One of the hot topics when talking to our clients is the importance of reward and recognition programmes with their staff. How do you set them up in a manner that drives the right behaviours from staff in your organisation or project and at the same time recognises outstanding behaviour? This blog focuses on the key principe behind reward and recognition. That is, rewarding behaviours that drive the right culture in your staff.

Alot of the recognition we provide to our staff can be focussed on rewarding heroic efforts. ” John is being given an award today because he saved one of our biggest clients accounts at the last minute. He went above and beyond to seal the deal!”. Another example could be “Annie worked all day and night on an important proposal over the last two weeks. Fantastic work to deliver more work for our business”. Pity we were given six weeks to review the brief and we did all the work at the last minute!

This all seems fine if it is a one off. That is, the extraordinary performance that really stands out. The problem with this is that is not always the case. It means that staff can have a strong perception that they need to do something that is reactive and one off rather than the one percenters and bricklaying efforts they need to do daily that build a great organisation or project. It also rewards the last minute effort, work or urgency which perhaps could have been prevented through better systems, planning or processes.

These bricklaying efforts are what makes an organisation great. Setting up great systems, automating manual processes, collaborating with others, solving problems, removing beauracracy, delivering innovation or adding great value to your clients. All these things require planning, preparation and intent. All things that build enduring assets in your business or project rather than one off heroic efforts undertaken because we did not prepare well or communicate effectively.

I love the concept of bricklaying efforts. Every person building, adding another brick, linking up and collaborating with others, ensuring the mortar is strong and making sure we all understand the bigger picture we are trying to build. When everyone in your organisation works in this manner, it is a very powerful approach to building a high performance culture that delivers great outcomes.

If you then reward your staff through your reward and recognition programmes in line with this approach and intent, watch the focus go from reactive and urgent to intentional focussed effort. Staff will not only shift where they put their effort, you will see a mindset in your organisation of getting better every day rather than thinking what can we do as staff to shine in the eyes of the boss as a one off for recognition based on a misguided premise.