Reward and Recognition

Hi, I’m Sue Carr of CHC Consulting. This is the next blog in my series of the 13 pillars in the Canadian National Standards of Psychological Health and Safety. The link to this standard is in the text portion below this video. Today’s session addresses the pillar of Reward and Recognition.
The Standard defines Reward and Recognition as “A work environment where there is appropriate acknowledgment and appreciation of employees’ efforts in a fair and timely manner.”

It further describes an organization with good reward and recognition supports as one where:
·        “supervisors demonstrate appreciation of employees’ work,
·        employees are recognized for their commitment to work,
·        accomplishments are shared and celebrated, and
·        efforts towards employee wellness and satisfaction are recognized and rewarded.”

In our consulting work with organizations to build resilience to workplace stress, the topic of recognition and reward frequently comes up. Many employers feel overwhelmed or frustrated in building engagement and commitment to the organization within their employees. Establishing a reward and recognition strategy within your organization will go a long way to building a positive culture where employees are engaged and invested in the organization’s success.

What you do now to support your employees will determine if you survive or thrive as a result of this experience.

Some organizations I speak with comment that “Getting a pay cheque should be enough reward”. Providing employees with a pay cheque is not a reward, regardless of how much is being paid. It is simply fulfilling your end of a contractual obligation. Reward is demonstrating you see and value another person. It recognized the challenges over come or additional effort required during difficult times and celebrates successes and key accomplishments.

One of the questions I hear is “exactly how important is recognition for my organization?”  Recognition means the team members will feel more satisfied with their job. They will be more likely to support each other and the objectives and goals of the organization and have increased commitment to the organization. There are numerous scientific studies that demonstrate people will try harder when they know other notice and care. After all how long are you willing to put in the extra effort if no one notices or cares? If it doesn’t matter to anyone, why push so hard. Remember your staff are your organization’s ambassadors; they represent you and your company. You need them to be engaged and committed to what you stand for.

Recognition and reward is what separates the work teams that will thrive and grow as a result of the pandemic and those who struggle to survive. The impact of the pandemic will be with us for years to come and your team will remember how you lead. Do you see and value the efforts of others or are you blinded by your own struggles and ignored how your team was doing?

Another concern organizations often raise is the cost both time and money of rewards and recognition. Recognition does not need to be expensive. It doesn’t cost anything other than your attention to say thank you and provide specific feedback on what was done well or supported the desired outcomes. Rewards can be as simple as a preferred parking space when working on site, or a coffee or meal gift card, or the opportunity to check out early on a Friday afternoon, especially on a long weekend. They can also be more extensive for bigger achievements and recognition such as trophies or bigger ticket times, but they don’t have to be. The final common question I will address here is “how do I know what types of rewards will be most valued by my team?” This question is simple but not easy to answer. The only way to determine what types of rewards are most appreciated by your team is to ask them. Some may prefer tangible gifts like gift cards or certificates, others may prefer recognition in meetings, company newsletters, or a plaque in the reception area, still others may prefer one on one mentoring time with a senior staff and the opportunity to connect. It doesn’t always have to be a dream vacation or a weekend away.

The range of types of rewards are as varied as your team. I recommend asking your team for their preferences in advance for low cost, mid cost, and bigger cost types of recognition. Not everyone enjoys being publically recognized so keep this in mind when developing your recognition strategy.

Thank you cards tend to be universally appreciated and can be as little as the cost of a coffee or two to an expensive meal out.

Creating a culture of recognition and reward is crucial when you want to retain you star employees. This will also help to move decent employees into star employee status. Providing recognition supports people contributing to problem solving and offer creative ideas. We want people to engage and offer suggestions.

Peer Recognition must be encouraged, but it needs to be demonstrated from the senior team member first.

Get in the habit of saying thank you to your team and encourage the team to thank each other… in a genuine and sincere manner. This usually means being specific about what it being acknowledged. Thank yous tie back to the previous post on growth and development as a form of providing a small element of feedback. It helps to steer people on the correct path for what and how things should be done.

As a resiliency and workplace stress specialist, my trainings highlight one of the major contributors to building resilient work teams being a focus on what is working and what is positive.  Developing a culture of recognition with the team helps this as all team members are training themselves to look for recognizing the positive efforts within the team, celebrating the successes large and small. Keeping a focus on the successes will go a long way to building a team resilient to workplace stress.

It may take a bit of time to plan but will be worth it in the results of increased staff engagement and morale. Your team will demonstrate their appreciation by giving you their very best consistently.

To learn more on how to improve your Reward and Recognition processes or any of the 13 pillars of the National Standards on Psychological Health and Safety, contact us at 705-791-4602 or email us at [email protected]

Canadian Standards for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

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