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Motivation Incentives Recognition Money

Our manager means well, and he likes to come into our work area and give us spot bonuses. I like extra cash as much as anyone, but his bonuses have nothing to do with anything. He just gives them to everyone. What do you think of this approach?

Spot bonuses can have a positive motivational impact when employees are caught doing something right and are instantly rewarded for it. Employees appreciate recognition for a job well done, and they are more likely to repeat the positive behaviors in the future. In addition, co-workers who observe the exchange are also more likely to adjust their own behavior so that they too can get spotted in this way.

However, your manager's approach to spot bonuses is rather spotty. Handing cash to everyone is less of a bonus and more of a random giveaway. There is no question that employees are happy to take cash that is handed to them, but this dole is void of any significant motivational impact. It simply becomes background noise that employees come to expect for showing up. Although this handout is not motivational, you can count on a significant drop in motivation if it stops.

Some managers use these sweeping handouts to meet their needs to be well-liked and popular. Managers with such needs are not only more likely to randomly toss money to their employees, but are also more likely to avoid acting firmly and decisively because they fear upsetting their employees. At some point, these managerial antics get spotted, and not with a spot bonus.

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