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Staff Recognition 101: 6 Mistakes to Avoid Making When Rewarding Employees

By: SmallBizClub


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Employee recognition is a strategy of businesses to reward the positive efforts of their staff. It improves the wellbeing of team members and their performance in the workplace. Aside from that, it motivates them to do better since good work will always be tied to compensation.

There’s nothing wrong with rewarding people who’ve done an exceptional job. But, sometimes, there are negative consequences to doing that, too. Some employers have tendencies for favoritism despite having good intentions. And, other times, they have no clue if their reward system is working well.

For many new, small business owners, employee recognition is exciting and tricky to climb. Before you reward your team for their best work, read on to learn what not to do to avoid premature celebrations in the workplace.

  1. Leaving Some People Out

When great things happen, everyone wants to get a slice of the pie. One mistake most business owners make is focusing on one or two of their best employees at a time. While you’re showering your favorites with praises, the rest are watching on the sidelines and thinking they haven’t done enough.

Constantly singling out one person and rewarding them can lower your other team members’ morale. At the same time, by recognizing the efforts of a whole group instead of individual people, you can have others lay low and not contribute as much for future endeavors.

To solve this, give out employee rewards more frequently than once a year. Try to do it every two weeks or every month while personal achievements are still fresh in everyone’s heads. It’ll also pump up your team members’ energy to keep work tremendous and consistent.

Also, gifts and rewards shouldn’t only be offered for every outstanding performance. Take time to get to know your team members on a more personal level without encroaching on boundaries. Learn what motivates your staff to do better, what they’re good at, and what they expect in return. There’ll be higher chances of everyone in your team getting noticed no matter how small their tasks are.

  1. Giving The Wrong Rewards

Nothing’s more saddening than doing the best work you’re capable of only to receive something that’s not of equal value. As a business owner, you’ll know how that feels best.

You may think a pat at the back is more than enough, but any self-respecting person will appreciate tangible rewards more. But what do you give your team for going above and beyond their tasks?  This moment is where a good old, handy-dandy survey comes into play.

Yes, you’ll need to know what your staff wants. A survey can help your shyest staff members voice their suggestions on paper. And, when you get the results, you’ll have to deliver. If you don’t, you’ll lose their trust, which will decrease productivity in the workplace.

  1. Setting No Goals

Every step ultimately leads to one goal, and employee rewards are no different. No matter how much you appreciate your team, it’d help if you recognize them for specific reasons.

Set aside some time to review all your small business’s issues. Are production rates low?  Is most of your staff coming to work late?  From there, begin creating a reward system to solve these shortcomings.

When you do this, you shouldn’t just be doing this not only for yourself, but your entire team, too. Set employee goals together so it won’t become a one-way street, and everyone, including the business, stands firm and stays thriving.

  1. Keeping Things Private

Often, most people enjoy getting recognition in public. While there’s nothing truly wrong with keeping it all hush-hush, it’ll subtly show a sort of favoritism toward one or two individuals, especially if you reward the same people consistently.

If you make employee recognition a public affair, you may end up encouraging everyone else in your team to work smarter and harder to receive the same benefits. Take note to always mention what your staff is being rewarded for. This way, other team members can reflect on what they’re lacking. At the same time, you can assist them in improving their performances.

  1. Forgetting About the Program

Once you’ve settled on a transparent rewards system, stick with it. Ensure everyone from the lowest rung to the managers understand how it works and is being maintained so it won’t suddenly fizzle out. Allowing it to be forgotten will not only irk your older employees who’ve experienced it, but also demotivate your newer team members who aren’t praised for their efforts.

Even if your business proliferates overnight, you mustn’t forget your recognition program. If it works, things should flow smoothly. You could always tweak and update it now and then to benefit you and your team.

Promote the program as much as possible, whether in a company-wide meeting or through newsletters. Keeping everyone on their toes saves a business from crashing down and helps team members focus every time they’re at work.

  1. Limiting Rewards to A Specific Staff Hierarchy

Another mistake many employers commit is putting all their attention on team members within a particular rung. Make it a point to include every single team member in your rewards program so that they all have a fighting chance to be awarded for their excellent work.

Like in point one, say, the junior staff may feel like they’re shoved aside if you focus on one senior group or person. In the same vein, you may be ignoring your senior team to reward only the newbies. Include in your program rewards specific for people or individuals within all the levels in the workplace. That way, older members will feel appreciated for their work ethic loyalty, and new ones will find the motivation to work better.

Everyone can become a great team member, after all. By rewarding all those who deserve it, you’ll be retaining employees for a more extended period to keep your business up and running. And, the best part, everyone is happy, including you.

Give And You Shall Receive

Offering decent rewards to your team encourages them to maintain that consistent level of excellence. If you continually put your staff’s wellbeing and happiness above all, you’ll notice a positive and significant change in your business. Employee recognition improves morale among team members, which eventually leads to a safer, happier working environment and better outputs.

Author: Teresa Anderson runs a catering business from Houston and is a single mother of two. She writes about startup food businesses and shares recipes in her blog. Aside from raising kids and preparing quality meals, she also enjoys biking and DIY crafts.

Published: January 20, 2022

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SmallBizClub.com is dedicated to providing small businesses and entrepreneurs the information and resources they need to start, run, and grow their businesses. The publication was founded by successful entrepreneur and NFL Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton. We bring you the most insightful thinking from industry leaders, veteran business owners, and fellow entrepreneurs. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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