Martin Awards

The Benefits of Performance Awards for Improving Employee Morale and Retention, Explained

Post Date: March 02, 2023

Getting out of bed every day to perform a thankless task wears on people quickly. If you’re reading this, the chances are you might know this already. A little appreciation goes a long way, especially when it comes in the form of an award.

Knowing your efforts aren’t going ignored can be the difference between an enjoyable work life and running for the door. Did you know that over 50 million people quit their jobs in 2022? If that doesn’t surprise you, it might be time to show your employees a little love.

It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, either. Surprising your team with performance awards is a great way to show them some much-needed appreciation. If you like the idea but aren’t convinced, read on to find out more!

What Are Performance Awards?

Strictly speaking, an award can be whatever you want it to be. If you want someone on your team to know for sure you recognize their efforts, giving them an award is a surefire solution. While a surprise peanut butter cup would probably go down well, it lacks a certain something.

Typically people appreciate a gift or award more when some thought has gone into it. To show how much you appreciate someone, a little personalization is key. It’s also quite hard to engrave someone’s name into chocolate, and will only last until they get peckish.

Choosing an award that someone can associate their hard work with will reassure them they’re a valued member of the team. Nothing is quite as erosive to work ethic as the belief your work is going ignored. An award neatly erases any doubt.

Employee Recognization

When someone feels enthusiasm for a task, it shows in the quality of their work. Nobody does a job better than a person who has the energy and optimism to fully apply themselves. The opposite of this universal fact is also true.

An employee who has become disillusioned not only won’t do their job efficiently, they can become an active detriment. Instead of putting their head down and working towards a goal, they might begin to distract others and disrupt productivity. A lack of morale can be thought of as a disease with the capability to spread.

As soon as someone begins to feel unappreciated or slighted in their work in any way, the process has begun. We’re sensitive souls as human beings, and it doesn’t take much to tip the scales in one direction or another. Thankfully, it’s just as easy to tip things in a more productive direction.

Far-Reaching Positivity

A happy workforce is a productive workforce. People who generally feel content in their position continuously get more work done than people feeling unhappy. The amount of real work someone can do while applying themselves increases substantially when they bring positivity to the task.

Imagine someone with the weight of the world on their shoulders sitting down to begin work. The people they talk to will sense their heavy hearts and associate this poorly with the company. Their speech will be slow and bereft of joy, causing the customer to think twice about working with such a depressing group.

Now imagine someone who has a sunny disposition and knows they’re making a difference. They sound positive and engaging, which rubs off on the company as a whole. Suddenly a little positivity and constructive energy from one person has transformed the company as a whole in the eyes of the client.

Stoking Enthusiasm

Your job as a leader is to strategically increase your employee’s output while seeing to their needs as individual people. This is no mean feat, as people are complicated and often extremely different from one another. You have to remember who each person is and identify them accurately to best nudge them in the right direction.

Take note of who responds well to praise. These are exactly the sort of people who will benefit the most from a tactical performance award. If you thought they were productive employees, wait until you see them once they feel fully appreciated!

Others around them will also see that good work doesn’t go ignored. This will spur them into doing better themselves in the hopes of getting their award. As time goes on, an atmosphere of undeniable appreciation for work will become a firm foundation for your employees.

Methods of Delivery

A surprise award now and then is a good idea; this keeps people on their toes. Everyone loves unexpected good news! The downside of this is that there’s no target for people to aim for when they don’t know an award is a possibility.

Let your team know that there’s an award to be claimed by whoever does the most work or meets a specific target first. This lets everyone know that their efforts aren’t going to go unappreciated, whatever happens, which is a help in and of itself. The knowledge of a reward will also spur certain types of people who feel competitive or desirous of recognition.

The different types of people in your team will become clear quickly. You’ll easily be able to see who responds well to a little incentive and who doesn’t. Use this crucial information to further your understanding of your team and interact with them accordingly.

Appreciating Individuals

Not everyone will respond well to the prospect of working in an incentivized work environment. If you have a large team, there’s a fair chance that one or two of your employees will react negatively. This might come as a surprise; after all, who doesn’t love being rewarded?

Some people might see a performance reward as a thinly veiled attempt to increase productivity. This all depends on what the reward is and how it’s delivered, but there’s no pleasing everyone. If you suspect you know someone in your team well enough to predict an unfavorable reaction, don’t fret.

Everyone is different, and some people don’t respond well to carrot dangling. In this case, take them aside and explain to them you understand where they’re coming from and how you’re trying to raise team morale. Explain to them your thought process and why you think performance awards will be beneficial for the team.

Let them know you understand that the awards don’t interest them, but they’re seen and appreciated nonetheless. In their case, this will bolster them far more than an award ever would, and in the end, introducing performance awards will have a positive effect on them, too.

How to Give Employee Awards

Typically setting a common and achievable goal is a great way to incentivize your team. At the beginning of a month or year, let everyone know about a series of incentives and how they might reach them. Set incremental goals and keep track of them somewhere everyone can see.

Recording progress and proximity to goals allows for a constant feeling of progress to be achieved. When a team feels productive, they feel good about themselves. This feeling should be upheld and protected as much as possible, as it’s key to a healthy work ethic.

When the time rolls around, show statistics to your employees relevant to their job. Praise everyone who is doing well as a team, but show specific appreciation to those who are doing particularly well. Go into detail to assure them you know exactly what they’re doing and how hard it was to do.

What to Award Employees With

Be careful while selecting an award. Anything cheaply made or of obviously poor quality will have the opposite of the desired effect. It’s not enough to publicly recognize someone’s efforts; they have to be given a symbol of your appreciation.

This means that the performance reward itself is the physical manifestation of how much you care. Rewarding someone with a plastic cup made in China with some cheap candy inside it isn’t going to go down well. Your attempt to reward will be seen as a slight and do more harm than good.

Presenting someone who has gone above and beyond with something substantial will have a marked effect on everyone involved. Handing them a real token of appreciation, like a personalized plaque or trophy can solidify their loyalty for years to come. Employees who witness the exchange will find themselves appreciating the care management took to select a real award.

Employee Retention

The cost of an award is far less than the cost of hiring someone new. Bending over backward to ensure your employees are happy is the job of a successful manager. It’s up to you to ensure employees feel energized, enthusiastic, and ready to work.

Improving employee retention is a cinch if you’re able to leverage a positive atmosphere. Nobody wants to work somewhere where they feel unappreciated. Feeling unappreciated for too long leads to people quitting; it’s that simple.

Employees will wake up one day and snap in the face at the prospect of their work going unnoticed. This leaves you to pick up the pieces and spend hours of your time in search of an appropriate replacement. Sometimes all it takes to keep people engaged at work is a small token of your appreciation that lets them know they’re seen.

Employee Recognition Ideas

Leaning into the idea of recognition is just as important as presenting someone with a reward. The idea is to combine the two seamlessly into something which can be appreciated by everyone. If possible, you want your employees to feel a personal link to something which others feel similarly about.

A great option for this is to have a large award that is continuously updated with the names of everyone who has been recognized in the past. This neatly includes recognition while building links between employees under your management. Instead of one reward for each success, tying them together builds a feeling of connection and prestige.

The thought of doing well enough at your job to have your name engraved on the team trophy can be quite attractive. Keeping the trophy or plaque somewhere everyone can see it is also a good idea. Purchasing a large glass or crystal trophy and having it engraved with each new name is a fantastic idea to this end.

An Attractive Work Environment

People talk a lot about their job and how they feel about it. Opinions are more far-reaching than ever in the current information age. If you succeed in creating a positive, engaging atmosphere for your employees, their high opinion will quickly propagate further.

Before you know it, people will begin to enquire about potential positions within your business and improve employee retention. The degree to which people appreciate a positive work environment cannot be overstated. When you spend half your life at the office, the experience while you’re there counts for an awful lot.

High opinions held by employees will also affect customers positively. Nobody wants repeat business with a company where everyone they spoke to sounds unfulfilled and depressed, for example. After having a pleasant interaction, customers take a mental note and will remember where to go next time, ensuring their repeat business.

Morale and Retention Made Easy

The sticking point for some managers is they’re unable to fully understand how important it is to keep their employees happy. Positive emotion is hard to nurture without intent. The impact a thoughtful reward has on a good team pays for itself a hundred times over.

If this article has helped to explain the importance of performance awards, why not contact us? If you have any questions regarding award styles or anything else, we’d love to hear from you!

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