Thursday, April 21, 2011
1. If praising employees for doing a good job seems to be fairly easy and obvious motivational tool, why do you think companies and managers don't often do it?There is nothing like a good recognition for a job well done. When you are acknowledged for something that you worked hard for and given praise, you can't help but feel motivated to do better and improve your current output. These praises may come from different people that observe directly and who may be benefited from the hard work you put in. It may be from your colleagues that may give you a good remark or two. It can be from clients or customers who may have a good experience from the product that you offer. However, one of the most significant praise that you can garner and can uplift your morale is one that comes from your manager as well as recognition from the company.
As the saying goes, “Different strokes for different folks”, but isn't it a widely accepted fact that verbal praise can be one of the the most powerful incentive that can be awarded to a good performing employee? As one research conducted goes to show, verbal praise in forms of recognition during events or a formal praise in front of others is a big factor that affects the turnover rate of the company, that is their ability to retain their employees. Verbal praise affects the willingness of the employee to stay with the company for a longer period of time. Percentages show that verbal praising is among one of the recognition techniques that is effective alongside cash bonuses and other non-cash incentives (Maritz 2006). However, easy as it is to dole out praise words, not a lot of managers are into the practice. There are different factors that may affect the manager's disposition about doling out verbal praises and are enumerated as follows:
a) The manager may be uncomfortable with verbally praising employees. This may root from previous experiences that make him/her distrust this kind employee recognition strategy.
b) Ego. This is a common problem for everyone. Some managers, due to having reached their status with the company, has developed a a sense of pride that may be unhealthy. He/ she may adapt an attitude that makes them think highly of themselves. Rank and power sometimes does a lot of things to people.
c) Other employees sometimes think that those that are praised are becoming favorites or “pets” by the manager. This sometimes prohibits the manager to give verbal praises to employees in front of others in fear of being labled unjust. They would rather not give praises than cause an uncomfortable atmosphere.
d) Words are very powerful tools in affecting the human emotion and depending on the kind of words that one may hear, it may have negative of positive effects. In praises for example, it can negatively effect employees who are uncomfortable with it. It may make them decrease their productivity in order to shy away from being acknowledged publicly. Therefore, not knowing the proper incentive needs that are effective with your employees may be a hindrance to managers and companies to praise their employees.
2. As a manager, what steps would you take to motivate your employees after observing them perform well?
Working hard is a virtue that all employees must employ in order to get recognized and be acknowledged. It is their part of the bargain when they get accepted in the company. You don't just receive praises and rewards without expending effort on it. Most employees who are career-oriented and are focused in their productivity put their best foot forward in order to achieve their goals of a higher position ang compensation in the future. It is employees like these that are key factors for a company to achieve their goals of productivity. Driven as they are, they are humans as well and may experience burn-out or may become unsatisfied when their hard work are not being acknowledged and they would feel like they are taken for granted.
No one likes a boss who takes his/ her employees for granted. Sometimes, monetary incentives are not enough to make employees feel appreciated. A direct recognition of a job well done may just be the thing to keep their fire burning. An honest appreciation of a positive outcome of a project done by employees is an effective way to make them feel pride on what they have done. It will give them a sense of importance and fulfillment which will fuel their drive to perform better in the next undertaking. Others who may see this in a positive light will be encouraged to do the same thus creating a constructively competitive environment for all. A win-win situation for the employees and the company as well. As from the Supervisor's Newsletter of Mines and Associates, “Effective praise tells employees what they're doing right and encourages them to keep doing it. That's why some consider praise superior to punishment as a teaching tool. Praise is loaded with information: It tells you exactly what to do next time (Epotech 2001).”
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Another motivation tool for me is to provide compensation based rewards as well as spontaneous rewards that may be out of the blue or may serve as a surprise. This will provide an atmosphere of excitement that is contagious to all and will make the employees put in a conscious effort to make their work exceedingly noticeable. They will all be eager to put in extra effort since they know that they will be reaping rewards. Ed Frigsbee gives examples of spontaneous gift like maybe a day at the spa or gift certificates to a good restaurant (Rigsbee 2010). This may be good idea for treats since the employee who works so hard may welcome a relaxing day to have them recharged and be more motivated as ever to perform well. All properly motivated employees will highly contribute to the productivity of the company as a whole. It all starts with a few or a handful but if the right motivation is employed, it will spread to a company full of eager employees. The company must employ the right strategy to keep the fire burning.
3. Are there any downsides to giving employees too much verbal praise? What might these downsides be and how could you alleviate them as a manager?
Again, verbal praises can highly affect an employees work as whole. It can affect their productivity, image in the workplace, self esteem as well as relationships with other employees and managers as well. Much as it is positive, it has it's downsides as well. The key to somehow avoid these downsides would be to plan on a way of lessening it and it's effects to the employees. Here are the possible downsides of too much verbal praises as well as ways to somehow alleviate them:
a. One downside would be making the employee feel complacent and may cause him/ her to feel that mediocre work would be enough. It may give them a feeling that there is no room for improvement. If verbal praising is over done, it may not develop a sense of improvement in the work attitude of the employee. To alleviate this, the manager should not overdo verbal praising. Choose only the achievements that are noteworthy of praise. When verbal praising is overdone, the next praise would seem meaningless for employees. Point out the positive effects of the wonderful job done to the company as a whole to give the employee a sense of responsibility in furthermore improving their work.
b. Another downside of too much verbal praise is the perception it may give to employees. Some employees may perceive it insulting when things that are too basic are given praises. Do not sweat the small stuff.
c. It may be a prelude to insults. Some managers when given the assignment from higher management to give too much verbal praise can think of this as a opportunity to insult the employees through phony praises. Employees may also think of it a as sugar coating and may think that there are insincere undertones to it. The best way for a manager to avoid this is to make eye contact when giving out the praise to communicate the honesty to it. It should be more meaningful when it is timely and delivered in a precise way to make it more credible and believable.
d. It may not be applicable to all but too much verbal praising can cause unnecessary stress to the employee. There are employees who do not take well to being praised especially when in public. There are cases when it is the cause of the deterioration in the employees' productivity and attitude in the work place. One way to address this is for the manager to study the personalities of the employees. Be keen on matching the effective incentive or praise strategy for employees so that it is both effective and well appreciated.
e. It may cause chaos in the workplace since some employees may be envious with other employees who receive excessive praising and may think them favorites. Again, to be precise in pointing out the noteworthy act comes into place. The manager should point out the exact reason why the praise was given so that it could be set an example for others to follow and resolve their issue, and make it clear to them that the praise was given for a reason.
4. As a manager, how would you ensure that recognition given to employees is distributed fairly and justly?
Managers should think it important that incentives and praises should be justly and fairly given to employees. It is indeed hard to face complaining employees who are comparing themselves with others. To address this, first and foremost, the manager should design a non-biased incentive program or a gauge level that should be uniform to all. This should be made clear to everyone and must have a basis so that there can be a benchmark or a standard that all the employees can reach to gain rewards.
Managers should also conduct in-house surveys that dwell on employee relationships and work attitude so that others that may not be recognized may have the opportunity. Some employees who have meaningful contribution may not be very visible and surveys can help in recognizing them since other employees who see the value of their colleague's work can bring this to the attention of management. Good peer-to-peer relationship is inportant in fostering a more productive atmosphere. Suggestion boxes can also be used and will be helpful in addressing other employee issues and will also aid in assessing incentive and praise programs.
Furthermore, management should make sure that everyone gets a chance in getting a well deserved recognition. The rewards program should also be consistent and clearly communicated. Well satisfied employees translates to good productivity and wellness for the company.
List of References
Epotech. (2001). Praising Employees. Retrieved April 19, 2005, from the Epotech database.
Maritz (2006). The Power of Meaningful Employee Recognition: Why One Size Does not Fit All.
Maritz Inc. MRC-124 April 2006
Rigsbee, E (2010). Praise for a Job Well Done. (Online) available from <http://www.rigsbee.com/ma9.htm >