Individuals who are motivated by their connection to a larger purpose, and who easily connect the dots between their efforts and the larger mission, are the driving force behind organizational success. And, in reality, they can be difficult to find. While everyone can talk the talk in interview, maintaining that enthusiasm throughout the year is less easy to fake.
“Many people are in jobs that are nothing more than a means to an end. In those situations where intrinsic motivation is lacking, rewards have a purpose,” says Tom Short, Founder and President of Kudos Inc. “The key for businesses is to understand which tasks, and which employees, require what sort of motivation. Diligence is required to ensure rewards are used where they won’t be crowding out the existing intrinsic motivation of employees and creating new entitlements.”
Short believes that rewards and recognition should be used together when there is a clear and consistent strategy. If an organization does decide to give rewards, they should only be a micro-benefit reward that remains secondary to recognition.
“Every business has its version of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Whether it’s to revolutionize an industry, increase revenues, or take over a new market, every business has a larger mission and a larger purpose,” Short says. “Sharing that with employees and allowing them to be part of it is the first half of the equation. Focused and consistent communication is essential to share, excite and align a team to the bigger corporate goals, values, and vision. The second half is to make sure their efforts along the way are acknowledged and aligned to the corporate goals, values, and vision.”
Employees also want their work to be acknowledged and appreciated, no matter how small. Organizations need to define and communicate their strategy and then praise teams along the way. Employees who are motivated and enjoy their work are shown to respond to such conscientious strategies.
“Employees that are intrinsically motivated or enjoy their work for its own sake, are much more likely to be innovative and to be engaged,” Short says. “As all the studies clearly show you can best nurture engagement with timely and meaningful notes of recognition and appreciation.”
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