January 5, 2017: Organizational Culture and Personal Fit – Reward and Recognition

2016-2017 Issue 1

Welcome to 2018, and welcome back to our series on Organizational Culture and Personal Fit.

How are you feeling going into the New Year? Is work synonymous with potential and fulfillment, or is it an energy drain? No matter where you are on this spectrum, your sentiments are a call to be heeded. In fact, when analyzed right and without blame, they are fantastic tools for diagnosing your fit.

To assess your long-term prospects in a given company or institution, you need to be just as mindful of your questions as you are of your answers, and read between the lines to find out where they stand on things that matter to you.

Now that we have explored how individual vs. group accountability and vertical vs. horizontal power structures can play out in making you feel more or else engaged, our third topic focuses on reward and recognition.

Organizations will differ on the measures they take to motivate you and celebrate your successes. Certain private-sector enterprises will seek to tie pay to performance, and for some of you, this will seem just right! Businesses who opt for this reward system cite higher productivity and profit for the overall company operations and clearer outputs and satisfaction for you as an individual contributor. In fact, if this seems like an exciting prospect, chances are you do not shy away from competition. Whether you are rewarded as an individual or a team member as compared to other units, departments, or branches, you might even get a thrill from the publicity around your accomplishments. More concretely, this could take the shape of quarterly bonuses, sales commissions, annual merit pay increases, plaques or other awards, stock options, or piece rate incentives based on the quantity and quality of what you can singlehandedly produce.

So naturally, more money equals a happier you, right? Not necessarily. There are trade-offs to every preference, and in many of the cases above, material success comes at the price – pardon the pun – of cut-throat, unsupportive, mistrustful workplaces. Not to mention that narrowly-defined performance goals risk curbing creativity and neglecting everyone’s role in being a “good citizen”.

Alternatively, in organizations that prioritize equality over equity, compromise over conflict, and friendliness over rivalry, some of you may feel more engaged. Recognition for good work may take the form of a pat on the back, a thank you card, or a collective annual celebration of the entire staff. Your loyalty, team-building efforts and social-impact or corporate social responsibility initiatives will be publicly highlighted, but probably not your individual outputs, and certainly not with financial incentives tied in.

So which one is it? Where are you likely to find fulfillment, considering the advantages and the trade-offs involved? Make a point of assessing your fit on this dimension as well – it has a lot to do with your sense of belonging over time.

Connect with Maia and McGill’s School of Continuing Studies on LinkedIn.

Read this article as originally published in French in 24heures Montreal.

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