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Jun 23, 2015

Inauthentic Rewards. Are they damaging relationships?

​Have you ever worked extremely hard on a project, or closed a difficult account and felt like an indestructible work machine with the soundtrack from Chariots of Fire rolling around your head as you stand a few inches taller around the water cooler?  If so have you felt the reciprocal range of emotion as you are indirectly put back in your place by a lack lustre, inauthentic acknowledgement by your superior?  You leave not only discouraged, but in many cases wanting to take your awesomeness to an employer that values you and your contributions…because damnit, YOU deserve it!

​You are not alone as this is the case daily around the globe, and it is a very easy scenario to turn around.  I see and hear this in my travels and interactions with many people as I discuss Employee Recognition and business processes to improve overall culture in the workplace.

In essence what is happening, is management and executives within an organization become out of touch with the day-to-day reality of their workforce.  I believe this is due to the following key factors:


  1. Become too busy to notice individual achievements due to their own workloads
  2. Are not well informed of ongoing achievements and effort put forward by employees
  3. Have a poor understanding of what actually motivates their employees

Appreciation can backfire if the reward given to the employee does not follow simple math:

Reward = Effort + Achievement 

The negative unintended effect is that the emotional attachment to the company is diminished, resulting in less discretionary effort and individual commitment to the organization as valued employees disengage from their company.  Not a great way to build a positive culture. In fact only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition”. Knowing this stat it is easy to see that there is likely a high volume of disengaged employees out there.

The solutions are many.  However trends and studies are showing us that classic rewards are being replaced by recognition within successful work environments.  Creating a culture of recognition and appreciation is paramount to a bloated rewards budget that in many cases has the opposite effect of what employers want.  Praise and commendation from managers was rated the top motivator for performance, beating out other non-cash and financial incentives, by a majority of workers (67%).

Bottom line is it’s time for employers to look beyond what has been the norm for decades and pay closer attention to the evolution of employee recognition.  Companies like Kudos offer a Social Recognition system which promotes peer-to-peer and manager to employee recognition in an easy to manage environment.  This will enable ongoing recognition to be experienced by employees and most importantly authentic rewards to be utilized that drive and reinforce positive recognition.  Further to this, managers and supervisors gain insight into the engagement levels of their employees through detailed analytics and reporting, such an insight has been sadly overlooked for many companies.

Next time you get an uninspired reward for your hard earned work, think about introducing your managers to Social recognition and the concept of authentic rewards and recognition.  Start the processes of shifting your corporate culture to one inclusive of appreciation and increase the emotional connection of employees to the company.  Because YOU deserve it!

Tom Short

Tom Short is the President and Co-Founder of Kudos Inc, where he is pioneering his vision for an industry leading recognition and engagement SaaS solution. Tom’s expertise in branding, marketing strategy and cloud-based SaaS development allows him to chase his passion of changing the world one thank you at a time. When he’s not showing the world that recognition matters, Tom enjoys coaching football, the Black Keys and a steaming vanilla latte to start his day.

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Tom Short

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