Top 10 Mistakes People Make Giving Rewards and Recognition

Making mistakes in giving people rewards and recognition can be a costly one you don’t want to repeat. These Top 10 Mistakes were generated from corporate leaders and experts responsible for rewards and recognition. If, like these leaders, you can learn from these mistakes, then much will have been achieved in helping to get rewards and recognition right in the workplace.

  1. Keeping your eyes too focused on the extrinsic value of the reward. Managers need to pay more attention to the importance of how they deliver a reward to a person. Stop looking at the monetary value of an award, whether high or low, and enhance the quality of the recipient’s experience.
  2. Making recognition programs the primary vehicle for recognition giving. Remember recognition programs are simply a tool for practicing good recognition giving. You can strategize, systemize, and customize all you want, but recognition and reward programs can never surpass authentic practices.
  3. Forgetting the why of recognition and rewards given. Come back to earth and ask good “WHY” questions before every recognition encounter. Why are you honoring them? Why are you amazed at their contribution? Does this award validate their worth? What do you want them to come away with?
  4. Neglecting the personal touch even when giving large rewards. Winning the best-of-the best award with its exotic destination or cruise event, or monetary bonus or large merchandise gift, is always a big deal. BUT never forget the personal touch – their name, the connections made and captured memories.
  5. For goodness sake give them the recognition they deserve! Take the time and effort required to communicate your appreciation meaningfully via online tools. Be intentional and authentic with any in-person presentation made. Don’t lose the positive impact of an award by not expressing the recognition right.
  6. Letting the merchandise or award sabotage the effect really wanted. Shoot down attitudes where leaders think great merchandise means you’ve got a great recognition program. Determine the purpose for the recognition and rewards first and then allow any tangibles to accent positive relationship building.
  7. Not doing your homework beforehand on the recipient. Be prepared and do your research ahead of time to learn about the recipient if you do not know them. Allow the award or reward being given to be enhanced by the insights you discover and share about the person and the great contribution they’ve made.
  8. Messing up on the messaging opportunity before you give recognition. Get their preferred name, title and award name right when posting on billboards, LCD screens, emails or newsletters. With face-to-face presentations don’t use sarcasm or negate positive expressions with a BUT midway or a counterpoint.
  9. Confusing people between rewards and recognition. Most don’t know the difference. Money does not always drive performance. Too many rewards can lead to entitlement. Not enough recognition can reduce productivity. Understand the definitions of both, separate them carefully, then, unite to maximize results.
  10. Not remembering there are people involved here. Rewards and recognition can become too transactional instead of transformational. We must each create positive relationships with people and use the tools available to help us inspire and lift people up to new heights. It’s about people – never about things.

Question: What mistakes with rewards and recognition have you dealt with?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

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