Praise delayed is praise denied
Vishnu Mohan | 17 Jan 2007

As the saying goes, "justice delayed is justice denined" similarly "praise delayed is praise denied" accordingly to experts. Some common meanings of delay is to decide to do something at a later time; to postpone, to cause to be late. Just imagine two i

As the saying goes, "justice delayed is justice denined" similarly "praise delayed is praise denied" accordingly to experts.  Some common meanings of delay is to decide to do something at a later time; to postpone, to cause to be late.  Just imagine two instances, one -  for a good job done, the rewards are given at a much later date ; second - for a good job done, rewards are given within 24 hours or instantaneously.  It is obvious from these two instances, motivation level do get positive boost.  However, true motivation lies in instant rewarding, according to motivational experts.  

A team losing its enthusiasm is a manager's nightmare.  Those in this unfortunate situation keep wondering, "why are my employees sliding down the performance graph, despite my being a 'nice boss'? well the answer is, it is just not enought to be 'nice', rewards for great performance need to be instantaneous and appropriate.

Different organisations have different ways of displaying their appreciation.  Cognizant's WAH programme enables employees to earn points for their contributions and redeem the accumulated points against Cognizant-branded products.  According to Bhaskar Das, VP-HR Cognizant, "The objective of the WAH programme is to instantly recognise employees for their contributions to organisational initiatives."

Quite naturally a positive reaction to an innovative action will only increase the addiction for good work.  Expanding on this thought, Torry Harris Business solutions (THBS) launched its "Sport Excellence Award", where employees are rewarded for their "beyond expectation performance" within 24 hours of the deed.  Says Ashwin Krishna, COO, THBS, "The award is based on the theory of "Operant Conditioning in Behaviourism", which states that when a person demonstrates a behaviour, if the consequences are positively reinforcing, he/she is more likely to repeat the behaviour."

Going one step ahead, KPIT Cummins Infosystems Ltd. has instituted special wards such as "Wow, Delighted customer and U made a difference Award".  At Infrasoft Technologies Ltd., employees who win instant rewards get featured on their intranet.

But what if such a recognition wasn't there, or even if it existed, you never got it in time?

The answer is "Praise delayed is praise denied".  Manoj Kumar singing in Sanyasi, "karam kiya jaa phal ki iccha mat kar he insaan, jaisa karam karega waisa phal dega bhagwan" could no longer hold good if today's companies want to prevent attrition rates, they have to go in for "instant rewarding techniques matching with contributions made", howsover, small it may be.  

Well, if rewards are unduly delayed or priase is denined, in that case, words like employee involvement and ownership would be hollow.  Spontaneous recognition impacts people more, because most of the time, it has that element of "surprise" in it.  Explains Vani Sathvik, Head - HR & Admin, CISC Technology, "Instant rewards add to make an employee feel highly valued, and this enhances the self emage of the work force.  But it needs to be managed sensibly."

A number of awards come after long intervals - they are either annually or half-yearly, with nominations passing through layers of intermediaries. Says Philip K Mammen, Group Head HR, Mindtech India Ltd., "Too many intermediaies an distant people from the scene of actionand, in a worst case scenario, single out employees who get rewarded 'mysteriously'.  It may sap morale if they fail to understand the criteria to compete and win.

Many compnies, like THBS, even track their managers as to whether or not they are rewarding their members on time.  Certainly, prompt recognition of employees' achievements gives them a sense of dignity and being respected.

The old adage "learn to say no" for climbing up the ladder in hierarchy need to be replaced with the new adage "learn to say 'yes' most of the time during a day work."