Crafting Your Recognition and Reward Strategy

James and Julie are the newest employees at their company.  The two are similar in many ways.  Both are excellent workers.  Both are smart, dependable, hardworking and efficient.  When it comes to rewarding their efforts, however, the two couldn’t be more different.  Julie works hard for the opportunity for greater responsibility; she responds positively to the challenge.  James, on the other hand, finds the same ‘reward’ disconcerting, and feels as though the harder he works the more he’s given to do.

Recognition and reward are essential motivational tools.  Whether it’s a pat on the back, a word of praise, or, as in Julie’s case, an increase in responsibility, positive reinforcement gives incentive for employees to continue positive behavior and even improve job performance.  The problem is, not everyone is motivated by the same rewards. 

To craft an effective reward and recognition strategy you may want to consider the following steps:

·    Observe the employee  

·    Identify potential motivators

·    Reinforce desired behaviors using the identified motivators

Because behavior is conditioned by the feedback that follows it, positive recognition and rewards tend to reinforce behavior while negative or nonexistent rewards tend to extinguish behavior.  That’s why it’s important to craft a reinforcement strategy that is as unique and sometimes as varied as the individuals themselves so that you are able to effectively encourage and motivate positive, productive performance rather than unwittingly discourage.  Reward and recognition are just another way you as a manager can “coach” your team to greater success! 

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