The basic functions of any reward and recognition system are to recruit, retain, develop, and motivate to perform. At the simplest level, reward and recognition systems work by satisfying the needs of those already performing in the volunteer role, and convincing those considering a volunteer role that some of their need will be satisfied through volunteering. In addition to motivating volunteer behavior by satisfying individual needs, reward systems should also be supportive of organizational goals. Check out these four steps towards a successful volunteer rewards system!
1. Productivity: A critical step in increasing the productivity of volunteers is task selection and assignment, because it is crucial for volunteer organizations to match the desires and abilities of the volunteer with assigned tasks as carefully as possible. Much of the potential reward for volunteers derives from successful task accomplishment.
2. Retention: Volunteers whose needs are unsatisfied will either withdraw from effective participation or leave for other organizations, where they perceive the potential rewards to be greater. By accurately identifying and addressing the specific needs of individuals and providing rewards and recognition that satisfy the need expectation, an effective reward and recognition system increases the likelihood that a volunteer will remain with the organization.
3. Morale and Espirit de Corps: People dislike ambiguity, and providing volunteers with specific objectives focuses their efforts. To the extent that individuals feel that they are performing well at an important task, their morale will be enhanced. As the leadership of an organization demonstrates concern for the volunteer through appropriate task management and performance recognition, the volunteer’s sense of personal satisfaction and willingness to participate will increase.
4. Organizational Changes: Volunteer organizations depend heavily on congruency between environmental and organizational goals. As they make changes, volunteer organizations must ensure that such changes are explained to their volunteers, who may have joined in support of what they perceive to be substantively different objectives. Because volunteers want to feel that their contributions are important and useful to society, any changes in organizational goals must be communicated to the volunteers to maintain both membership and productivity.
Reward systems drive behavior in certain directions and serve as excellent analytic foci for understanding the organizational culture. How do you plan on implementing a successful rewards system within your organization? Tell us in the comments!