Rewards Must Be Relevant
Leaders should know what forms of reward and recognition mean the most to their employees. The Leadership Institute recommends utilizing a Reward and Recognition Motivation Assessment which may be filled out by new employees at the time they complete their pre-hire paperwork and then forwarded to each person’s leader.* Staff can also “publish” individual preferences on the corporate intranet. Thus a leader who wants to reward a staff member in another department can access that person’s choices.
It’s very important for a leader to know employees’ preferences with regard to public versus private recognition in order to avert potentially embarrassing situations. For example, many people would rather be praised quietly, without having too much attention drawn to them. They’re uncomfortable when the spotlight is turned on them. In contrast, there are those who prefer to stand up in front of a crowd and hear the accolades.
Rewards That Are Timely Are More Effective
It is important that a reward addresses the behavior promptly that it is intended to reinforce. Otherwise, if too much time passes, the recognition may be devalued.
Immediate recognition has the biggest impact on an employee because it is a response to a deed or task that the person just completed. The result is motivation to repeat that performance. Rewards that occur weeks later, perhaps in a departmental meeting, do little in the way of behavior reinforcement.
In addition, the specific action that you are recognizing should be clearly conveyed. Describe
what you observed so that the employee will understand the reason behind the reward. (This is what we call “connecting the dots.”) Encourage the individual to keep doing that particular behavior.
Reward and Recognition Training
BLG teaches key skills, approaches, techniques, and best practices to help leaders effectively reward and recognize high performers. Elements of this training include how to harvest reward and recognition opportunities, thank you notes as a key engagement tool, formal recognition programs that support a patient focused culture, and informal methods that create a custom, individualized approach to thanking team members in your employee family.
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