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Reward and recognition programs help firms improve talent development

Employee reward and recognition programs give organizations the tools they need to provide regular feedback.

Human resource departments spend a lot of time considering how to get the most out of employees. Various metrics and reviews are put in place to determine how well individuals complete their assignments and meet their goals.

Employee Benefits stated that one of the more traditional forms of talent development is the annual performance review. These meetings identify a worker's progress and establish individual objectives for him or her to work on. The source noted that the personalized nature of the discussions can contribute to a fair amount of success, but a lack of consistent feedback may also hold staff development back.

"What often happens with employers who don't invest in their Performance Development Review (PDR) system, is that they use it as a badge of honor for employees to hang something on at the end of the year," Martin Alden, head of B2B and partnerships at Wickes, told the source. "For instance, usually what happens is that [an employer] will run a PDR, and the [employee] will put it away in a drawer until two weeks before next year's PDR. The employee then realizes they need to achieve the objectives they agreed upon last year in two weeks."

Employee reward and recognition programs give organizations the tools they need to provide regular feedback. These initiatives can be set up with clear benchmarks that should be achieved each month or quarter, giving workers an attainable objective to strive for. The Washington Post reported that the best management programs offer continual, personalized feedback. Linking incentives to professional development goals is a simple way to encourage interactions between managers and their staff.

Include peer-reviews to improve trust
The source noted that the more communication there is between parties, the more likely employees are to trust recommendations and advice given by their supervisors. This makes it easier for workers to accept criticism and make the appropriate changes. Without this acceptance, staff reviews can become a very negative process. In many cases, workers feel their bosses don't recognize their best efforts. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 90 percent of respondents said feedback their managers was not as accurate as that offered by co-workers.

To address the problem, companies can include peer-based reward and recognition programs in their review process. Encouraging team members to acknowledge strong performances by their co-workers can provide additional motivation and give managers more information for development programs. Employee Benefits noted that peer recognition helps workers feel validated, which keeps them from being discouraged when continually striving to meet challenges. 

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