Rewarding performance

For staff to be motivated and committed to results or even to change, organisations must recognise and reward achievement. Here’s how you can do it. EVE ASH

Eve Ash

By Eve Ash

For staff to be motivated and committed to results or even to change, organisations must recognise and reward achievement. Recognition and positive feedback can be very motivating.

Too many managers think they do a good job of rewarding performance, but often they are not doing enough. And the recognition and acknowledgement doesn’t always have to be financial reward.

There are four important steps when considering rewards:

  • Make a commitment.
  • Choose rewards.
  • Negotiate agreements.
  • Maintain momentum.

Make a commitment

Every business needs to be clear about its reward and recognition system. To motivate staff and create a climate for improvement, organisations need to make a commitment to a strategy for recognising and rewarding performance – considering both financial and non-financial rewards.

People need to be recognised for the performance that they achieve… both individually and in teams. There needs to be a focus on the significant achievements that have occurred, particularly identifying teams that have performed well.

A great way to commit is to involve staff – consult with them about the nature of the rewards. Ask staff for ideas on what might work as a reward scheme.

Staff should be consulted in the planning and implementing of any reward system. This means openly discussing where improvement can be made and what reward system will work best.

Consider your own business. What kinds of performance is rewarded and how?

Choose rewards

Once you have committed to the concept and principle of recognising and rewarding performance, the first step is to plan how this will happen. What kinds of rewards are possible? What are the best ways of rewarding performance?

It may be a celebration for a whole team. Maybe it’s an award for service delivery – once a month. Some people want a financial incentive for profits and company gains.

Everyone has a different expectation of reward and recognition. Most people want some kind of acknowledgement: “I want to be acknowledged that I did something.”

Many businesses link rewards to KPIs (key performance indicators). Achieve them and get a reward. Achieve beyond the expectation and get a bigger reward!

Recognition may be in the form of career development opportunities, or the chance to take on special projects. Some companies are very creative and clever with their awards and rewards – for example giving people a chance to give back to the community, on company time.

It’s essential to choose rewards that are appropriate for your organisation and possible within its structure. And rewards should cover individual performance as well as team or organisation performance.

Negotiate agreements

Commitment to high performance is greater if reward and recognition systems are mutually agreed. Creating an opportunity for negotiation is an important part of establishing successful recognition and reward systems.

Successful reward systems involve negotiated agreements, about pay or conditions, or sometimes profit share and bonuses. Negotiating is important because mutual agreement ensures greater commitment to high performance.

Maintain momentum

The benefits gained by initial improvements and rewards need to be consolidated and built on so that the momentum for improvement is sustained. Maintaining momentum and continuing to improve performance, is achieved by rewarding consistent high performance as well as improved performance.

A good manager will reward their staff and build on their strengths. As higher performance levels are achieved it’s important to set new targets and new challenges.

Motivation, reward or recognition systems will always need to be updated, as they have a use-by date. Fresher approaches and different approaches need to be found.

You can improve performance in the workplace by recognising and rewarding individual, team and organisational achievements. If your objective is to improve performance, you need to establish a system of ongoing recognition and reward.


Play Click here to see the video Rewarding Performance 

By Eve Ash, psychologist, author of Rewrite Your Relationships! and managing director, Seven Dimensions, is the producer of the DVD Rewarding Performance, one of six DVDs from the Creating a High Performance Workplace series

Click here for more Eve Ash blogs



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