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Rewarding employees for their achievements

Carline WiumThe year is almost out and many employers contemplate rewarding their employees for their hard work while, at the same time, motivating them for 2012. Janine Nieuwoudt (BMT Dimensions) gives the following basic rules regarding rewards in Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

  1. Match the reward to the person. Reward the superior performer in ways that they find truly rewarding. Of course, you’re going to have to make an effort to find out which kinds of rewards motivate each of your recipients. The best way to do that is to give them a few options and let them choose which reward they would prefer.
  2. Match the reward to the achievement. Make sure that bigger achievements get bigger rewards. Remember to take into account the employee’s behaviour as well as the business result. Rewarding maverick behaviour (even if the desired results are achieved) will get more people behaving beyond your established boundaries, which may have negative repercussions.
  3. Be timely and specific. Give rewards as soon as possible after the desired behaviour or achievement has been accomplished. This will maximise motivation and drive performance. Provide context for the reward by giving specific and detailed information as to why the employee has earned the reward in light of your company’s desired behaviour and business goals.
  4. Be consistent. Select your criteria for recognition and reward; then stick to them! Use categories of reward to help streamline criteria:
  • no cost rewards: wide application and high frequency (managerial authority),
  • low cost, informal rewards: wide application and high frequency (departmental authority),
  • awards for specific achievements and activities: carefully selected recipients, and lower frequency (executive level authority),
  • formal rewards: few employees who have created bigger business impact, and low frequency (executive level authority).

For more information, contact Carline Wium of Exceed Human Resource Consultants on tel. 021 882 8140 or e-mail or visit our website at