You Get What You Reward: A Scientific Approach to Employee Rewards and Recognition

28 July, 2022

You Get What You Reward: A Scientific Approach to Employee Rewards and Recognition

Understanding how employee rewards and recognition impacts productivity, performance, and employee engagement has been the subject of many studies and experiments, ergo, the salient connection between human behavior and appreciation needs no introduction. We are wired to crave connection, support, and acceptance from those around us, due to which the need for effective employee recognition has been diligently emphasized by HR thought leadership.

 “You Get What You Reward”- The Psychological Impact of Rewards and Recognition

Sometimes referred to as the “greatest management principle in the world,” this quote was first coined by Michael LeBoeuf (1985) in a book by the same name. Extensive research into behavioral psychology asserts that providing positive consequences in the form of appreciation for a job well done is one of the most powerful ways to enhance performance.

This positive impact can be attributed to oxytocin; a hormone naturally produced in the human body when one feels loved, wanted, and appreciated in any capacity. For instance, oxytocin can build up when we share a smile with a colleague or experience a firm handshake. Research posits that employees who work under the positive influence of naturally-induced oxytocin are more productive and self-aware of their responsibilities. As a result, business performance also skyrockets!

Additionally, when professional development and learning opportunities are accompanied by a strong foundation of rewards and recognition, it establishes a robust groundwork for coveted value-driven attributes, helping launch a successful, winning organizational culture.

Appreciation Benefits Everyone- No Matter Who Gives and Receives It!

Although the psychology behind employee R&R is well-versed, one might wonder, “Why should I recognize my coworkers if I don’t get anything in return?” This is where the most phenomenal factor comes in- appreciating others in fact generates the same biological reaction that takes place while receiving praise. In simpler terms, whether you are at the receiving or the giving end of recognition does not matter, you shall ultimately be benefitted in the form of increased engagement, motivation, and morale!

What Makes Recognition Stand Out?

Now that the impact of R&R is clear, let’s dig deeper- how do you acknowledge good work? Consider this scenario- “Thanks for your help in that presentation” is definitely nice to hear. But it is certainly not as meaningful as, “Your proactive interaction with the client and the well-designed presentation played a crucial role in bagging the contract. We couldn’t have achieved this without you!”

The difference between the two says volumes; if your recognition feels genuine, detailed, and authentic, it is much more likely that the employee goes the extra mile to replicate his effort in the next endeavor. So raise the bar from stale to stellar by incorporating these 4 elements of top-notch recognition the next time you want to say thank you:

1. Timely, instantaneous delivery of recognition

2. Publicize the achievement- Practice social recognition

3. Personalize appreciation to enhance its impact

4. Implement a 360-degree R&R framework that involves managerial as well as peer recognition

Read our Guide to Modern Employee Recognition Programs for a deeper insight.

Does Your Organization Foster a Culture of Appreciation?

If this article has succeeded in instilling a solid understanding of appreciation at the workplace, it’s time to rethink your R&R strategy. With the ongoing HR digital transformation, technology such as digital R&R software exists to enhance the overall employee experience using multipronged features such as 360-degree recognition, easy reward redemption, and virtual engagement activities.

The memo is clear- employee rewards and recognition is no longer just an industry standard, it has metamorphosed into an indispensable requirement for employee well-being and happiness. Gratifi, a revolutionary R&R platform, harnesses the power of technology to offer a customizable and adaptable solution uniquely built to suit your organizational needs. Book a demo today!

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