Progress often comes with change driven by the desire to do better. But imagine this: if you went to work daily without any incentives or recognition to motivate you to give your best, wouldn’t life become a collection of mundane days?

Do your employees have something to look forward to while going to work? Are your employees recognized and acknowledged for the hard work they put in? 

Organizations with a recognition program have 15% higher employee engagement, productivity, and performance than organizations that don’t.

Deloitte - does recognition has an impact

Employees are the backbone of any enterprise. Through their active engagement and valuable contribution, they determine the organization’s success and failure. Because of the reciprocal nature of their relationship, employers and employees are expected to give each other equal attention and recognition.  

Recognizing the efforts of your employees and rewarding them is an important step toward making them happy. In this article, find out more about reward and recognition and 11 ways to implement them.  

1.Rewards are given in exchange for an employee’s valuable efforts. Rewards can be intrinsic and extrinsic.
2.Rewards and recognition benefit an organization because they increase employee satisfaction.
3.11 Ways to Recognize Your Employees’ Efforts and Reward Them   Adhere to your value and mission statement Develop clear objectives for the program and employees Have specific funds Leader’s recognition Constant acknowledgment Peer recognition Reconnect with your values Reward employees for self-development Reward teams Customize your rewards Social media to your rescue

Understanding Reward and Recognition  

The term “reward” can be defined as an employee’s specific financial return in exchange for their work or for having achieved something or meeting a goal. On the other hand, acknowledging a person’s accomplishments is known as recognition. 

Rewards can be intrinsic and extrinsic. “Reward system,” as mentioned by Bratton, “refers to all the monetary, non-monetary and psychological payments that an organization provides for its employees in exchange for the work they perform.”  

Both monetary and non-monetary rewards can motivate staff members to give more to the company. When an employee is recognized, they produce more. According to research, 40% of participants indicated “they would work more if their efforts were recognized more.” 

70% of people with they recieved more recognition
Source: KRC Research conducted this survey on behalf of OGO (O Great One!) 

Reward and recognition are not only limited to financial compensation. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory states that every human has physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs. Accordingly, extrinsic/material rewards can meet an employee’s physiological and safety needs, while intrinsic rewards can fulfill self-actualization and esteem needs. Consistent acknowledgement can also make employees feel they are making significant contributions to their organization.

Extrinsic rewards include financial compensation or non-financial benefits, personal development and feedback, promotion, and career opportunities. Examples of intrinsic rewards are a sense of growth and community, creative freedom, and goal achievement.  

Why do we need Rewards and Recognition? 

It is simple, recognition and rewards breed motivation. Something as simple as “well done” goes a long way. Companies arrange a reward system to encourage desirable behavior by highlighting role models. According to an article on Inc., Bob Nelson, a consultant, motivational speaker, and the author of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, argues that awards should propel recipients into new roles with greater responsibility. 

Rewards benefit an organization by creating satisfied employees while allowing them to experience self-growth and development. 

For instance, Adobe has a robust reward system in place. The company has patent awards to recognize patents and inventions from its employees. Similarly, it has a founders’ award and service awards to recognize employees and their valuable efforts. Probably that’s why Adobe made it to Fortune Magazine’s list of 25 World’s Best Workplaces in 2021. And that too for the sixth year in a row!

Adobe in Fortune Magazine's list of top 25 World's best workplaces

11 Ways to Recognize Your Employees’ Efforts and Reward Them 

A reward system should be established and implemented by corporate policies and procedures. Additionally, it must be consistent with its objectives, mission, and vision.  

The good news is that executives can quickly and affordably address the recognition gap in their organizations. Creating a successful reward and recognition system may seem complicated, but it is not extremely expensive. Implementing appropriate value-based coordination strategies is a good start toward this development.  

Following are some of the best ways:

Adhere to your values and mission statement

To accomplish the task successfully, one must know the task. Organizations must clearly explain their core values to employees. To get valuable results, employers must explain what matters to them first. The rewards employees receive for their work will be special for employees if they share similar values with their organization resulting in better performance. 

If you would like to learn more about building value-based relationships with your employees, you can refer to this article. 

Develop clear objectives for the program and employees

If you are interested in starting a reward program for your employees, state the criteria for selecting your winners. Make sure your employees know why a particular person is receiving an award. By avoiding blurry objectives, you can also prevent an award from being mistaken as a result of favoritism.  

Have specific funds

While rewards can be monetary and non-monetary, having funds for your reward program is crucial. Reward programs are not a cost; they are an investment. Dedicating a budget can also ensure that the rewards don’t get skipped or postponed due to poor planning. 

Leader’s recognition

A good leader doesn’t just give orders but also recognizes and acknowledges the efforts of team members. A leader praising or rewarding their team through annual incentives, service awards, and spot rewards positively impacts the employees’ motivation and dedication. Publicly recognizing an employee’s efforts can motivate them and set an example for others. 

Constant acknowledgment

Little drops of water make an ocean, and small acts of acknowledgment make a motivated employee. Employees can be kept content and productive with a little bit of daily inspiration, praise, and continual motivation. A small thank you or you are doing great can significantly impact an employee’s performance. 

So next time you see an employee working hard, praise them on the spot. Let them know that their contribution is valued every day. 

Peer recognition

Getting acknowledged by team leaders can be highly motivating, but when your co-workers come forward to praise your work, the feeling is ecstatic. Employee growth and development can be effectively encouraged through peer feedback. Coworkers should recognize and applaud each other for their outstanding achievements. One can use several methods for this purpose, including peer nomination, social media shout-outs, thank you cards, etc. Such a practice can optimize teamwork as well.

Zappos has an interesting recognition system. Each employee is given $50, which they can grant their coworker as a bonus to recognize their efforts. Zappos executives later select a ‘Monthly Hero’ from nominated candidates. Isn’t it a fantastic way to recognize employees via people who always observe them in person? 

Employees being rewarded and recognised

Reconnect with your values

Remember how core values are essential in getting the proper work done? Well, that’s not it. Once you recognize your employees’ work, explain how their work is crucial to your core values. Letting your employees know what the awards signify is an excellent reminder of the company’s core values. It can also be a reference point for other employees looking to optimize their efforts. 

Reward employees for self-development

Happy employees are a reflection of good company culture. While your organizational goals are important, having happy and healthy employees should be your target too. Employers can reward their employees for intangible goals. They can set individual goals for their employees regarding their overall well-being.  

Reward teams

Teamwork makes the dream work, but this team needs to be recognized and rewarded for achieving its target. Rewarding teams can foster cooperation among employees. Letting your employees work as a team and rewarding them allows them to have a sense of community and belonging. 

Customize your rewards

Not every employee will appreciate that gift card. Your employees have different needs, and you can go the extra mile to customize their rewards according to their needs. You can use a tool like Pietential to assess which of your employees’ needs you can fulfill.  You can customize their reward by combining compensations, benefits, leadership, and innovative opportunities. 

Adobe even lets its employees select their gifts online after completing five years at the company. Interestingly, Adobe continues giving these service awards after every five years!

Social media to your rescue

With a generation that loves sharing precious moments online, acknowledging their efforts online can never go wrong. The internet has made the system of rewarding easier for organizations. You can acknowledge your employees’ efforts online by giving them badges or announcing their performance growth on your social media platforms. You can also enhance customer engagement by giving your employees recognition on social media. Your customers get to know people working behind the scenes. Your employees get recognized in the format they prefer. Since this approach is easily accessible, you can reward your employees more frequently. So what are you waiting for? Give your employee of the month that shout-out!

Humans can work tirelessly for things they feel passionate about. But even with the best intentions, unrecognized and unappreciated efforts can feel burdensome at some point. Setting up a robust reward system is crucial for the smooth functioning of an organization. So plan, observe, and say that thank you your employees deserve. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the two types of rewards?

Intrinsic and extrinsic.

  1. Can a reward be intangible?

Yes, anything valuable can be a reward. Your employees’ interests matter a lot. 

  1. Can social media be used to reward and recognize employees? 

Yes, using social media is a creative way to acknowledge your employees.