Spontaneous, Personal Rewards Are More Effective Than Regular Cash Bonuses

Posted January 28, 2011 by

Employees always like it when their bosses reward them for hard work and jobs well done; the rewards are appreciated even more when they arrive unexpectedly. While regular cash bonuses are nice, they’re problematic, particularly when everyone on the team receives a bonus, regardless of his/her contribution. Another problem with regular cash bonuses is that employees come to expect them and some will even go so far as to complain if the amount is less than they think it should be.

In his article Three Keys to Successful Recognition Programs, Bill Meltzer offers the following tips to help employers save money and reward their employees at the same time.
1. Creativity is crucial. Meltzer suggests combining time off with another “non-cash award” like movie passes.
2. Make it personal. Tailor rewards to employees’ needs or interests like phone cards for employees who like to call familiy members who live in another state or country or tickets to a ball game for high performers who are sports fans. Not only are such rewards long remembered, they’re also repaid with continuous employee enthusiasm.
3. Add structure. Although the rewards appear spontaneous, careful planning must take place in advance to ensure that the rewards don’t exceed the company budget and to ensure that top performers are consistently recognized for their excellence.
It always feels good to be recognized for a job well done, but when the recognition comes in the form of a personal, seemingly random reward, it motivates employees to do a great job more often, with the hope that they’ll receive more “spontaneous” rewards. The benefit for employers comes in the form of happier, more productive employees and greater retention of top talent.

Originally posted by Candice A

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