Being a leader and an administrator is not an easy thing and it is not the most fun place to be. Subordinates look at you as if you are the monster always peeking over their shoulders, or that you are insensitive, workaholic and unappreciative of their efforts. Performance evaluations had always been a sensitive issue for my people and I have tried different approaches to make them see that performance evaluations are necessary and that it is important for their growth and effectiveness as employees and as persons. Recently, we have introduced performance bonuses to motivate employees to perform at their top form everyday.
I have given them the points where they will be evaluated and then told them that I will be benchmarking their performance on the average or mean performance rating for the quarter. Employees who will have ratings higher than the average (at least 1 standard deviation) will be rewarded with a surprise bonus which is different each month. For example, in the first month, I announced that I will give the best performer a half day free day, in the second month I plan to have a bonus raffle, wherein the top performer gets to choose his/her reward.
The reward I am using is actually a combination of expected and unexpected rewards, because I plan to vary it, from announcing it to keeping it as a surprise (Cameron & Pierce, 1994). In this way, the employees will have to work at their best for the rewards they want and the unexpected reward by means of the raffle. The reward is actually unexpected in general because this is only for my own department; it is above that of the company evaluation system, my goal was to increase their performance since the unit had actually been getting low evaluation scores.
The reward program I designed for my unit is also based on tangible goods, although intangible rewards are also important, I found that if I suddenly changed my behavior to be more accommodating or more friendly they might wonder and probably think I am on to something. The reward is also verbal in the sense that it is announced to the group and to the company through the company bulletin. The reward is actually controlling since it aims to increase performance (Cordova & Lepper, 1996).
Choice plays a crucial role in this reward program because employees are actually given the choice to increase performance or not, if they are happy and content with what they have then they would not join the program, while those who value achievement and success and enjoys a challenge, the rewards I give is very attractive. Culture is not really much of an issue since, most of the people I deal with are not culturally diverse. I believe that I could actually improve this rewards program so I could motivate more employees to increase their performance.
Another option would be to hold department get together at the end of the month and to honor the top performers, and to explore the more intangible and self-esteem boosting rewards. I believe that these rewards can motivate them to perform better because the period when the reward is given is shorter and hence more meaningful (Cameron & Pierce, 1996), it also facilitates healthy competition and the rewards are not that big to sow intense competitiveness and employees own their performance.
Cameron, J.& Pierce, W. (1994). Reinforcement, reward, and intrinsic motivation: A meta- analysis. Review of Educational Research, 64, 363-423. Cameron, J. & Pierce, W. (1996). The debate about rewards and intrinsic motivation: Protests and accusations do not alter the results. Review of Educational Research, 66, 39-51. Cordova, D. & Lepper, M. (1996). Intrinsic motivation and the process of learning: Beneficial effects of contextualization, personalization and choice. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88; 4, 715-730.