Employee Rewards Are Powerful Motivators When Done Correctly

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Employee rewards are usually earned for outstanding individual or team efforts: a big jump in productivity, a difficult project successfully implemented, etc. For you, as employer, employee rewards also have the purpose of boosting motivation and providing incentives for future results. You also want to be sure your employee-rewards program or policy is clearly and comprehensively described in your employee handbook. There should be no confusion among managers and employees about the kind of rewards you may give and how they relate to standard compensation.

You can alleviate any of that confusion by making sure a reward is given for completing a specific task, and one well beyond normal expectations, not general good work. Differentiate your rewards program from your wage structure. Employees should not think that rewards could become a regular supplement to their incomes. They earn their wages or salaries for the work they do everyday—and they’ll continue to do so, and even earn a raise, as their day-to-day work improves.

Employee rewards, according to many human resources experts, must be carefully calculated because employees are more likely to appreciate and respond positively to materials rewards than cash rewards. Even when cash is appropriate, too little can destroy motivation, just as too much may not seem logical to employees, especially when an employee’s achievement doesn’t seem to match the reward.

You may own the kind of business where cash rewards are appropriate because it’s relatively easy to match specific results with a specific monetary reward. For example, each employee has a daily, monthly goal of so many widgets manufactured. Reaching one’s goal is expected, not exceptional, but increasing output by 50% to 100% may be worthy of reward if that level of achievement is very seldom reached. A cash reward may be warranted if an employee implements an innovative idea that increases everyone’s widget productivity well beyond the norm. Regardless of the form of your employee rewards, you can maximize the value to employees and the health of your business when you make sure employees know the reward is justified.

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