Effectively engaged employees are self-motivated to go above and beyond the call of duty. They take ownership of their tasks and feel pride in completing them to the best of their abilities. It's also up to the employer to recognize jobs well done. According to the principles of Six Sigma, a business management system initially developed at Motorola, employee recognition isn't a tool to incentivize success, but rather to establish a standard for excellence [source: Pyzedek]. Some business management guides have even discouraged outright incentives as they may promote laziness and cutting corners. Rewards also aren't meant as a method of punishing under-performing employees or as a last-ditch effort to jumpstart productivity [source: Pyzedek].
Businesses don't have to attach a monetary value to performance rewards for them to be effective. Basic public recognition reinforces company values and provides examples of its mission in action. For the recipient, an intangible reward comes with elevated social status, the joy of praise and, possibly, increased responsibility [source: Jex].
Remember, a reward system will make employees happy only if it's designed to value departments equally and tailor measures of success to the various job descriptions. To do so, see the next tip on goal-setting.