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[JUST REWARDS] Boost employees’ creativity: Let them choose their reward

To boost employees' creativity, managers should consider offering a set of rewards for them to choose from, according to a study by management experts published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. The team systematically examined the effects of reward choice in a field experiment, which was conducted in the context of an organization wide suggestion program.

"Organizations spend a lot of resources and exert a great deal of effort in designing incentive schemes that reward the employees who exhibit creativity at work," said lead author Jing Zhou of Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business. "Our results showed that the effort may be a bit misplaced. Instead of discovering one reward type that is particularly effective at promoting creativity, what is more effective is to provide the employees with the opportunity to choose from several reward types, if they submit one or more ideas that are among the top 20% most creative ones."'

Two studies were conducted over several months in more than a dozen organizations in Taiwan.

Workers were given a range of options: a financial reward for the individual employee or their team, a self-discretionary reward such as getting priority to select days off, or a donation the company made to a charity selected by the employee. Those choices had positive, significant effects on the number of creative ideas employees generated and the creativity level of those ideas, Zhou.

Further, the choice of rewards fostered creativity by raising the employees' belief in their ability to be creative. Alternative rewards also had a powerful impact on boosting the creativity of employees who earlier had scored high on an assessment of creative personality characteristics.

Read the abstract here

 

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