#10 Reward Performance

Earlier this year, Positive Alternative Radio (PAR) proudly announced that it had been certified as a
Best Christian Workplace by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI). It is a high honor,
which is bestowed—or denied, based on the results of BCWI’s Engagement Survey.
Survey results are compiled from anonymous feedback submitted by the registered organization’s team members.

Here, we will look at the tenth highest ranking result—My organization effectively rewards top performers—and
show you how to reflect those same positive values within your own organization.

Dear Christian Radio,

Team members across PAR agreed—our organization rewards top performers. This is an important appraisal and one that bears distinction, and here’s why…for many companies the easy solution is to do the opposite, which is, to reward poor performers. The latter is the business equivalent of everyone getting a participation trophy.

It is no secret that candor is a big deal at PAR. We don’t want the successes of our top performers to be buried—that teaches nothing. That’s why PAR Leadership makes a real effort to aggressively reward top performers. We want their actions noted and celebrated throughout the organization.

PAR rewards these top performers through bonuses, promotions, and public praise. Leadership also extends greater trust and flexibility to these individuals. Certainly, throwing money at people isn’t the only way for companies to offer rewards and show gratitude—after all, continued employment has its own merits—however, properly recognizing your best team members and incentivizing their performance keeps them in the game, while setting the bar higher for the rest of the organization.

In his book, “Winning”, former GE CEO Jack Welch says,

“An effective performance appraisal system relies not only on honest feedback
but also on meaningful differentiation among employees.”

Welch talks a lot about what he calls the 20/70/10—meaning the top 20 percent of team members, the middle 70 percent, and the bottom 10 percent. Welch goes on to ask,

“Why are grades acceptable from the time that you’re in fourth grade to the time you’re getting your MBA, but not acceptable once you’re an adult? You need to use the same rigor to evaluate your people that you use to evaluate your financial statements. You should take the top 20 percent of your employees and make them feel loved. Take the middle 70 percent and tell them what they need to do to get into the top 20 percent. People need to know where they stand. Failing to differentiate among employees—and holding on to bottom-tier performers—is actually the cruelest form of management there is.”

If you’re feeling defeated, thinking cash is king and that it is the only way to reward top performers, consider dividing up your annual benefits budget into stair-stepped approaches. It’s a creative approach that benefits cash-strapped ministries. The Society for Human Resource Management offers the example that:

“…a top performer might get a salary increase during the overall salary review process, then another smaller increase later in the year.”

In this way, you are offering smaller, but more frequent raises as rewards toward performance.

At PAR, as with many nonprofits, it’s a passion of ours to not only be able to reward, but to reward well. The ability to do so comes through careful planning and prayer ahead of time. Experience has taught us what works; and rewarding performance is definitely an important part of the formula for success.  Use it.

Dear Christian Radio…

  1. Reward your top performers. Keep them around!
  2. Communicate. Everyone should know where they stand; there should be no surprises at “review time.”
  3. Get creative. If money is tight, think creatively as to how you can reward and encourage your top 20 percent!



Daniel Britt
Vice President of Culture Integration
Positive Alternative Radio

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