It’s a tradition we’ve grown accustomed to since youth: good behaviour deserves rewarding – but in the workplace, this sort of mentality may actually be hindering productivity. The most renowned reward system of all, ‘Employee of the Month’, is a topic that divides opinion in management across all industries. From salons to marketing companies, this scheme is not only widely used but also widely criticised. In this blog, we’ll take a look at why it might be time to say goodbye to traditional incentive schemes in favour of more effective ways to reward staff.
The negatives of ‘all for one’
While the ‘Employee of the Month’ scheme might be a great way of encouraging and rewarding an individual, it has the potential to demotivate the rest of your staff. The risk of rewarding one team member, particularly if they often excel, is that the others may become disheartened. This can also lead to resentment within the team and potentially breed negativity by creating a social divide – having an adverse effect to what was initially planned. The reality is that everyone’s position within a company is different – each employee brings something unique to their role. Those who work behind the scenes are unlikely to be as visible on the boss’s radar, meaning they’re less likely to be rewarded. But the fact is that, without the continuous hard work of everyone in the team, the rest of the business wouldn’t be able to function.
Another problem with recurring reward schemes, whether weekly or monthly, is that they can begin to lose their original meaning. For people who often excel, a regular prize may become something they grow to expect rather than work hard to earn. Alternatively, some employees may become more concerned with winning a monetary treat than actually performing within their role.
One prize does not fit all
When it comes to rewarding employees, it’s important to acknowledge their individuality. For example: if the standard prize is always wine and 40% of your team don’t drink alcohol, there is no incentive for them to try and win. If a reward system is your way of encouraging your staff, make sure there is an opportunity for everyone on the team to excel – not just those who work on the ‘frontline’ – as well as a suitable reward for everyone.
In 2012, Forbes published an article discussing employee recognition and how the human feeling of being needed carries more weight than being rewarded with prizes. Although reward schemes seem to be a fun incentive on the surface, the truth is that most employees would prefer other forms of praise. Simple gestures like a quick email acknowledging a particular achievement or a mention in a team meeting is a great way to boost morale – and it also ensures that things are noted as they happen, rather than at the end of the month when the achievement may have lost some of its significance. The better you know your staff, the easier you will find it to encourage and reward them in ways that suit them.
Long term happiness vs a fleeting treat
While a bottle of wine once a month might be a welcome treat, the enjoyment is fleeting. Rather than focusing on more superficial prizes in an attempt to praise and encourage your staff, a more beneficial approach is to focus on their long-term health and happiness. Their work environment should be a place your employees feel comfortable and relaxed – and allowing them to indulge in the things they love is one way of making this happen.
One strategy we’d suggest would be to purchase a coffee machine. This would allow your staff regular access to the world’s second most highly consumed drink and, according to a 2013 article from Bdaily, a proven productivity booster.
Investing in one of Eden Springs’ eco-friendly coffee machines means your staff can find the perfect pick-me-up whenever they need it – while a water cooler provides your employees with unlimited H2O, keeping their brains active and healthy.