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First, that was a quick response!

Second, I think you hit the keyword that I couldn't quite get out when writing our post was "balance." One isn't always better than the other.

Appreciate the insightful follow up!


Thanks for the inspiration!

Suspect there tends to be a general see-saw equilibrium between size and frequency. A lot of money awarded once a year is more dramatic and more conducive to behavioral changes than the same pot divided up to be served out in daily increments. Just like a bucket of water thrown at one moment makes a bigger impression than the same volume dripped out one drop at a time. But a small steady daily reinforcement can deliver the message earlier, accumulate for a more enduring persisting impact and have a more powerful retention effect. Maybe there's an inverse relationship here: the larger the reward, the less frequently it should be awarded and vice versa. Speed of feedback can make up for some size deficiencies and the other way around.

Hasn't that been written up in the ABCs of rewards by our Early Masters long ago? Think so. Otherwise, it's pretty obvious from observation, anyway.


It is indeed all about equilibrium and balance - from all these angles. I think the Early Masters did, in fact, figure this out long ago, and life and reinforcement haven't really changed that much.


Great points, Ann (and Hinda). Balance is, indeed, the key. Employees need to know that their efforts are noticed, appreciated and relevant - especially in a project that takes months or years to complete -- as they do that the outcome itself is valued. If your goal is to keep people focused, motivated and innovative throughout a months/years long project, recognize and appreciate their efforts along the way. Recognizing the process is as important as outcomes as I wrote about more in-depth in response to very interesting studies conducted among various school districts in America (http://blog.globoforce.com/2010/05/rewarding-outcomes-or-process-which.html)

Definitely agreed on the importance of having both short and long term rewards. I've seen a couple of people close to me get burned out on long term projects when they have no sense of progress and no appreciable recognition for their efforts.

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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