What The Experts Say About Rewarding And Recognizing Employees

employee_rewards_can_go_beyond_stuffPart of the reason Jenny and I chose to write about rewards and recognition this week is that we want to learn how to do this better at Phone.com.  What better way to learn than to hear from experts?  Here are a handful of articles I found in my research with some of my takeaways and commentary.

Good Goals vs. Bad Goals by Jeff Toister

This post features a couple very insightful videos about team goals.  Jeff shares an example of a sales team that was given a goal of making a ton of calls.  The only problem was that the team made a ton of calls but didn’t close a ton of sales.  This is a great example of a bad goal and a reminder that when we reward employees, it is best to set good goals on important company objectives and create team rewards for meeting those goals.  He also makes the point that we should hire employees that are intrinsically motivated and not dependent on rewards to do their jobs well.

Driving Employees From Engaged To Embalmed by Melissa Kovacevic

In this post, Melissa shares a very interesting story from an insurance call center where management is clearly doing nothing in terms of rewards and recognition for their contact center staff.  This quote from the article is something management must live by:

Employees don’t need the president to tell them to focus on customers.  What they need is for the president to say, “We are focused on YOU, so in turn, you can provide the best customer experience”

Never Reward Employees For Outstanding Survey Scores by Jeff Toister

The title of this post says it all and yet it is so easy to look at great surveys and build a rewards program around the scores.  Jeff talks about how it’s so easy to focus on the reward instead of the customer.  Recognition is a much better alternative for rewarding employees for this good behavior.  He goes on to give an alternative plan for motivating our teams from the book “Drive” by Daniel Pink.  In the book, purpose, autonomy and mastery are powerful ways to motivate employees.

Employee recognition beneficial to customer service by Cheryl Hanna

This article makes several key points about rewarding and recognizing employees.  I think the one I like best is the fact that we spend a lot of time recruiting, hiring and training our customer service employees so let’s do everything we can to keep them happy and engaged.

5 Ways Leaders Rock Employee Recognition by Meghan M. Biro

This article drew me in with the ties to parenting.  Meghan is very careful to differentiate between recognition and rewards and offers five useful tips for recognizing excellent performance.  I think the point I like best is the emphasis on authenticity.  The moment we automate a reward or recognition it loses much of its authenticity.

Clearly the experts have a lot to say on rewards and recognition and I barely scratched the surface of what’s out there.  I hope you’ll take the time to read some of the fantastic articles.  Have you done any interesting research and learning on the topic of rewards and recognition?  Please share!


Jeremy Watkin is a Product Marketing Manager at 8x8. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


  • Thanks for including me in your post!

    One thing that seems clear from the collection is that recognition is important. Rewards, on the other hand, should be avoided.

    What’s the difference? Rewards are if-then. *If* you do this *then* you’ll get this. Recognition is letting someone know their actions are noticed and appreciated.

  • Can’t say enough how important this is, from daily pats on the back to just a verbal recognition in a group setting. I have been reading Brian Fielkow’s Driving to Perfection and he writes about his years of business experience and how to motivate and gain success. This all works wonders, I recommend his book, drivingtoperfection.com is his site. Worth a read for business managers and owners alike!

    • Hey Paul, thanks for your comment! I’ll totally have to check out this book. You should join our book club!

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