The 21st century requires an overall approach to recognizing and rewarding employees. It's possible to place too much emphasis on pay and other extrinsic rewards. The changing nature of the relationship between employees requires a new kind of currency. Managing people is increasingly complex. Markets expands globally. Labor forces grow invisible and offices are virtual. People are less committed to organizations emotionally. And running a successful enterprise has become more difficult and competitive. What are the latest best ways to engage, activate, and motivate employees?
From hourly wages to piece rates, and profit-sharing to gain sharing, the number of incentive programs and pay packages is legion. But why do some employees check out- operationally, emotionally, even physically, while others tune in? Why are some organizations confounded by poor returns while others rocket ahead? The answer is a whole-person approach. Effective systems of recognition and rewards engage an individual's entire being. They encourage employees to unleash stores of productive energy while exhibiting regenerative qualities that foster creativity, and emotional reserves that translate into passion, and even spiritual attributes that result into inspired performance needed to achieve a larger vision.
Successful managers respect both people and processes. Abandoning control-and-command management, they emphasize relationships. These managers regard employees as part of their customer base, continuously looking for ways to satisfy and retain employee commitment while ultimately inspiring them to peak performance. Today's labor force is diverse. Multicultural and multiracial labor pools and the management becomes enormous. Compensation experts and professional managers have realized that one-size approach to human resources won't fit all. Different people have different values, needs, wants, and expectations, and unless these conditions can be addressed satisfactorily the outcomes can prove disastrous.
Employees are increasingly knowledge workers. No longer can the workplace house all employees under the watchful eye of a supervisor; workers often telecommute. Furthermore, individual contributors are joining teams, with members scattered around the globe prompting the need for yet more varied performance management systems and reward programs. given this diversity, an appropriate blend of recognition and rewards must be available.
Some experts have shown that incentives and alternative pay packages can have a positive influence on employee performance- short-term. Others claim that such packages actually have a negative influence, especially long-term. All most all agree it's essential to pay people fairly and competitively. Some experts are wrong, however, in arguing that pay is the chief motivator. For the welfare-to-work employees and minimum-wage earners, money is the basic need, not a motivator. In reality, motivation is an insider job; may influence behavior, but it's no substitute for motivation. People require a sense of achievement and fulfillment.
Enlightened managers use total reward systems that link direct and indirect payments to performance requirements tied to the organization's success. Such an approach is far more effective than simpler, more restrictive linear systems that function on a quid pro quo: produce this and get that. But even total reward packages won't achieve everything possible if they fail to engage the whole-person.