Article: Recognising and rewarding outstanding performance

Performance Management

Recognising and rewarding outstanding performance

Recognition also serves as a powerful motivator, driving employees to go above and beyond in their roles.
Recognising and rewarding outstanding performance

Employee recognition goes beyond a mere pat on the back. It is a strategic tool that plays a pivotal role in fostering a positive workplace culture. A study by online polling platform SurveyMonkey found that 82 percent of employees consider recognition as a crucial aspect of their job satisfaction. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to be engaged, leading to higher job satisfaction and overall organisational success.

Recognition also serves as a powerful motivator, driving employees to go above and beyond in their roles. A separate study by McKinsey shows that 54 percent of employees joined the “Great Resignation” in 2021 because they felt unappreciated. By establishing a connection between recognition and motivation, organisations can create a positive feedback loop, where motivated employees consistently deliver exceptional results.

The numbers emphasise the strong connection between recognition and job satisfaction, which is crucial for organisations aiming in retaining top talent and maintaining a high level of productivity. In the next sections, we will delve deeper into the benefits of recognition, and effective strategies for implementing recognition programs in the modern work environment.

READ MORE: Democratising employee recognition

Recognising individual achievements

Individual achievements can take many forms, such as exceeding performance metrics, demonstrating exceptional problem-solving skills, or consistently delivering high-quality work. For instance, a sales representative who consistently exceeds monthly targets or an employee who takes the initiative to streamline a workflow are prime examples of individual excellence.

Recognising individual achievements is not only about celebrating one person but also acknowledging their contribution to the broader team. A study by the Journal of Applied Psychology found that individual recognition positively correlates with team performance. When team members see their colleagues being acknowledged, it can inspire a collaborative spirit.

READ MORE: 79% of surveyed US employees feel ‘taken for granted’ at work

Recognising collaborative work and team success

Exceptional team collaborations are another dimension of outstanding performance. This can include successful completion of projects, effective cross-functional communication, and a collective effort to overcome challenges. While individual achievements are essential, recognising group accomplishments is equally crucial.

This can involve acknowledging teams that consistently meet or exceed project goals, demonstrate effective communication, or showcase innovation in problem-solving. A study by McKinsey found that companies with a strong focus on team recognition are more likely to have higher employee engagement and a positive workplace culture.

READ MORE: Why in-person collaboration has never been more important

The benefits of recognising and rewarding employees

Recognising and rewarding outstanding performance is not just a gesture of appreciation; it yields tangible benefits that significantly impact the overall health and success of an organisation. For one, employee morale is a key driver of workplace satisfaction. When employees feel appreciated for their hard work and dedication, it creates a positive work environment.

Recognition is also an underrated strategy for enhancing employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to invest discretionary effort in their work, leading to increased productivity and innovation. According to a Forbes report, employees are twice likely to be highly engaged with an organisation if the management will recognise them and the value of their work

Employee recognition also plays a crucial role in talent retention. High-performing employees who feel valued are more likely to stay with their current employer. According to a survey by Bersin & Associates, organisations with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have a 31 percent lower voluntary turnover rate.

Effective recognition strategies

There are many ways to implement recognition strategies in a professional setting. But in most cases, the most effective strategies combine both the formal and informal types of recognition.

1. Formal recognition

Formal recognitions can come in the form of "Employee of the Month" programs, which allows a company to highlight individual achievements and contributions. Quarterly or annual awards are also effective in sustaining the momentum of recognising outstanding performance. These awards can include categories such as "Innovation Excellence," "Customer Satisfaction Champion," or "Team Collaboration Award." The variety of award categories ensures that different types of contributions are recognised and celebrated.

2. Informal recognition

Informal recognition is just as crucial as formal programs. Simple gestures, such as personalised thank-you notes from managers or colleagues, can have a profound impact. A survey by BambooHR revealed that 82 percent of employees appreciate receiving praise for their work, emphasising the effectiveness of personalised acknowledgment.

Publicly recognising outstanding performance during team meetings is another kind of informal recognition that fosters a positive and collaborative culture. When employees see their peers acknowledged for their contributions, it not only boosts the morale of the recognised individual but also inspires others to strive for excellence.

Different types of employee rewards

Giving recognition without giving out rewards is like planting the seeds but failing to water them – nothing will come out of it. Recognising outstanding performance should always go beyond verbal acknowledgment, and incorporating incentives and rewards is the way to add a tangible dimension to appreciation.

1. Monetary rewards

Most rewards come in the form of cash. Performance bonuses are a direct and impactful way to reward outstanding achievements. A structured bonus system tied to specific performance metrics or project milestones can motivate employees to consistently deliver exceptional results.

Providing employees with gift cards or cash prises are equally effective, especially in showing appreciation to the small achievements of an employee. Cash incentives allow individuals to choose rewards that resonate with their preferences.

2. Non-monetary rewards

Cash rewards are good, but some of the most impactful are non-monetary. For instance, offering additional vacation leave credits can be a valuable non-monetary reward to an employee who has gone the extra mile in perfecting certain projects. This recognises the need for work-life balance and empowers employees to manage their schedules in a way that suits their personal and professional needs.

Sponsoring training programs, workshops, or courses that align with an employee’s career goals can also be an impactful reward. Investing in employees' professional development is a non-monetary reward that not only recognises their contributions but also contributes to their long-term growth.

In giving out rewards, never limit your options. Incorporating a mix of monetary and non-monetary incentives allows organisations to cater to the diverse preferences and motivations of their workforce.

Remember, the implementation of a well-crafted recognition and rewards program is not just a nicety but a strategic imperative for organisations aiming to thrive in today's competitive landscape. Always keep in mind that it's not just about the frequency of acknowledgment but the thoughtfulness behind it.

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Topics: Performance Management, #TotalRewards

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