Employee Engagement: When Rewards Destroy Instead of Motivating

by Kylee Stone Nov 18,2019

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Nobody wants to destroy employee engagement.

At least, no one in an organization actively wants to ruin it because that is literally the opposite of what any organization. However, there is something to be said for unintentionally destroying employee engagement, either through generic forms of recognition or even thoughtlessness.

Be Culturally Mindful

An organization is not always filled to the brim with people who all possess the same mindset and outlook on life. Most organizations are thriving hubs of diversity. No one person is the same as the other. Organizations are not homogenous is something you should keep in mind when creating an employee reward program. For instance, if one of the items in an employee reward program is a coupon for a night out at a restaurant that is known for its delicious meat burgers and the employee who receives the coupon is either a vegan or abstains from meat for whatever reason, this makes the gesture an empty and thoughtless one. Make sure that the rewards you want to share with employees are ones they appreciate and like, instead of ones that make them feel even worse.

Also read: Employee Appreciation – No Two Ways About It

When Reward Promises Are Not Delivered

As a part of the new employee reward program, you are offering your employee free passes to the gym. But if you do not give your employees time to go to the gym to use that free pass that you’ve provided, that free pass is essentially a reward that means nothing right? Rewards must be backed up by action. After all, the employees in question stood up to their end of the bargain and did work. Now it is time to hold up your end of the bargain. If you do not, that leaves a poor taste in everyone’s mouth.

The Personal Touch

Take a little time to know about the employee who’s getting the reward. Rewards are better when they are personalized because then they become meaningful. Certain occasions call for highly personalized gifts. Sure, they might cost a little more but they certainly do not cost as much as an employee leaving because they were hurt by their organization’s inability to recognize their good work even in the most basic of ways.

Do Away With Generic Awards

Generic rewards have their time and place. They make sense when special occasions need to be marked. However, they do not make sense when they are handed to a person who’s just been responsible for bringing the organization a tremendous amount of revenue. And neither is it appropriate to thank a team by giving the most basic and generic rewards. It will rightly feel like a slap in the face.

Also Read: Understanding Employee Wellbeing In 2021

Like it or not, employee recognition and rewards do have an impact on employee engagement. It is organizations to put thought into rewards and recognition. It helps with employee retention as well and is crucial to helping employees feel like a vital part of an organization.

How can Engagedly help your organization improve employee engagement and employee recognition?

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Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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