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iWorkforce-i Readers Use Rewards to Keep Employees Motivated

March 22, 2002
Related Topics: Recognition, Featured Article, Compensation, Benefits

You know about awards and incentives programs that recognize productivity,longevity, and safety. But the HR professionals who responded to the Workforce 2002 HR Trends Survey reported some innovative areas for recognition, including:

  • Ability to manage or champion change
  • Innovation
  • Systems improvements
  • Retention of clients
  • Morale-building, "being able to recognize employees when they dosomething right"
  • Market diversification
  • Technological advances
  • Aggressive personal development
  • Displaying company's core values
  • Adding value to the company by building its knowledge

Nevertheless, some classic recognition categories don’t go out of style:

"We feel like companies are getting away from recognizing years of service,and we want our employees to know how much we appreciate their days of service!"wrote one respondent.

The need to reward is recognized widely by HR professionals, and so is theneed to find ways to recognize those achievements via something other thanraises. Nearly 90 percent of the HR professionals responding to the survey saythey are looking for ways -- other than salary -- to recognize performance.

"Awards and incentive programs are more important than ever before," saidone respondent. They don’t have to be expensive to be effective, therespondent added.

When asked about the effectiveness of using awards to recognize performancewhen cash is limited, 84 percent of the respondents to the Workforce 2002 HRTrends Survey said awards were "effective or highly effective."

For 78 percent of the respondents, the number and frequency of their non-cashawards had increased or stayed the same in the past two years.

"We just embarked on a brand new enterprise-wide recognition program lastyear, with great results," explained one respondent.

Awards Recognize Bottom-line Results
Respondents said they use non-cash awards to recognize performance inachieving these bottom-line results:

  • Meeting Goals, 78 percent
  • Productivity, 77
  • Team Building, 53
  • Contribution to Profit, 53
  • Cost Reduction, 48
  • Sales, 35
  • Attendance, 31
  • Safety, 29
  • Other, 12

There’s "greater scrutiny of the alignment of the incentive payment withshareholder value," added another respondent.

Uncertain Times Put More Emphasis on Rewards
The economic times put more emphasis on awards. With fewer raises -- or noraises at all -- there is "more consideration to non-cash achievement and/orlongevity awards," said a respondent to the Workforce trends survey.

"Due to the various uncertainties related to the economy, the war, andglobal concerns our employees are somewhat unsettled and morale is not as great,"explained another respondent. "We look at this situation as an opportunity toaddress these issues with an appropriate incentive and awards program."

Awards also can be used to build loyalty, another respondent said.

It’s "more important now than ever to recognize employee achievements andcontributions when some other employers are downsizing and cutting back.[Awards] tell my people that we are a great employer!" said a surveyrespondent.

"Because of the lower amount of cash available for bonus," explained onerespondent, "we instituted an award recognition program. The peer pressurecreated positive turnaround in our productivity."

"People are getting creative," added another respondent. "Small tokensof appreciation like paying for dinner at a nice restaurant for employee andspouse, t-shirts, other small tokens."

Some companies are seeking ways to spread the recognition around:

This year there are "lower dollar amounts to a large population where asbefore it was larger dollar amounts to a small number of people," said onesurvey respondent. Another concurred that this year there were "awards ofsmaller value, distributed over a wider number of employees."

Finally, words of praise carry tremendous value, even when they’re used todeliver a small token of thanks.

"Recognition from key managers and supervisors creates a better bond forthe organization as a whole," explained one survey respondent.

Workforce Online, April 2002 -- Register Now!

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