Rewarding employees has a significant effect on the productivity of the company. Companies that recognize their employees’ work are more likely to experience greater outcomes in their duties. This paper looks at the reasons for this phenomenon. It studies the various studies carried out in the field of human resources concerning recognition and rewards systems in organizations and their roles in motivating employees to perform better at their jobs.
Rewarding employees boosts their morale to work, keeps them engaged at work and with their coworkers and makes them see their jobs as personal work. They own their work. Once this is done, the company reaps the benefits of improved work quality. Reward and recognition systems are convenient since they can be carried out without financial resources. All they require is time. Spending time with employees demonstrates to them how much you value their contribution to the company.
Key Words: Rewarding, Motivation
Every human being is always happy to be recognized by others. Rewards make us even happier. Whenever people get recognized and rewarded for their achievements in whatever field, there is always a sense of pride and a push to perform even better the next time. Recognition has been a great motivator in many fields such as academics, sports and science. People work as hard as they possibly can to outdo each other and get the recognition associated with each achievement and the rewards that come with it. Recognition comes in various forms depending on the society involved and the field in question. In school recognition comes in form of certificates and merits while the reward is the ability to move to the next academic level or work in the related field, that is, employment. In business recognition is in the form of promotions which come with the rewards of increased salary and bonuses. In sports, athletes are recognized for their performance and achievement through meddles and their considerable pay constitutes their rewards. Even as children, we are motivated to do things such as chores and other activities by the promise of rewards. Parents use recognition to motivate their children into doing various things and reward them for achievements with niceties such as new clothes or things children consider cool. There are also rewards and recognitions of various levels in all aspects of life. Politically people are recognized for their contributions in the governing of a country and rewarded when it calls for it. Socially, exceptional people are recognized for their good works, though not common. They possess a sense of leadership and pride in what they do. Economic contributions are possibly the most commonly rewarded. People who are responsible for economic growth are very well recognized and rewarded, perhaps because they touch a huge number of people.
Recognition is, therefore, key to motivating people of all walks of life. Rewards make people work harder, looking forward to the next reward. For these reasons, businesses ought to adapt a system of recognizing their employees to keep their motivation levels high. Employees whose work is recognized and occasionally rewarded are much more productive than those whose bosses never reward them. Employees’ attitudes are very important to an organization achieving its goals. This is because, employees are the unit of every business and how they do their work will determine how the business performs financially. Unlike old times when people did not have any alternatives for work so they worked for any master that offered them jobs, employees nowadays have developed a sense of pride so that if they are treated wrongly, they lose interest and often leave their job for another job.
In the recent times, organizations have found it hard to retain their good employees. If an employee is known to be the best in the field, he or she is wooed vigorously by competing businesses. This kind of employee also has a choice and will more often than not move to the organization with the best reward in terms of salary and recognition in terms of the chances for career advancement. This factor of star workers getting pouched has forced organizations to invest heavily into employee reward and recognition systems, to retain their best employees. Most organizations have, however, focused on star employees, forgetting about the other significant number of employees. They have not adequately addressed rewards for the junior and subordinate employees. This has caused numerous problems because even though the others do not have much choice in terms of jobs, they are still the biggest contribution to the growth and business of the organization. When employees work without recognition or reward, they seem to neglect their work. They do only what they are told to do and do not take any incentive to do anything more. Work in such organizations is very sluggish and the level of innovation is greatly reduced. Organizations that have taken up systems of recognition and rewards have reaped the fruits with some experiencing up to 43% increase in productivity .
Rewarding and recognizing employees’ good work boosts their morale, keeps them engaged at their work, increases their interest in the organizations work and develops a perception that their work is valued. These are some of the reasons why recognition and reward of employees for their work improves the productivity of the whole organization.
Boosts Morale to Work and Interest in the Organization’s Mission
Employees whose work is recognized have been found to have a greater will to work more. When a person is recognized and rewarded for the work they have done for an organization, they feel the urge to improve on their work and even take on more workload. In a case study by the Hay Group, it was observed that employees of a company that consistently recognized their work, ‘got lost’ or so to say, in their work and even at times worked for longer hours . These employees were not forced to work as it would have been in other organizations and in the past, they worked harder under their own initiative. Morale increases an employee’s personal initiative to do more for their employer. Initiative results in better quality work and more often than not gives way to increased organizational innovation. Employees’ morale contributes significantly to the quality of work. It is also a pivotal factor in the rate of innovation experienced by an organization.
Recognition is not as hard as many organizations may think. Managers’ can do as little spend time to deliver a message personally to the employee or just say “good job” or “thank you” to the employees consistently. Doing this will boost the teams morale and increase productivity of the company considerably . Recognizing an individual employee in front of everyone else, without bias, boosts the individual’s morale and motivates his or her colleagues to work harder for the same kind of recognition. Finding out what each employee values and using it as a reward is also another way for organizations to boost employee morale to work.
In a study, 35% of all employees questioned cited lack of recognition at work as the main hindrance to productivity. They said that recognition boosts their morale which in turn improves productivity (Economic Times, 2012). This is a very significant number of employees. It shows that the employers of these 35% are under utilizing their workers’ potential and in the process losing revenues.
The Hay Group observed that recognition and rewards make employees more interested in the mission of the organization (2001). When an employee is recognized by the boss, he or she feels as part of the organization. This drives the interest in the company’s issues such as their operations in details, the profitability, the mission and vision of the company. The more an employee knows about his or her company the more they grow loyal and attached to it. This causes them to devout most of their resources to achieve the company’s goals as if they were theirs. They spend time working on projects for the company, they innovate for the company and even devout their efforts to convince their colleagues to work as hard for the company’s goals. This has a widespread effect on productivity in general. The company experiences phenomenon growth due to extensive innovation on the lower levels of the organization and the number of productive man hours put into achieving the company’s goals.
Recognition and rewards make employees happy with themselves and their employer. Happy employees tend to stick to one company. Happiness boosts the will to work (McGovern & Shelly, 2008). Organizations’ whose employees are happy with what they do experience improved employee productivity which leads to growth of the organization.
Keeps Employees Engaged with their Work
Recognizing and rewarding employees for good work encourages them to centre all their effort into their work. The Hay Group conducted a study on an organization involved in oil refinery. This organization did not motivate its workers with recognition and rewards. The workers were so disengaged that at the end of their shift, the day workers mixed old steel scraps with new steel. When the night workers came on for duty, they used to throw away the new and the old steel together. This organization lost millions of dollars in steel purchases that were being discarded by the workers (2001). If the workers were recognized and rewarded for their work from time to time, they would be engaged to every aspect of their work. Employees, who are motivated and recognized, relate to their work. They know and concentrate on every aspect of their work. Even when tired, they will be careful not to mess the work they have done during their duty. Engaged workers are attentive to the company’s functions. They will consistently give their opinions about the company’s activities to their bosses. This kind of information exchange leads to improvement of areas that managers do not necessarily know of. Improved working and structural situations lead to impressive productivity by the workers.
Companies with highly engaged employees enjoy a 23% bump in productivity and a low returns risk while attracting top talent (Dunlap, 2010). Employees who are engaged with the company exercise a free exchange of information about the workings of the organization and about opportunities that the company can exploit to achieve its goals. Disengaged employees do not communicate with their bosses; they only do what their bosses tell them to do. Most of them will not even communicate a problem that threatens the organization to the managers. Such an organization is always at risk of failing to reach its targets and vulnerable to factors known only to the employees. Achieving financial and target growth is dependent on how well workers perform their duties. Engaged workers work hand in hand with managers to achieve these targets. The best way to engage employees is to recognize their contribution to the organization and reward them accordingly.
Employees Develop a Perception that their work is valued
When an organization rewards and recognizes the employees’ contribution consistently, they feel that what they do is important to the organization. They own the work they do and put in as much effort as they can without regard for time or energy. The Hay Group observed that employees who were regularly rewarded for their achievement, spent more time and energy on their work than others did (Hay Group, 2001).
An organization normally assigns work to each of the employees. In many circumstances, the employees view this work as the organization’s work. This missing link reduces the quality of the work done by the employees. The employees just conduct their work on average because it does not concern them. These employees are usually not appreciated for their work in the company. In companies where the employees are adequately recognized and rewarded, the employees feel a sense of ownership for their work. They own the duties they are allocated. They love what they do. People are inclined to work harder at their own projects than at those of others. Therefore, a company with a large number of people working on their duties as if they were for self benefit, experiences a phenomenon growth due to increased productivity.
The time managers spend with employees demonstrates that they value both the persons and their contribution to the organization (Ventrice, 2001). When an employee notices that they are meaningful in the company, he or she will consistently work harder to achieve higher standards for more recognition and rewards. The aspect of value is embedded in all human beings. They strive to achieve the highest value possible in the face of recognition and reward. An organization can exploit this human attribute to benefit from the high quality work that the employees show when consistently appreciated for their work. Where there is no recognition or reward people typically lose the resolve to work towards achieving value. An organization that does not have reward and recognition systems in place will experience very low productivity from its employees. The employees feel their contributions to the company are not valued by the management. They therefore lose any willpower to enhance such value.
Rewards and recognition systems are clearly important to the success of an organization. These kinds of systems demand more time on the part of the management and often not much money. Most employees are not expecting more money from their employees as appreciation. Recognition, more often than not, is in terms of time spent with the employees on activities that are important to them. These include sponsoring company getaways, setting a comfortable work environment and even just smiling or talking with the employees about other issues apart from the business issues .
For organizations to reap all the potentials of their employees, they ought to devise appropriate recognition and reward systems. They should also involve the employees in devising these kinds of systems.
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