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How to Reward Employees with Different Types of Organizational Culture

June 30, 2021

As a leader in your organization, you likely know just how advantageous it can be to reward and recognize the efforts of your employees to your workplace culture. These measures can improve team morale, employee engagement, and even your bottom line. But did you know that you can reap even greater benefits by tailoring your rewards and recognition system to your organization's culture?

That’s right, the values, goals, and practices that your organization shares can very well predict how you can best engage your employees through rewarding their efforts and acknowledging their accomplishments. For example, suppose your culture centers around results and the environment is a competitive one. In that case, you can potentially create a lot of engagement by having a monthly award that recognizes the employee who has made the most significant contribution to achieving your organizational goals.

Identifying your specific organizational culture and using it to shape your rewards and recognition system is a simple but effective way to fine-tune your efforts to maximize employee engagement and increase productivity. If you’re interested in learning how to do this, read on for all you need to know.

The Different Types of Organizational Cultures

According to Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron, professors at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, there are at least four types of company culture: Clan, hierarchy, adhocracy, and market.

Many factors help determine which team culture your organization may have, including beliefs, values, practices, and the company’s industry and size. To better understand each of these types of company cultures and the rewards and recognition systems that best suit them, let’s take a closer look.

Clan Culture

As the name suggests, a clan culture is primarily focused on teamwork and collaboration. Much effort is made within these organizations to give each individual employee their due. Clan cultures strive to maintain open lines of communication, promote mentorship, and avoid any sense of rigid hierarchical structure. This sort of culture is best suited for smaller companies and startups where there isn’t much opportunity for hierarchy, anyway. The larger a company grows, the harder it is to maintain the horizontal structure, which is often characteristic of clan culture.    

Rewards and recognition within a clan culture should revolve around soliciting feedback from employees on ideas they have and changes they’d like to see. This gives them the opportunity to engage in organizational problem solving and recognizes teams or groups for their contributions to achieving company goals.

Hierarchy Culture

A hierarchy culture is in many ways the opposite of clan culture. Rather than breaking down the chain of command to create a level ground for communication, hierarchy cultures stick to the more old-school way of doing things.

These cultures keep a tightly organized and well-defined structure that allows for excellent stability, focus, and control. Hierarchy culture certainly lends itself to larger companies more than clan culture does.

It only makes sense that a tightly structured organization should have tightly structured rewards and recognition programs, right? Hierarchical cultures have many options for incentivizing employees. For example, they can use a company newsletter or employee recognition software to regularly acknowledge an individual or group’s achievements or provide a clearly detailed rewards system that your workforce can engage with.    

Adhocracy Culture

An adhocracy culture focuses on staying one step ahead of the competition. Adhocratic companies are always striving for innovation while attempting to achieve and maintain a role as an industry leader. That means creative out-of-the-box thinking is a tremendous value for these companies. The employees who bring the freshest, most inventive ideas to the table are the most rewarded in these settings.

The companies you’ll most often find embracing adhocracy culture are in the tech industry, where remaining on the cutting-edge is not only effective, it’s vital.

To reward and recognize individuals within an adhocracy culture, allow them to share their ideas in brainstorming sessions. That is not only an opportunity for them to express their thoughts and make a mark on the company, it’s also one of the best ways to inspire organizational innovation.

Rewards in this system should be unique and creative, such as trendy gifts and experiences. Schedule fun shared occasions outside of the office, such as team dinners or an afternoon hike. A change of scenery is always an excellent way to stimulate innovative thinking.

Market Culture

Profit is king within a market culture. That means that the complex numbers often determine what and whom the organization considers most valuable. A company that embraces market culture always strives to be the top dog in their industry, and as a result, competition often turns out to be fierce within the workforce itself. That may sound as if it makes for a tense work environment, but the personality types that gravitate towards a market culture company tend to be those who not only embrace competition but also thrive on it.

A market culture company is likely to get the most out of a rewards and recognition program that capitalizes on the competitive nature of their team members. When top performers get acknowledged within this sort of organization, engagement and productivity increase. Monetary compensation is generally a great motivator for any organizational culture, but it is the most incentivizing in a market culture.

Carve out some time to Speak with a Specialist today to learn how you can help your organization reward and recognize employees no matter what type of culture it embraces.

Topics: employee motivation, rewards and recognition, culture, organizational culture