You know the good feeling you get when a boss or coworker compliments you on a job well done? Imagine if you could share that feeling with everyone within your organization. It would make your people feel appreciated, knowing that others took notice of their work. It would make them feel valued, as professionals who had much to offer. And it would spread goodwill toward your company, as showing appreciation begets mutual positivity.
Luckily, you can make everyone in your organization feel valued, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it. You can recognize your workforce by using reward strategies to motivate employees. These are strategies that build long-term relationships; between coworkers, and between management and employees. And by using low-cost recognition and reward strategies, you can gain a lot of value in return, as these techniques make people want to work harder.
Using Reward Strategies to Motivate Employees Makes Them Love Coming to Work
Why should you use reward strategies to motivate employees? Because they create valuable results for your organization. When employees feel recognized and rewarded, their work gets better. They become more productive, hard-working and loyal. Job satisfaction rates rise. Turnover costs sink and the workplace becomes more enjoyable for all.
Everyone on your team wants to feel acknowledged and respected. So here are some low-cost recognition and reward strategies you can use to honor outstanding work. Notice that none of these strategies involve handing out cash because non-monetary incentives are far more effective than monetary perks; however, they still encourage people to maintain or improve the quality of their work.
Set the Rules From the Start
Whenever you implement a reward program, make sure everyone knows what the rules are from the start. Posting your rules on a community board or emailing them are good ways to inform people, but also personally announce the rules to make the program more exciting. Defining the rules makes the game fair. Also, it gives interested employees a chance to get involved, which is exactly the response you want.
Make sure that everyone is eligible to participate in the reward or incentive program. You want to be sure to include people at all levels of the organization, not just those at the top. If this isn’t possible because of the nature of your industry or your corporate structure, implement similar reward programs within as many departments as possible. You never want to recognize one group of people while making another feel “snubbed”.
Recognize, Recognize, Recognize!
Recognize employees for jobs well-done, both big and small, and recognize them in a variety of ways. You can plan an entire employee appreciation day where you serve food, play team-building games, and hand out awards or rewards. These types of employee appreciation days are loved by everyone, as they offer a much-needed day away from work. And, sharing in fun activities is great for growing work relationships and reducing conflict.
Do you have employees who are frequently successful, or whom you want to recognize for smaller accomplishments? Don’t be afraid to post your praise on a bulletin board or through an email, every day. Daily praise is strong positive reinforcement and gives people a highlight to look forward to. This can be a bright spot for employees who are having bad days, delivering good news to a stressed-out team.
Post compliments received from customers or coworkers on a wall or board. Add pictures of the praised employee so that everyone knows who you’re talking about at a glance. Then, post the same info on your company’s social media page. This advertises star employees to your customers, raising employees’ prestige, and shows customers the outstanding personnel who will give them excellent service. Branded apparel can also go a long way towards motivating employees and giving them bragging rights in the workplace.
An Old-Fashioned, Hand-Written Note
Sadly, many wonderful old traditions have been lost in the digital age. That’s why when you do something as simple as writing an appreciation note by hand, it feels very special to the recipient. Take whatever praise you would have typed in an email and write it on a decorative card or stationary. Or, jot down a quick “thank-you” on a sticky note. Imagine how nice it would be if you got back to your desk and find a note of recognition taped to your monitor, or stuck to the side of a tasty treat. And that raises another lovely way to give recognition: surprise motivational cupcakes.
A Floating Work-From-Home Day
If your employee does a job that can be done from home, try rewarding them with a floating work-from-home day they can redeem when they choose. Working from home is popular at a variety of companies, and is often viewed by employees as a benefit. Having more people work from home can also lower the expenses of running a brick-and-mortar office. For a lot of people, simply being able to sleep in late and not worry about putting on makeup or getting dressed up in office attire can be a valuable reward. Not to mention, work location flexibility often produces high-quality results.
Everyone Loves a Lunch Break
Even in elementary school, we all looked forward to lunchtime. This is the meal many people share with coworkers or eat at the office, and there are ways to make it extra-special.
Set up a snack table or cart to give out treats, like flavored coffee and cocoa on cold days, or watermelon and popsicles when its hot. Have a catered theme-lunch and serve crowd-pleasing cuisine, such as Chinese or Italian food. Have a waffle-making station at breakfast or an ice cream cart for an afternoon sugar-boost. Is your office stressed and under a time crunch? Try serving up comfort food, like grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, or how about a milk-and-cookie buffet? There’s endless ways to reward people with special meals, so use your creativity and you can’t go wrong.
Another way to make lunchtime more fun is to have a drawing for a free meal. Put everyone’s names into a hat and give the winners a gift card or paid lunch, on the company. And if you really want to honor a special employee, take them out to lunch, personally. Nothing makes an employee feel good than being taken out for lunch by their boss, which also gives you relationship-building one-on-one time.
Don’t Know What Recognition and Rewards Your Employees Want? Ask!
Every group of employees is different, and there’s no set of recognition and reward strategies that work for every team. So if you don’t know what will make your team feel motivated, simply ask them. Send a survey and also allow them to write-in their own reward ideas. Your employees just may hit upon a great idea.
Asking employees what rewards and forms of recognition they want ensure you give them something of value. And it involves your team in a decision-making process that’s directly related to them, which goes a long way in making them feel included and valued. Finally, when employees do give you some good ideas, follow through! After all, they gave you their opinions and ideas for a reason.
There are many reasons why people come to work every day, besides needing a paycheck. They come to gain a sense of purpose in their lives, to feel the satisfaction of a job well done, to gain meaning from service to others, or to have the power to control their destinies. The list of motivations goes on.
Tap into these forms of non-monetary compensation by creating a culture of recognition and reward, and you can unlock potential and productivity hidden within your workforce—at a low cost. Using reward strategies to motivate employees will make raise team cohesion, lower absenteeism and turnover, and reduce everyone’s stress. It’s a small investment that delivers amazing returns.
Because we all know how it feels to be recognized and rewarded for outstanding work—and that feeling is priceless.
Here at Inproma, we’re passionate about developing employee incentive programs that help you harness the full potential of your workforce. If your company struggles with unmotivated employees, high turnover rates or absenteeism, or sluggish productivity rates, it could be time to try a customized incentive plan. A program that incentivizes, recognizes and rewards your employees could transform your fragmented workforce into a highly-motivated, cooperative team. Let’s talk.