If administered properly, recognition and rewards programs in the workplace can be an affective way to motivate, increase performance and the increase employees overall job satisfaction.

When setting up a recognition and rewards program make sure to have specific measurable criteria when determining who should be rewarded. Points to consider coming up with criteria for the program are:

1. What is important to the company?

2. What is the objective of this program?

3. Clearly define how objectives will be measured. Examples:

• exceptional customer service

• team work

• going the extra mile.

• Make the qualifying period long enough to allow all employees the ability to participate (monthly, quarterly).

4. The criteria must be clear and concise or the reward program may have the oppose affect on the employees who are not being rewarded, especially if they feel others feel that their contribution was just as significant as the recipient of the reward. Subjective criteria can confuse employees, decrease morale, turn the reward program into a joke and, in general, have a negative impact.

5. If employees are going to be involved in voting and firm criteria is not in place, the program can turn into a popularity contest and/or can lead to accusations of favoritism by management.

Don’t stay quiet about achievements – Ensure that every employee who meets the criteria receives the recognition, even if this means sharing a financial reward between more than one employees or placing all the names in a draw to select the winner. It is important that the reward is presented publicly, for example at a staff meeting, so that colleagues know employees are receiving recognition.

Remember, the reward should motivate others to strive for even greater success in the future. Money, or the equivalent in gift card, is perhaps the best reward for staff, but consider writing a note or letter to accompany the prize. Include details of what the employee achieved, why it was important and how it benefited the company. That way, once the money has been spent, the employee will still have something tangible to mark the achievement.

Submitted by: Diane Heavens