Monday, April 30, 2012


Your reward should be based on
the outcome.
When my son got first appreciation in his school, I bought Cadbury for him. He was happy and excited to get both. Next time, when same thing repeated, he was happy about the appreciation, but not for the Cadbury. I realized that only same reward is not always work. My wife is more smart in this. She told him during his final exam preparations that he would get his favourite Bumblebee transformer if he works hard to score the numbers and he did that. She has defined the (unwritten) reward policy for him and it works well. The range of rewards includes viewing favourite “Doreman show” to toy and most of the time good and motivating words. Human being is same and rewards have to be defined considering this human dimension in mind.  

Once the newly nominated COO declared that the company is not taking enough efforts to reward their employees. He insisted that the company should start some good practices of rewards like certificates for employee of the months, smileys and thank you notes for doing good job etc. etc. For few months it went well, but then real problem started. Employees were not excited to receive certificates. It just became the ritual to identify the employees for the reward. Getting certificates for everything was not at all motivating for them. The real problem was not in the reward schemes. The motivation is always a subjective terms. You don’t know how employees perceive motivation. And when it comes to the organization, employees most of the time expect the reward which is associated to their pay.

The old way isn’t always working. We continue to reward the same behaviors we have rewarded in the past while expecting different results. We profess interest in really doing things differently but settle into routines that are comfortable and safe.

What motivates one person may not necessarily motivate other. Off course, “I have done this, me, me, me” is the primary response. But in larger perceptive, we should understand the human nature and every human is different. Hence their motivation level is different and also expectations about rewards. In manufacturing industries, especially in automobile industries, they implement Kaizen and Kaizen is not associated with any monitory rewards. It is the way of leaving there and hence just appreciation certificates are given to employees who participate in Kaizen. However, this is branded as a way of leaving there.

Before introducing any reward system, we should understand what behaviour we want to reward. Then the reward should be associated with some results. If you are rewarding your project team who had given you the saving of 5 crores, mere certificate may motivate them for first time, but next time, they may not passionately participate in the project.

My suggestion is not to just copy reward schemes from somewhere and make the mess with whole philosophy. Just think how your people get motivated.      

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