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Professionals sound off on need for rewards

Employee recognition is a best practice, but not a universally followed one.

There are many different requirements for a happy and productive workforce. Leaders who don't offer equitable and desirable rewards for their employees, for example, may discover that these professionals aren't living up to the organization's high standards. The key is to ensure that whatever recognition process is in place, it is well tailored to the workers in question. Employees work best when they know that their efforts are being appreciated and taken into account. A lack of such an outlook could weaken resolve and make individuals doubt their long-term place in the organization. However, according to industry sources, leaders sometimes make the mistake of not recognizing their staff's contributions.

Lack of recognition exposed
If employee rewards and recognition programs are so important to the fabric of business, why have so many companies so far failed to establish them? A recent Forbes column by Victor Lipman explored exactly that question. He polled professionals and presented the opinions of today's workforce. Danna Blum told Lipman that there may be a resistance to putting in the effort it will take to please the workforce, and that this also means programs that do exist tend to be anonymous, without regard to the personal wishes of the individual. Blum stated this type of recognition feels better but requires buy-in from management.

Another respondent to Lipman's question, going merely by "Andy", told the writer that office crises can cause issues with recognition. When companies try to counteract any adverse events affecting their current status, the workers on the ground level may take away the message of the struggle rather than the times they have been singled out for praise by their superiors. Andy, a leader himself, noted that it is simply a difficult situation to cope with sometimes. Teams want to keep moving forward and countering their issues, but can in turn foment an anxious environment.

Avoiding worst practices
No recognition of employee excellence is a faux pas today, but so is setting up a token program that doesn't work well. Business Management contributor Cal Butera recently explained that the process of singling out employees on a monthly basis has the potential to fail without the proper care. He stated that procedural fouls such as letting the workers themselves vote for the recognized professional have their own problematic consequences. For example, opening up Butera stated that peer voting for awards may let cliques within the workforce develop and give recognition to candidates who have not put in the required performance that month.

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