Recognition & Reward * How to Get It Right

A conversation starter from Harvard Business Publishing on rewarding and retaining people when money is tight recently did inspire several excellent comments. It is encouraging to see so many people who “get it” when it comes to the importance of recognition.

A couple of key conclusions were:
1) “Recognition inspires not only the recipient but also others.” – This is certainly true. Recently, the Stanford Graduate School of Business asked us to participate in a study that has now become part of their curriculum on the importance of effective recognition. We confirmed through that study what we had believed to be best practice – when employees are recognized at a rate of 5-8% a week, a culture of recognition takes off in that employees throughout the organization begin to encourage each other and notice actions and behavior deserving of recognition. What a powerful motivator for positive change!

2) “Different people see value in different things, so one should strive to understand what is important to individuals working for you. This is especially critical when working in an unfamiliar cultural environment.” – Again, this is very true. Old-school catalog programs limited reward choice – making it difficult, for example, for a manager with globally scattered team to choose an appropriate and equivalent reward for all team members. We’ve heard horror stories of clocks being sent to Chinese team members, where such an item symbolizes death! Or fleece jackets sent to staff working in countries where the average temperature is 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Farenheit)! The importance of giving the reward of choice is another key tenet of strategic recognition.

Are you creating a culture of appreciation with valuable rewards? What is valuable to you?

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