Thursday, May 23, 2013

MOTIVATION Part 5: Reward Openly And Often, With More Than Money

In Part 4, the practice of providing good feedback was covered. This five-part series of strategies for creating a culture of motivation ends with this post on effective rewards.

Although many companies use compensation to motivate, this is actually a reward tactic. Monetary reward may reinforce desired behavior once it’s demonstrated, but it is ineffective as a long-term motivator. Even worse inconsistent compensation can actually do the opposite; for instance employees become dissatisfied when it’s not provided.

This is not to say that appropriate compensation isn’t necessary. In fact, according to Frederick Herzberg, known as the father of modern motivational theory, while the presence of certain basics (good working conditions and an appropriate salary) don’t necessarily increase job satisfaction, their absence contributes significantly to job dissatisfaction. Herzberg’s research found that monetary rewards don’t compensate for ineffective management and that real motivation comes from the work itself. So if rewards don’t motivate, what does? According to Herzberg, the top motivators in the workplace include achievement, recognition, meaningful work, responsibility, advancement, and growth. HR can be instrumental in developing a program of consistent recognition for use by managers.

Recognition extends the motivating effects of achievement into responsibility and accountability, which are motivating for the employee, valuable for the manager, and cost-effective for the organization.

Here are some tactics managers can start to use to reward and motivate employees:

• Use responsibility and advancement as awards. A high performer deserves more responsibility and the respect that comes with it.

• Celebrate as a team. Lead a mini celebration in the office at least once a week for even a small win.

• Congratulate one-on-one. Give a pat on the back to at least one person a day for his contribution.

• Promote only on merit. Promote based only on visible results.

• Personally reward great performance. Give small rewards for exceptional performance on an irregular basis that are of value to the individual, such as an afternoon off, dinner out on the company, or a long weekend to be home with her family.
    Links to other posts in this Motivation series

    Part 1: Creating a Culture of Motivation
    Part 2: Get Reacquainted with Staff
    Part 3: Establish clear expectations
    Part 4: Provide good feedback
    Part 5: Reward openly and often, with more than money

    For more information on creating a culture of motivation in your organization, please visit our website at or email us at

    This is one of the motivation strategies from "Creating a Culture of Motivation" by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in T&D, a publication of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). 

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