Thursday, October 31, 2013

Appreciation – A powerful tool for Employee Motivation

Appreciation is one of the most powerful tools to motivate anyone but the fact is it’s “the least used” tool in workplaces. During my interaction with the Entrepreneurs, CEO’s and top level management people I found some common fears for not appreciating their employees.

“He is paid to do this, what’s the need for appreciation”

This is not a valid argument for not appreciating someone. Everyone works for salary but they do need appreciation for their work. “Appreciation of work done” was ranked 2nd in one study after “Interesting Work” and ahead of “Good Pay” and “Job Security”. Even if someone is paid he needs to be appreciated which will keep his motivation level high and help him to maintain the same performance in future.

“It will spoil a good employee”

This is only a myth that when we appreciate someone it will spoil him. If the appreciation is balanced than it will actually help to sustain or improve the performance of an employee. Appreciation will work as a feedback and let the person know if he is in the right direction. Criticism is also required when things aren’t going well but it should be constructive. At least one should avoid inventing areas of improvement that don’t exist.

If you praise an employee, he'll expect more money.”

This is possible but the argument is easily countered if we look at it from a different view point.

When an employee asks about a possible hike in pay it’s an opportunity for you to share with him the financial drivers for your business. You can show him how the firm's operating expenses and its revenues tie together—and most important, let him know the specific results that would make bigger salaries possible. So in fact this may lead to increase in sales, a reduction in costs, or both. The more specific you can be, the more your employee will understand where his paycheck come from, and what he can do to influence his earning power.

It’s true that we should not keep on praising people all the time and you should never praise people when they don’t deserve it. But definitely your employees like to know what they’re doing right. An organisation should develop and declare their “Appreciation Policy” keeping in mind following factors:
1.      Frequency (Monthly, Quarterly, Annual)
2.      No. of employees (Strength)
3.      No. of employees to be motivated
4.      Budget for Appreciation

To get the best results effective Appreciation Policy should be based on following principles:

1.      Realistic:
Appreciation should be realistic. If over done than it loses its credibility. If you praise people for ordinary performances just for the sake of doing it, it will lose its effectiveness as a motivator.

2.      Transparent:
The performance parameters and criteria’s should be declared and there must be transparency in the selection of employee for such appreciation. Non transparency and ambiguity may lead to de-motivation in many and go against the organisation.

3.      Spontaneous:
Delayed appreciation loses its impact. It should be done regularly and as per the plan.

Appreciation at the right time will motivate the person.

By Kamal Dabawala
Founder – Continuous Learning Pvt. Ltd.
International Training Fellow, JCI Training, USA.

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