Employee reward recognition systems are positive reinforcement programs. In a positive reinforcement framework, employers encourage optimal performance by emphasizing rewards over punishments. Reward recognition is the equivalent of giving a dog a bone for sitting rather than yelling at the dog for not sitting. These programs hold several advantages, though programs improperly administered may lead to employee dissent.
In “365 Answers About Human Resources for the Small Business Owner,” Mary B. Holihan writes that reward recognition programs encourage employees to stay with a company and commit optimal performance over an extended period. Holihan cites increased vacation time as an example. For instance, Employee X works for Company Y. Employee X performs well and receives increases in annual vacation allowance as a result. After 10 years of employment, X gets five weeks of vacation time per year. Were X to leave Company Y for a comparable position at Company Z, X would receive far less vacation compensation. Thus, less incentive to leave exists. Similar incentives include increased pay and bonuses, improved benefits and internal promotion.
Rewarding employee performance means looking at employee performance. Thus, a business needs to perform near-constant reviews. Performance assessments entail communication among human resources, employees and management to ensure that all employees and branches of a company operate on the same proverbial wavelength. Regular assessments also allow HR departments and management to implement necessary training programs or change employee behavior before negative patterns take root.
Increased productivity is an advantage of positive reinforcement. Such systems encourage desire, and people with desire to work are capable of greater levels or productivity than those who possess little or no desire to work. Positive reinforcement also leads to increased productivity over long periods of time, rather than in short bursts, as does negative reinforcement. In positive reinforcement models, increased performance persists as long as a system of reward recognition persists.
Rewards comprise a physical manifestation of the bond between employer and employee; the greater a reward is, the stronger the bond. Rewards such as customizable benefits packages increase bonding by allowing employees to feel like important individuals with personal choice rather than replaceable cogs of the corporate machine. Employees with a strong psychological bond with an employer are more likely to feel as though they have a personal stake in a business than those without such a bond.