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Recognizing Great Effort

Recognizing Great Effort

Author: Kelly Nordstrom

This lesson discusses a range of approaches to recognizing strong performance.

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Introduction to Psychology

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Thank you for joining me for this tutorial on recognizing great effort. This lesson discusses a range of approaches to recognizing strong performance. So let's get started.

Let's take a look at our objectives. Are other types of rewards and recognitions? What is the difference between formal and informal recognition? And what are the benefits of rewards and recognitions? OK, so let's get started.

So what are rewards and recognitions? Rewards and recognitions may be targeted toward acknowledging any of the following things I have listed here-- particular results achieved, exceptional performance, handling a difficult situation well, presenting a strong idea or design or an alternative, exceptional execution of normal work responsibilities, and a consistent attitude or approach.

So we'll talk about two types of rewards and recognitions, monetary and non-monetary. So monetary rewards and recognition includes-- you can see here-- raises, gift cards, or other cash equivalents and bonuses. Non-monetary rewards can come in two different forms, tangible and intangible. Gifts can be things like pens, watches, tickets, trips, things like that. Perks can be the use of a company car, executive lounge.

So those are the tangible rewards and recognition. The intangible recognition and rewards that come in the form of non-monetary rewards would be words of praise, increased responsibilities, or more desired responsibilities, a promotion or title change, increased involvement and influence in the company and on the team, increased trust and autonomy, opportunities for training or education, flexible hours, possibly some time off. Non-monetary rewards are often just as effective and are frequently more effective than monetary rewards.

It's important to note that verbal praise is much more effective when it's timely. Right after the achievement is noticed, that's when verbal praise is going to be most effective and contextual. So let's say that someone was on vacation. And there was a big project that came down. And I stepped up to the plate and handled the project. And it was a lot of work, but it was worth it. That's when the words of praise should come. That's what it's going to be most effective. And the context will be there. I'll know exactly what this person is talking about. And it will feel good to receive those words of praise.

And of course, different individuals find different rewards motivating. Ideally, rewards should be chosen to align with what will have the greatest impact on the individual's performance and morale.

So how do we present rewards and recognition? Well, two ways, formal versus informal. We're going to talk about these two ways right now.

Formal rewards and recognitions are generally part of a program or a plan. It's a bigger deal. The amount and the nature of the reward and measurement or conditions associated with earning the recognition will be communicated beforehand. No surprises here.

Most often, these awards are communicated to a team of individuals performing the similar roles. Sometimes, these rewards are competitive, so only the top individuals are rewarded. That's not always the case. Of course, there may be situations where anyone who reached the communicated standard would be rewarded. Or they may have been a team effort, achievable only by the group as a collective unit.

Informal rewards and recognitions would not be communicated beforehand. This is more spontaneous. They may be part of an internal plan that management has in place. For example, there was someone who worked pretty hard. And we brought cupcakes to a meeting, just to acknowledge that person's extra effort. This type of reward and recognition may be offered in the moment of achievement. Wow, that's really great job you just did. More commonly, they'll be given after some period of reflection on the part of supervisors and management.

These rewards and recognitions may be announced to the group when given. Or they may be given privately. Hey, can I talk to you for a minute? I was really impressed by the work you did.

An organization may have a rewards and recognition program that could incorporate either or both of these kinds of rewards.

And you can see the results down here-- improved self-esteem, quality of work increases, positive atmosphere across the team, increased commitment, not to mention the side effects, the types of activities and attitudes that are seen as desirable. Individuals or groups, they're motivated to continue the recognized activities and attitudes or similar activities and attitudes. And it becomes contagious. This positive atmosphere becomes contagious. Individuals, groups, teams are as inspired as a whole to emulate these desired activities.

And since these rewards and recognitions reinforce behaviors, they should be given for activities that directly align with team goals. Those team goals are never far from where we are. It can be useful to get smaller rewards for smaller achievements. We want to be sure that the weight of achievement is rewarded with the appropriate reward and recognition. So we'll have moderate rewards for moderate achievements, rather than only offering large rewards. We want to save rewards and recognitions for only the big things. We want to be sure to reward people along the way because it's more opportunity to reinforce behavior that's aligned to team goals.

However, rewards and recognition should be kept in balance with the achievement. It's generally better to reserve significant recognitions for performance that is above and beyond expectations. We want to be sure to caution against giving rewards and recognitions too frequently or for achievements are too small or for standard or baseline levels of performance. If we do that, we risk losing meaning and even may decrease motivation.

But on the flipside, when employees are not rewarded or recognized, we see that high-performing employees may develop the perception that working harder is not beneficial. They may become less motivated. And low-performing employees may see no reason to improve their performance. After all, there's no reward. Why should we try to do better? And employees will not be as invested in team or organizational goals, since they've not been reinforced through reward.

So this concludes today's tutorial. Let's check our objectives. Make sure that we met them. Are there types of rewards and recognitions? Yeah, there sure are. We talked about formal and informal, monetary, non-monetary, and tangible and intangible.

What is the difference between formal and informal recognition? Well, the formal usually has a conversation. It's usually planned prior to the event. Informal recognition is, well, informal. It generally happens to be more spontaneous.

And what are the benefits of rewards and recognitions? Higher self-esteem, higher commitment, and the positive atmosphere becomes contagious.

Thank you for joining me for today's tutorial. I hope to see you again soon.