An important expectation in leadership is having the ability to motivate employees. The focus of motivation is to move employees to not only meet business demands, but also create a work environment that is satisfying and encourages creativity and innovation.
According to Entrepreneur.com, reward systems should be strategic and target the four primary areas of compensation, benefits, recognition and appreciation. In most cases, the initial rewards of compensation and benefit strategies are areas which leaders can depend on human resources staff to developed and partner with to implement.
More targeted at the unique characteristics of the employee are the areas of recognition and appreciation. To develop rewards that matter, leaders should have an understanding of the goals and interests of the employee. Gaining an understanding of team members is accomplished by one-on-one interaction and relationship building. Without an understanding of the key motivators of your employees, you risk implementing reward systems that fail.
The strategy, or plan, should be aligned with the goals and desired behaviors sought by the organization. In addition, key factors that are unique to the employees should be incorporated into the reward.
Another consideration, warned by Forbes.com, is the idea that individuals become dependent on motivation. While the goal of praise and reward systems is to motivate employees, a healthy balance must be maintained. In the article, Why Motivation is Hurting your Productivity (And How to Fix It), the term “motivation addiction” is introduced as a danger to business productivity.
Leaders can approach this potential barrier by implementing different types of rewards and recognition methods. Also, setting goals for which the employee can be challenged (setting a vision) will also reframe what motivation looks like for the employee.
Eisenhower once said, “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it”. In this act, leaders must find an effective balance of persuasion, by use of reward systems that align the interests of the employee with those of the organization.