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A mix of rewards boosts motivation

Employee reward programs have been shown to increase motivation and enthusiasm among workers. This allows companies to be more productive, while undertaking changes that will make them more competitive.

Employee reward programs have been shown to increase motivation and enthusiasm among workers. This allows companies to improve productivity, while undertaking changes that will make them more competitive.

However, not every program is successful in accomplishing its goals. A number of factors can influence the overall success of a reward program, including the overall objective, how much support it gets from management and how performance is measured. But many companies forget to consider the impact that the rewards can have on encouraging participation.

It's easy to gain excitement among staff members with large, expensive gifts. If the reward is something that everyone wants, then all employees will start working hard to achieve the reward. However, there can also be drawbacks to this approach. Big rewards have a big price tag, so to maximize their return on investment companies are forced to limit their numbers. Compensation Cafe notes that this can have an all or nothing result. Simply, once employees are out of the running for the big final prize, they may stop trying. This reduces the overall productivity of the team and may even cause the company to miss its objectives.

Engaging staff effectively
The other problem highlighted by Compensation Cafe is that adding to big rewards doesn't create additional excitement. This is particularly a problem of monetary rewards. Large cash bonuses work well until they become commonplace. Companies then struggle to generate excitement for the reward. Making the reward larger doesn't change the interest level of employees unless it represent a significant jump in value.

The Globe and Mail suggests that companies keep incentives simple, as this provides more possibilities to recognize employees for outstanding performance. To maximize the feedback and create a clear link to the behavior that is being rewarded, awards need to be immediate and spontaneous. This is difficult to do with big rewards.

Businesses can use smaller rewards to create instant feedback. Acknowledging success keeps employees moving in the correct direction and can maintain enthusiasm for the initiative. It also gives everyone a chance to earn a reward which boost overall satisfaction. However, a challenge with small rewards is that they can blend together. Companies need a variety of items to hand out to appeal to all employees. Companies that use a mix of rewards, both large and small, may find they are able to keep engagement levels up during the entire initiative and achieve better results.

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