A system of rewards at work

Motivating others is one of the key tasks of every manager. He has to be able to manage his employees in such a way that they make a maximum effort to successfully complete all of their professional duties. The problem is that we have to apply….

Motivating others is one of the key tasks of every manager. He has to be able to manage his employees in such a way that they make a maximum effort to successfully complete all of their professional duties. The problem is that we have to apply a different system of motivation to every employee because every person has diverse needs and expectations. One of the most common motivational systems is the system of rewards.

How to reward employees?

There are many methods of spontaneous rewarding of employees that help motivate people to a greater effort in relation to their work. What is important here is that the application of these methods does not consume much of a manager’s time.

Research shows that the type of motivation most valued by employees is the awareness that superiors appreciate the work of every individual member of the team. What is interesting, in some cases, a simple request for help and bigger commitment can significantly increase the motivation of employees. Such a request can be perceived as a kind of reward to an individual employee – a distinction from his group of coworkers from the same department or the same branch of his company.

Rewarding in a company

In the case of most modern companies, rewards are given by the highest ranking members of management. The notion of who receives a reward does not usually depend on the achievements of individual employees. It is often enough to simply be employed at a given company to receive such a reward periodically. This is not a good reward system because, after some time, an employee reaches the conclusion that he simply deserves the reward and does not have to try to work more effectively in order to get it. He thinks that, in order to be rewarded, it is enough to do his part of the job properly and without standing out from his team.

Errors in motivating

Managers who do not know the rules of proper motivating can easily discourage their subordinates from making their work more effective. It is enough if employees who contribute a lot to the development and well-being of their company do not receive rewards for their efforts. If such a situation appears often, it is hard to receive after-hours help from employees. Moreover, in such cases, we should not expect full commitment to the realization of a company’s project.

Types of rewards in a motivational system

A reward system applied in a company is based on giving rewards of various kinds. They can have the following forms:

Personal congratulations from the manager to employees who stand out from their colleagues and who did a great job during the realization of a given project
Giving acclaim to employees for their hard work by means of short notes written down by managers and given to particular individuals
Praising employees who do their job properly during the presence of other workers.
An employment policy which gives the chance to advance in company ranks if an employee’s results are higher than standard.
Motivational meetings organized by the manager. Such gatherings are usually celebrations of the achievements of a given group of employees.

Unfortunately, though in most cases managers are aware of the importance of motivating through rewarding, they do not make use of this method of encouragement in practice. Personal gratitude for hard work is the most common kind of reward. Specialists in the field have proven that other motivational solutions in reference to employees are less effective, and hence, less often used.

It is worth to emphasize that money rewards based on increasing the basic payment are equally effective as non-money related rewards which are worth 4% of payment. In order to effectively motivate an employee, he or she has to be given a 5-8% bonus a month. Naturally, this significantly increases the general costs of maintaining an enterprise.

Giving praise to employees

Praise from a manager or any other higher ranking person in the company can be a great reward for an employee who does his job diligently and who is more committed to work than his workmates. Such a reward is a very successful motivating factor. It has a great advantage from the point of view of an enterprise as a whole – it does not consume financial resources. Sincere thanks given to an employee, especially on a gathering, is a far better motivating factor than a financial bonus. For an employee, such a reward can mean more than a raise in payment, an official reward, a certificate, or an award plaque received from his manager. The secret of high effectiveness of praise, especially sincere praise, lies in the fact that the management has to devote some time to observe and analyze the results of a given team and its particular members. Superiors also have to analyze who contributed most to the whole undertaking and only then praise the specific person. An employee appreciates what the management does for him. The awareness that his commitment is recognized is important to him. He will surely engage in work more eagerly if his efforts and diligence are recognized by somebody important, especially his superior. Praise and gratitude should be given to an employee in public.

During the analyses made by researchers, it turned out that most employees who work at large companies dream about being praised and not about another financial bonus which nobody will even notice on the personal account. A direct praise from a superior for a job well done is usually considered the best possible method of motivation to work more effectively in the future.

Satisfaction from work

A properly functioning motivational system in an enterprise makes it possible for individual employees who work at a given assignment to feel greatly satisfied with their professional achievements. The truth is that giving praise to employees does not require much time from managers. However, it has to be remembered that praise must not be given to a person who does not deserve it at all. We have to be reasonable when giving rewards – we must be careful to give them to the right groups, or to the people who really deserve them.

Giving recognition to an employee in relation to his coworkers is also a kind of reward. Such methods are used in stores which distinguish the employee of the month. In this case, employees are rewarded by being recognized for their effective work. This recognition is expressed by a plaque with an employee’s photo placed on the board with a short note that says the best employee of this month and, later on, the best employee of the year. Recognition need not be official, and it need not be given exclusively by superiors. The employees themselves can decide that one of their colleagues does his job so well that he or she deserves the reward. Such a system of rewards in an enterprise stimulates workers who, by means of their work and the diligent fulfillment of professional duties, wish to gain recognition in the eyes of their managers and colleagues. It is very pleasant to know that somebody appreciates what we do for the good of the company and does not treat our efforts as something ordinary.

A reward can also have the form of a simple line of text placed in an initial version of a project. If a superior likes the document prepared by his subordinate, he should write down a short line of approval, e.g., you did well! or great job!. This really does not require much from a manager, and at the same time means a lot to a subordinate. It will prove to be a metaphorical medal, a decoration for an employee; he will be able to show it to his family and friends. The appreciation towards employees is an important element of every enterprise, regardless of its size.

Oral thanks are less valued than written gratitude placed somewhere visible to everyone. Thanks to a written approval, other company employees can recognize their friend’s efforts and follow his example.

The choice of the best employees

The contest for employees in an enterprise can be organized periodically. It should involve all members of the staff, not only the highest ranking employees of management, but the most regular workers as well. Generally speaking, the choice of the best employee is usually organized every month. The criteria can be, e.g., the most committed employee, the most helpful or the kindest one. In such a case, the title is the reward itself, however, some other benefits (e.g. money or a prize) can follow as well.

Regardless of the kind of the system of rewards accepted in a given enterprise, the system should always be adjusted to the characteristic features of employees and their interests.

If properly applied in practice, a system of rewards in an enterprise is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways of motivating employees. However, rewards do not necessarily mean financial gains or prizes – like a new and expensive watch, or holidays abroad. Such methods of rewarding do appear in motivational systems of many enterprises, however, the interesting thing is that they prove to be less effective in motivating than, e.g., warm words of gratitude and appreciation from a superior spoken during a gathering of the whole team of employees. Warm words from a manager or director are the best possible motivation for an employee. They make him more committed to the cause and stimulate him to work even more effectively. Thanks to this, an enterprise gains an incredibly loyal employee who does not fear to work some additional hours in order to get the job done properly because he is aware that his efforts not only bring great results, but are also recognized and appreciated by the management and, often, his workmates alike. In every company, a bit different system of rewards can prove to be effective. Therefore, it is difficult to speak about one universal solution to this matter. It is up to every manager to test and find the most appropriate way of rewarding his subordinates. Once the method is found, it should be developed further. We should always bear in mind that successful motivation is a key factor in increasing company effectiveness.