing the impact of thank you is to express a specific reason for saying it.

Thank you's are something that work best when they're given spontaneously. However, there are a few structured options for giving non-financial rewards to employees. The first is weekly recognition. This practice is backed up by a study that found the most motivated staff had received recognition or praise for doing good work in the last seven days.

Making a point of recognizing exceptional employees on a weekly basis is something that can help support the next type of reward, which is peer-to-peer recognition. Many organizations have seen great results from implementing programs that make it easy for employees to recognize each other's efforts.

Next on this list is to share people's accomplishments in public. This can be done through a company's email newsletter or during a speech given by a leader. Last but certainly not least are intrinsic forms of recognition. Finding ways to increase the sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence or progress an employee experiences with their job can help maximize their satisfaction with it.

While those intrinsic qualities should exist with a position from the start, offering rewards like greater empowerment to an employee that's demonstrated self-initiative can give someone what they need to avoid feeling like their role is stagnating. By thinking beyond monetary incentives and offering non-financial rewards to employees, organizations can create a strong culture that helps to maximize employee retention.

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