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INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION PROGRAMS ON STAFF MORALE IN CORPORATE ORGANIZATIONS IN CAMEROON

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INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION PROGRAMS ON STAFF MORALE IN CORPORATE ORGANIZATIONS IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Employee recognition programs have become an integral part of modern organizational management, aiming to enhance staff morale and productivity. In Cameroon, as in many other countries, corporate organizations are increasingly recognizing the significance of implementing effective employee recognition strategies to maintain a motivated workforce. In addition, the foundation of an organization's capacity to create and preserve a long-term competitive advantage is its human resource base. However, in the current dynamic and intensely competitive business environment, companies need to come up with plans to draw in and keep qualified employees. According to the modern perspective, an organization's most significant asset is its employees, which emphasizes the significance of rewarding and encouraging staff members with bonuses and rewards (Zaman, 2021). 

Employee recognition programs are designed to acknowledge and appreciate employees' contributions, accomplishments, and efforts within an organization. These programs can take various forms, including verbal praise, awards, bonuses, promotions, and other tangible rewards. Malhotra and Ahmed (2019) define rewards as encompassing all forms of financial remuneration, tangible services, and benefits provided to employees within the framework of their employment. It is universally acknowledged that employees anticipate some form of reward upon successfully completing their assigned tasks. However, employers expect employees to fulfill their responsibilities satisfactorily, while employees, in turn, expect fair compensation in the form of wages or salaries. 

The reward for executing a task or a function is what is termed as motivation. As employees can be motivated and rewarded in a variety of ways based on the work they accomplish, even though salaries and earnings are the reason they labor. Similarly, in any organization, rewards play a crucial role in fostering and maintaining employee commitment, thereby ensuring high morale and performance standards (Ngwa, Adeleke, Agbaeze, Ghasi & Imhanrenialena, 2019). Many organizations have seen substantial improvements by adhering to a well-balanced reward and recognition strategy for employees. Reward includes various financial benefits, tangible services, and perks received by employees as part of their employment relationship (Siwale, Hapompwe, Kukano & Silavwe, 2020). On the other hand, Lawler (2021) outlined two factors influencing the attractiveness of rewards: the amount provided and the effort required by employees to obtain them. When employees receive adequate rewards and recognition, they feel more connected to their organizations and perform their jobs more effectively. This, in turn, enhances organizational efficiency and success. The relationship between rewards and organizational performance is inseparable (Suzanne & Luthans, 2018). Rewards provide the necessary motivation to drive performance within the organization. While poorly motivated organizations tend to underperform (Razwan & Ali, 2020), primarily because performance is fundamental to an organization's viability and relevance (Yamoah, 2019). Therefore, it is imperative for all stakeholders in organizational management to devise strategies for improving performance through incentive provision. Research by Heng (2012) revealed that employee performance hinges on their treatment within the organization, not just on salary alone. Employees desire appreciation and recognition in the workplace, fulfilling Abraham Maslow's concept of social affective needs, which greatly influences behavior and performance.

Despite differing opinions on the most effective forms of rewards, there is a consensus that rewards directly impact employee motivation levels and organizational performance. Although the significance of employee recognition programs is becoming acknowledged, there is still a dearth of research on the implementation and efficacy of these programs in Cameroonian business organizations. There is a paucity of empirical data on the particular recognition program types that have been implemented, their effects on employee morale, and the difficulties that have arisen during their implementation in the Cameroonian setting.

Nevertheless, implementing effective recognition programs serve as a strategic tool for organizations to retain top talent, enhance employee loyalty, and foster a positive work environment conducive to productivity and growth. Therefore, a survey will be conducted to investigate the impact of employee recognition programs on staff morale in corporate organizations in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

An essential instrument used by management to direct employee morale toward desired outcomes, such as increased functionality and improved business performance, is the reward system. Although, people are typically driven to work because they have wants that must be met. However, they dedicate their lives to their work because they believe that the compensation they will receive for their labor will meet their necessities. Furthermore, the nature of the reward has a significant impact on the sort of morale. Moreover, the escalating rate of employee turnover within the corporate organization such as Camrail Industrial Douala, Cameroon, and Cameroon as a whole, is a growing concern, exacerbated by the apparent ineffectiveness of management measures to address this issue. Highly skilled employees frequently transition from one corporate organization to another, displaying minimal tenure within a single organization. Upon recruitment, companies anticipate optimal employee productivity. However, this expectation is frequently thwarted when employees begin seeking alternative opportunities, often due to a dwindling sense of job satisfaction stemming from inadequate fringe benefits provided by their employers. Similarly, promotion emerges as a pivotal factor influencing employee job satisfaction and morale, as it correlates directly with enhanced benefits and increased responsibilities or authority. While, ineffective promotion strategies contribute to elevated turnover rates, resulting in talent drain, escalated recruitment and training expenses, diminished motivation, and reduced commitment.

Presently, a significant portion of employees in both public and private corporate organizations in Cameroon lack reasonable retirement benefit arrangements, further hindering their ability to contribute effectively to organizational objectives. Addressing these systemic issues is imperative to fostering a more stable and productive workforce within the Cameroonian corporate organization. Hence, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to investigate the impact of employee recognition programs on staff morale in corporate organizations in Cameroon.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of employee recognition programs on staff morale in corporate organizations in Cameroon. Specifically, the study will;

Assess the relationship between employee recognition and staff morale in corporate organizations

Analyze the key attributes of employee recognition that influences their morale in corporate organizations

Ascertain the impact of employee recognition on staff morale in corporate organizations

examine the factors which influence the correlation between employee recognition programs and staff morale in corporate organizations.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

How does employee recognition affect staff morale within corporate organizations?

What are the primary attributes of employee recognition that have the most significant influence on morale in corporate settings?

How does employee recognition impact the overall morale of staff members in corporate organizations?

What factors contribute to the correlation between employee recognition programs and staff morale within corporate environments?

1.5  Research Hypothesis

H0:There is no significant relationship between employee recognition programs and staff morale in corporate organizations in Cameroon.

Ha: There is a significant relationship between employee recognition programs and staff morale in corporate organizations in Cameroon.

1.6  Significance of the Study 

Research in this area will provide valuable insights for HR practitioners in Cameroon to tailor recognition strategies that align with their organizational culture and workforce dynamics. Also, it will help corporate leaders and mangers informed decisions about implementing or improving such initiatives to boost morale and ultimately enhance organizational performance. Additionally, since the primary beneficiaries of recognition programs are the employees themselves. Research findings will inform them about the importance of recognition in enhancing their morale, job satisfaction, and overall well-being within the workplace. Further more, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to the impact of employee recognition programs on staff morale in corporate organizations in Cameroon.

1.7 Scope of the study 

The scope of this study is boarded on the impact of employee recognition programs on staff morale in corporate organizations in Cameroon. Empirically, this study will assess the relationship between employee recognition and staff morale in corporate organizations, analyze the key attributes of employee recognition that influences their morale in corporate organizations, ascertain the impact of employee recognition on staff morale in corporate organizations and examine the factors which influence the correlation between employee recognition programs and staff morale in corporate organizations.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to employees of Camrail Industrial Douala, Cameroon.

1.8 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. 

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

 1.9 Definition of Terms

Employee recognition programs: are programs put in place by organizations to acknowledge and reward staff members for their accomplishments, efforts, and dedication to the goals and principles of their organization. 

Rewards: refer to all form of financial returns and tangible services and benefits an employee receives as part of an employment relationship.

Staff morale: is the overall outlook, attitude, and satisfaction levels of employees within an organization.

Corporate Organization: the structure, hierarchy, and framework within a company or corporation that delineates roles, responsibilities, and relationships among employees, departments, and management.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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