Everyone gets a prize: The value of positive reinforcement

August 22, 2012
Everyone gets a prize: The value of positive reinforcement

One of the major myths in HR is that only the superstars in a company can and should be rewarded. Focusing on the top percentile because of budget or belief is a small but significant misstep. The other 70 percent of your workers are the support that makes it possible for the elite to succeed. Even the most average worker that subscribes to the company culture is an asset that makes the organization run. Recognizing their contribution, and doing it in a meaningful way, is important: receiving recognition made employees more satisfied with their work and/or position in the company. How can you do this in a budget-friendly way?

Carve out time on a regular basis for you and your team members to reflect on achievements or small acts of excellence that they’ve witnessed. Don’t leave this just for the annual awards ceremony. In fact, give out kudos when the mood strikes and make sure that everyone feels comfortable doing this. Descriptive and specific positive reinforcement works like a charm.

In rewards and praise, although managers are important (a recent study found that one of the top influencers of retention was an employee’s direct supervisor), recognition from peers is also found to be just as—if not more—meaningful.

“Crowdsourcing” recognition and praise for employees is one of the growing trends in HR that reflects the younger generation’s culture of social media and networking. Plus, it’s affordable. One way to go about it is to ask your staff or team to email their nominations for employee of the month. No matter who actually gets a reward, circulating the emails with your own compliments can have a big impact on morale and team building.

For little to no cost, you can apply these tips to amplify the positive effects of your current employee recognition program. Expand the impact of your recognition, and see your success, efficiency and productivity grow exponentially.


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