3 Psychology Theories that can be Applied to Employee Rewards and Recognition

30 September, 2022

3 Psychology Theories that can be Applied to Employee Rewards and Recognition

There are abundant behavioral science and psychology theories that can be applied to the workplace for its’ betterment. Surprisingly enough, these theories are just as applicable today as they were before, even more so with the dynamic nature of employee engagement activities and the ever-evolving employee experience. In this blog, we discuss three important theories that find profound application at the workplace, along with simple ways to put them to action.

Read on for an interesting insight into the world of behavioral psychology and employee R&R!

Expectancy Theory

Victor Vroom popularized his expectancy theory in the 1960s, and now more than ever, employers are applying the expectancy theory to their total rewards strategy in order to organically drive motivation and thus boost productivity.

This motivational theory is driven by three basic factors-

1. Expectancy: The inherent belief that your effort will lead to better performance.

2. Instrumentality: The trust that if you perform well, you will achieve the expected outcome.

3. Valence: The importance and the personal value of the outcome, in this case, the reward.

In simpler terms, this theory is dictated by deep foundational perceptions such as “I can do this” and “If I do this, I will get something that is important to me”. Understanding the vitality of such perceptions can help to create rewards and recognition programs that are more practical and catered to the individualistic needs of a diverse workforce.

Deploying a digital R&R platform is the best way to make the most of the expectancy theory. For example, a robust R&R software enhances your total rewards communication by maintaining a transparent flow of information. Features such a surveys and polls can help you determine what kind of R&R initiatives your employees value the most, and a holistic employee rewards framework can provide a customized rewards catalog to empower your people with the freedom of choice!

Two Factor Theory

The Two Factor Theory (also known as the motivation-hygiene theory) entails that job satisfaction levels depend upon two types of factors-

1. Motivators that contribute to job satisfaction: Rewards, recognition, advancement opportunities, and access to training.

2. Hygiene factors that contribute to job dissatisfaction: Job security and safety, organizational culture, compensation, work conditions, and team bonding.

As the labels suggest, motivators steer up employee satisfaction and improve their motivation, while the absence of hygiene factors can result in lower employee engagement and faster burnout.

Referring to all the factors listed in this theory while designing your unique R&R program can be the best way to create a strategy that includes both motivational as well as de-motivational elements, thus leaving no room for error. Connect with us for an expert consultation on your R&R needs!

Reinforcement Theory

The reinforcement theory applied to the workplace means that organizations can change employees’ behaviors using positive and negative reinforcement in the form of recognition, rewards, and company awards. This theory can be actionable only if the reinforcers used by employers are meaningful and worth the desired effort. If your employees are unsatisfied with the R&R framework, it will not inspire any motivation within them to pursue excellence or maximize productivity.

Two factors to consider while leveraging the reinforcement theory are-

1. Timeliness: The effect of appreciation is full-fledged when it comes right after the action. If the gap between the two is longer, the reinforcer will not serve its’ cause. Adopt a digital R&R platform to ensure real-time, on-the-go recognition through a web portal and a mobile application.

2. Relevance: A banal coffee mug as a reward is no longer an impactful motivator, employees now want to be appreciated with rewards that symbolize their achievement and incarnate their personal idiosyncrasies. Read our blog on the power of customization in employee rewards to know more!

Make the Most of Psychology Theories by Adopting a Digital R&R Platform!

Gratifi has helped many industry leaders in the digital transformation of R&R by leveraging behavioral and sentiment analytics. Curating tasteful mix of rewards, recognition, and employee engagement suited to your organizational needs is what we do! Ask for a personalized demo to experience the software in action!   

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