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Boosting performance requires heaping on the praise

Spending 1 percent of payroll on rewards programs can see an 85 percent positive impact on worker engagement,

Companies that employ a single, end-of-the-year bonus system are not maximizing the value of their incentive programs. Employees come to anticipate the bonus and many count it as part of their regular income. The result is that it provides a temporary boost to productivity that quickly fades.

A better solution is to create a reward and recognition program. The continual, public feedback from these initiatives lift productivity, worker engagement and office morale. The increased communication allows businesses to see stronger collaborations, create more agile environments and reduce staff turnover. A Society of Human Resources Management/Globoforce survey found that firms spending 1 percent of payroll on rewards programs can see an 85 percent positive impact on worker engagement, with the effects lasting longer than annual bonuses.

To maximize the benefits of the employee reward program, recognition should be made public, according to the survey. High achievers should be acknowledged as such and the publicity sends a clear message to all employees about the expectations of the company. Managers who take the time to recognize key contributions will generate better performance from all staff members as they understand that their hard work will not go unnoticed.

Create constant feedback
The recognition doesn't have to come from a supervisor. Incentive Magazine suggests that utilizing peer-to-peer awards builds a more supportive corporate culture. Staff members can nominate their coworkers for assisting them in overcoming difficult challenges, providing helpful advice or just creating a positive work environment. Creating an employee recognition plan that incorporates peer-based rewards and supervisor recognition allows the praises to come consistently, lifting overall performance for the entire department.

Open communication between all levels of the company is required for employee reward programs to work, but the plans also rely on providing rewards that workers value. Businesses often make the mistake of turning surplus marketing merchandise into employee rewards. This lack of personalization diminishes the value of the items, as staff members often feel that the rewards were created as an afterthought. Recognition plans that offer a selection of customized merchandise will see higher participation and generate better results for less.

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