How to Use Rewards to Improve Workplace Morale and Productivity

Using a reward system to encourage good behavior is not an uncommon practice; it’s used in animal training, to improve student participation in schools, and to encourage productivity in a business setting. Using it in your office is a great way to improve morale, increase positivity, and have fun.

Providing a productive environment for employees is necessary to keep employees motivated and happy. There are many ways to utilize a reward system in your company to fit your business model, and the rewards don’t have to be strictly about productivity. Encouraging friendly competition among coworkers by finding a reward that works for each business, and rewards great work, effort, and teamwork are all ways to utilize a reward system to boost productivity and morale at the same time.

1. Friendly Competition


To offer a reward, decide to create a friendly competition among your employees. This can be done in any number of ways from a sales competition among individuals or a team, a contest based on productivity metrics, or even just a food drive competition.

The competition you choose does not have to be completely work related. Implementing a contest among employees that is ongoing is a way to keep competition in everyone’s minds throughout the year with competitions like employee of the month, sales goals, and management goals. Rewarding productivity will encourage better work while creating camaraderie among employees.

The key here it to ensure that the competition remains friendly and in good spirits. Teamwork, competition, communication, and hard work are positive outcomes of competition among employees. But, it’s important to ensure your employees understand the metrics, participate willingly, and go in as good sports to avoid any animosity or unsportsmanlike conduct.

2. Superior Productivity

If an employee can show superior productivity, they should be rewarded for that behaviour. The top performers in any company are valuable assets and should be shown that their hard work is appreciated. Rewarding teamwork, positivity, and outside competitions are all great options for friendly competition and rewards, but rewarding superior productivity is the option that will help the company and employee morale the most. Acknowledging superior productivity will encourage your top performers even further and, therefore, cause an upward slope in productivity, boost morale for top performers, and encourage other employees to obtain the same productivity to get the same acknowledgment.

The reward you put in place for high productivity can be any number of things and will most likely vary by company. Perhaps it’s a lunch on the company, higher pay, employee of the month, a gift, working from home options, or a promotion. Start a promotion path for your top performers to train other employees to reach their level of productivity by rewarding their training path as well. The more top performers you have, the more rewards you’ll provide, and the more efficient your company will be.

3. Work from Home

happy student consulting agenda

If your business model is one that would easily allow the option to work from home, this might be an option to utilise as a reward. There are a ton of perks to employees working from home including a productivity boost, happier employees, and lowering the costs of having employees working from the office. One suggestion: don’t leave employees to go it alone. Provide them tips on how to create a productive and efficient home office, so that they remain productive and continue to provide a superior product to your customers.

The negatives associated with working from home include a decrease in productivity, a lack of availability to collaborate, and a lack of supervisor oversight to ensure work is completed. These concerns with working from home are why it should be considered a reward for productivity as opposed to a perk given to all employees. Employees should be given rewards like this if they can prove work ethic, high productivity, and an ability to manage themselves off-site.

As an employee given this reward for meeting a productivity standard set by my company, I have found that I am more productive as an employee both at home and in the office. I’ve been acknowledged for my hard work and am always conscious of what I need to do to keep the perk of working remotely. My direct supervisor still requires that I report on tasks completed to keep me accountable, and I get to work in my recliner while watching Netflix with my dog; so balance can be obtained by rewarding employees with a work from home reward.

4. Reward Effort

To encourage employees to get to the level of those receiving rewards, you’ll need to push average employees to the superior level and subpar employees to the average level. This is not a process achieved overnight, so you’ll need to encourage improvement and effort by rewarding both. This does not have to be a reward system that is on the same level of achievement as the rewards for superior productivity, but a reward on par with the performance. Consider a “most improved” award along with employee of the month, or an honorable mention among the rewards for top performers.

Have a clearly outlined improvement track to easily gauge how much an employee is improving and where they should aim. New employees, employees learning a new system, and promoted employees especially need to be rewarded for their effort before they can be rewarded for superior performance.

Rewarding effort is a positive move for promoting hard work and not just excellent outcomes. This is because the result of trying your hardest is different for everyone, but trying your hardest is what is important. It’s a common practice in schools to encourage children to do their best as well. A formal reward system is an important aspect in certain areas of competition or achievement, but others can be a little more informal and can be a task completed by each person’s direct supervisor.

5. Encourage Teamwork

team work

When you promote a reward system for personal achievement, you run the risk of losing out on employee collaboration. To combat this side effect of pushing each individual to do their best, you must reward teamwork as well as personal productivity. Rewarding team effort is an excellent way to encourage communication, employee bonding, and friendly competition. Each company will most likely have a different business model that will or will not reward individuals, teams, superior work, and effort, but the key is to find a reward system that works best for your business and your employees.

Camaraderie among employees is vital to the morale of many employees who thrive in an environment that promotes friendship and teamwork. Employees must trust their superiors as well as their coworkers and working together to achieve a goal is a great way to bring your employees together towards a common goal.

See Also: 10 Struggles at Work Only Very Competitive People Will Understand

Providing an environment that focuses on rewarding superior productivity, hard work, and teamwork will encourage employees to be their best and work their hardest. The reward system you chose is your own and should be fitted to each business model and employee productivity metric, but the important aspect to improve morale and productivity is to focus on positive changes and not so much punishing negative changes. Successful businesses have successful employees, and it’s your job to encourage your employees to be their best.

Do you use an employee rewards system in your office? Do you think it is effective? Your thoughts and comments below please...




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