Some Employee Rewards Do NOT Stimulate Better Behavior

Employee Rewards Do NOT Stimulate Better Behavior

Did You Know Some Employee Rewards Do NOT Stimulate Better Behavior?
If you have ever led a group of people, you know some employee rewards do NOT stimulate better behavior.  We know from experience that employee rewards can be tricky and have unintended consequences.

Employee Reward and Behavior Research
Recent research by the Harvard Business School and Washington University agrees that rewards do not always produce the desired behavior change.  The study at a commercial laundry company showed that, instead of increasing productivity by offering gift card drawings for those employees with perfect attendance for the month, productivity decreased significantly.

What Went Wrong?
Analysis found that management had made several mistakes that produced unexpected, negative consequences.  Mistakes that you should be aware of before you try to create a rewards and recognition program to help get the most out of your employees.

1. Employees Learned How to Game the System
The possibility of a reward did not necessarily improve their work…it only improved them showing up. And when employees were no longer eligible for the reward, they were tardy or absent as before.

  • Savvy talent management leaders expect their employees to “game the system.”
  • In fact, if your rewards and consequences for performance are aligned with your corporate strategy and organizational culture, you want your employees to do whatever it takes to achieve their targets in a way that aligns with your corporate values.
  • In the laundry example, the root cause of poor performance was incorrectly identified as having a correlation to attendance.
  • Make sure your incentives are based upon the true behavior you want to change.

2. The Gift Card Was a Disincentive to Those Employees Who Had Been Working Hard and Coming to Work Regularly and On Time.
To them, the offer did not acknowledge what they had been doing right all along.  Too many leaders mistakenly invest too much time and energy in their under-performers.  Smart leaders know potent rewards are fair, proportionate and consistent and that the greatest share of the rewards should be distributed to the top performers.

The Bottom Line
Some employee rewards do NOT stimulate better behavior.  Make sure that your employee engagement training and reward and recognition systems offer a reward that is aligned with your desired behaviors, valued by all your employees, and perceived as proportionate.

To learn more about avoiding employee rewards do NOT stimulate better behavior and how to create a high performance culture instead, download Do you Have a High Performance Culture to Drive Your Strategy Forward?

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I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

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Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

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LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

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Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

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We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

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Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

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LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

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