5 Mistakes to Avoid When Rewarding Your Employees

March 5, 2015

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Rewarding Your Employees

Giving your people recognition for their hard work is one of the most powerful motivations tools you possess. A little bit of recognition can really go a long way.

But be warned: there are 5 common mistakes that actually have the opposite effect. If you make these 5 mistakes, you might find that your efforts to give recognition actually reduce productivity and engagement instead of increasing it!

1. Waiting Too Long

It’s great to say “well done” during a performance review – and you definitely should be doing that! But if you notice somebody putting in some really hard work on one day, but then you wait 6 months before you even mention it… well, you probably missed your opportunity to really fuel the kind of behaviour that drives your business forward. So if you see something that impresses you, by all means, make a note of it and mention it at the next performance review… but there’s no harm in saying “great job” as soon as you notice it, and you’ll probably see an immediate increase in hard work and productivity as a result.

2. Using the Same Recognition Techniques for Everyone

Alright, so if you have a formal recognition procedure in places – such as a commission or bonus structure – I’m not saying you should tweak this on a per-person basis. But when it comes to the less formal types of recognition, you should definitely consider what will appeal to the different people you’re giving it to. For example, one person might really love to be stood at the front of the office and given a huge round of applause – but to somebody else, that could be their idea of a terrible nightmare! Learn to know your people and reward them in ways you know they’ll love.

3. Not Understanding Why You’re Rewarding Somebody

If one of your colleagues says “Gemma worked really hard today – she’d appreciate a thanks”, then it won’t really mean much if you give Gemma a generic “thanks for your hard work today”. What if she asks what you’re thanking her for? That could really backfire! So before you go ahead and reward somebody for their hard work, make sure you know exactly what you’re saying thank you for.

4. Thanking Everybody for One Person’s Achievement

If there is one person on the team who has single-handedly gone above and beyond to create something that is so much more than awesome, then they might be pretty deflated if you go ahead and thank everybody collectively for something they were solely responsible for. Naturally, you want to encourage team work, and you want to recognise and reward teams who work together to produce something great. But if something has been obviously done by a single person, then make sure they get the credit they deserve – and make sure you do it without putting the others down.

5.  Being Insincere

People can sniff insincerity out a mile off; and they hate it. You might think that saying “thanks for your hard work everyone” at the end of a day where it’s quite clear that no hard work has been done, then your words will have far less merit when you want to really show somebody you appreciate them.

Stay ahead with HR

Get free HR insights, expert tips and exclusive interviews, and start making more impact at work

Please enter a valid email address

See People HR in action

View our short video demo

Get started absolutely free

No credit card required

Talk with an expert to learn how People HR could help your organisation