The reward for good work… is more work

When Good Work Is Rewarded With More Work

By Kermit Burley

How do you treat your best performers?  Are they rewarded financially?  Are they given promotions? Do you provide them with special “perks” to recognize their outstanding performance? If you are like many managers in today’s workforce, the answer to these questions is most likely in the negative. Options for rewarding good performance are few and often, great performance goes unrecognized. Frequently, there is no reward or recognition for great performance and in many cases, the reward for good work is more work.  This workplace tactic, while frequently used, simply does not work and could ultimately cost you your best performers.  You should be rewarding your best people with work that they enjoy or given other perks when they consistently perform above expectations.

If this tactic of giving your best people the work that their poorer-performing colleagues cannot or will not complete cannot work in the long-term. People will either slow down, so no more work comes their way, or ultimately, leave for a company that recognizes their good performance.  So how do you stop this poor workplace tactic?

  • Analyze why your poor performers cannot complete their assignments. Are they poorly trained? Are they in the wrong position? is it a management issue? Uncover the reasons and causes for this behavior before attempting to apply any possible solutions.
  • Review your expectations for the work. Are deadlines reasonable? Can the work actually be completed in the time that is being allowed for the work? Does everyone understand the expectations? Are your expectations clearly stated? Do your people even know and understand that these expectations exist?
  • Provide feedback on performance. Do your poor performers receive regular and specific feedback on their performance? Have they been counseled on their work? Have your managers initiated a work improvement discussion? Many supervisors seek to avoid conflict and would rather not talk to a poor performing associate, choosing instead to give more work to good performers. Feedback on performance is essential for success and needs to be given frequently.
  • Are there obstacles to good performance? Do your workers have all of the tools and equipment to complete their work on time? Have you provided the latest equipment and given your people everything they need to effectively complete their assignments? Is all of your equipment working? Have your good performers merely found a way around poor or missing equipment. Take a solid look at any obstacles to good performance in your workplace and remove any impediments to good performance that you discover.
  • Are your people adequately trained? Are you consistently providing excellent, skills-based training to your people? As updates are added, is your team properly trained on them, or do you rely on manuals and the Help Desk? Are your supervisors adequately trained on how to motivate and reward team members? Do you have a solid training program in place for all of your people?

You should always treat and reward your best performers for the great work that they produce. Even when the budget is small, you must discover ways to let your best people know that their work is appreciated. Compliment them often, provide them with the choice assignments and allow them more freedom and flexibility in their assignments whenever possible. When raises are possible, be certain that your best performers always receive the best raise. Never give the same raise to everyone, that demotivates your best people and rewards poor performance. People know who the good performers are and so should you. Treat your best people like they are your best people and never, ever, reward good work with more work. Reward and recognize good work with praises, raises and awards and you will soon find that your best people will stay and continue to reward you and your company with success, both in the office and on your bottom line.

*This article first appeared on LinkedIn

*Kermit Burley is an IT and Cyber Analytics and Operations Program Coordinator at Penn State Lehigh Valley

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