Recognise This! – Give employees a reason to work harder by recognising their efforts.

Extending on yesterday’s post on increased pay not solving stressful work environments, Bnet recently published an article on how to increase productivity. The most insightful point in the post was:

 “Employees work hard because it’s their job to do so, but employees work harder when they feel good about doing so.”

Employees are already pushing the limit on productivity, considering many are covering the roles of multiple team members who were long ago laid off and never replaced. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to work harder if they know their work has meaning and purpose.

Strategic employee recognition is a powerful method of communicating that meaning and value of their work. But recognition and reward programmes do not have to cost a lot. Numerous clients have doubled and even quadrupled the amount of recognition occurring in their organisations without increasing their recognition budget.

How? It’s simple. Stop focussing on large cash bonuses given to the elite once a year as the primary means of recognition. Research shows more frequent recognition and rewards of much lower economic value have a stronger and more lasting emotional impact on employees.

Harvard Business Review explained the research this way:

Money is the most expensive way to motivate employees, but it’s still many leaders’ first choice. Our experience and numerous studies, however, show that big bonuses are less effective than smaller, unexpected gestures, because gifts create a relationship whilst bonuses are purely transactional. Consider how pleased you are when a friend brings a bottle of wine to your house for dinner and how different you’d feel if he offered to pay you for the meal. In the office, small gestures create a similar friendly feeling.”

What are you doing to make your employees feel good about working harder?