How often do you hear managers or leaders say: “We need a new system to manage recognition of employees” or “We need to be rewarding people for their work.”
In many organizations, reward and recognition programs are still in their infancy; managers and leaders realize their importance, but often they are brought in merely as add-ons to current operations. When rewards and recognition are fundamentally detached from the organizational culture, even if they are appropriate to the audience, they can fail to motivate and engage employees.
What is organizational culture?
Organizational culture is not an easy concept to define. It is abstract in nature because it describes what it ‘feels like’ to be a member of an organization. It includes factors like, ‘how things are done around here’, what is valued by the organization, and how it manages the performance and development of its people. It’s also important to note that an organization may have many sub-cultures in the form of teams, departments and geographical locations.
Despite difficulties in honing its definition, the working world is in agreement that cultures exist and that they impact how employees operate in the workplace.
“…The overall fabric of the environment one spends large amounts of time in naturally influences one’s perception of the work experience." According to the study, “employees who give their work culture low marks are nearly 15% more likely to think about a new job than their counterparts.” Psychology Today.
Culture influences recognition
The success of a rewards and recognition program is dependent upon many cultural factors. These include: the goals set for employees, the ease of their ability to achieve those goals in line with the organization’s vision, the resources and support they have in place to do so, and their self-belief that they can hit set targets.
Goals need to be clear
Setting appropriate and achievable goals is important if people are to remain motivated. When unachievable, ill-defined or immeasurable goals are set, people continually miss targets and become demotivated by their results. Goals should be specific, relevant, measurable, timely and give employees the confidence to be the best they can be.
The importance of self-efficacy
Albert Bandura’s concept of self-efficacy is an individual’s belief about whether they are capable of performing a task. Without the right resources, management support and leadership direction in place to achieve set goals, employees will not perform at their best. The result may mean they miss out on rewards and recognition for their work, and their self-efficacy could decrease.
When employees are not rewarded for their work, especially when they fail to achieve due to factors beyond their control, they soon lose motivation to continue trying. Only when cultural factors exist that support recognition will people get the full benefit of their power to motivate and engage.