If you still think
money is the #1 motivator ... your wrong! Money is important, but if
someone doesn't like their job or the way they are treated, I don't
care how much you pay them, they still won't like it. In fact, in numerous
surveys the #1 motivating factor to get employees to perform at their
best focuses on appreciation and recognition.
While money is important
to employees, what tends to motivate them to perform at high levels
is the thoughtful, personal kind of recognition that signifies true
appreciation for a job well done.
The best way to
provide recognition and appreciation is through the use of rewards.
To make our rewards work, we must first follow certain basic guidelines:
- Design rewards
based on the individual's personal preferences. For example to reward
a workaholic with a day off could be seen by the employee as, "What
did I do wrong?" instead of a show of appreciation as it was meant
to be. To really understand what is important to each employee it's
essential to get to know each employee well and find out what they
think are important rewards.
- Reward for achievement
- Rewards should be based on what was actually done. For example,
if someone has given you an idea that has saved you money, that person
should get a bigger reward versus someone who just did you a small
- Time your rewards.
Rewards and recognition should be given as soon as possible after
the desired behavior. Reward and recognition that come long after
the achievement do little to motivate the employee.
To help you provide
the recognition, appreciation and rewards that truly motivate, here
are thirty-six inexpensive but effective ideas that you can use immediately:
- Say thank you.
This is so easy, but often overlooked.
- A pat on the
- A smile.
- Public recognition
in front of peers.
- Manage by wandering
around (MBWA). Get out from behind your desk and see what your employees
are doing. It shows you care and are interested in what they do.
- A letter of
praise from a customer or vendor shared directly with the employee
who delivered the service.
- Develop a wall
of fame. A letter from a customer or vendor praising an employee,
posted on the company bulletin board.
- Listening to
an employee who has an idea for improving efficiency or effectiveness
and then acting affirmatively on that suggestion.
- Ask your employee
what non-monetary rewards they would like to have and, if possible
- Provide training
to employees. Offer them opportunities to improve themselves. For
example, one client of mine had me train all their employees in success
skills. This not only helped the company, but it was seen by the employees
that management really cared about them.
- Bring in coffee,
donuts and snacks on a regular basis and also do it when it is not
- Provide free
lunches to employees when you seen them doing something above and
- Walk your talk.
Lead by example: Do what you say you're going to do and keep all your
- Involve employees
in decisions that directly affect them. People have a need to belong.
Make them feel like they are an important part of your business.
- Praise them.
Each day your goal should be to catch employees doing something right
so you can praise them. This makes them feel valuable and valued.
- Listen to your
employees. There really is a reason that you have two ears and one
mouth. Listening tells you what employees need; it keeps you from
making mistakes with them; it wins their respect; it enables you to
negotiate successfully with them; it raises their self-esteem; it
minimizes their frustration and it communicates that you care.
- Let your employees
know they are VIPs too! Arrange discounts with local theaters, restaurants,
sports events or other things important to them. This will not only
motivate them, but they will tell everyone what a great place they
- Give credit
where credit is due. One of the best ways to achieve results is to
give credit to the appropriate employees.
- Go out of your
way to help employees. A little extra effort, some personal inconvenience,
goes a long way with subordinates in confirming the feeling that what
they are doing is important to you --- and that they are too.
- Have family
day. Encourage employees to bring in families to the see the office
or plant one afternoon. Follow up with a picnic. What you spend in
half a day's down-time will be rewarded many times over by family
good will, and of course, word of mouth.
- When paychecks
go out, write a note on the envelope recognizing an employee's accomplishment(s).
- Encourage employees
to praise good work of their fellow employees.
- Conduct an out-to-dinner
program for employees. Award dinners for two for doing something special
like coming in on a day off or working through a break. You could
also provide dinners to employees who get praised by customers.
- Go to lunch
with each one of your employees on a quarterly basis. Ask the question,
"What do we need to do to keep you with us ?"
- Remember birthdays
... birthday card, cake or gift.
- Invite employees
to your home for a special event and recognize them in front of their
spouses and co-workers.
- Give employees
rewards for customers they bring in.
- Offer rewards
for great ideas. If it saves money or brings in business, give the
employee a percentage of the savings or profit.
- Be sympathetic
to personal problems.
- Have regular
meetings to let employees know what is going on in the company. It's
important that everyone feels they belong.
- Order a pizza
or a huge submarine sandwich for a communal lunch.
- Send $10, $25
or more to a spouse with a thank-you note for his or her support during
the employee's overtime.
- Buy gift certificates.
- Pay an employees
rent for a month.
- Pay for the
tutoring of an employee's child.
- Give employees
who recruit new workers a cash bonus.
These are but a
few of the strategies you can use. Remember, everyone is different and
what motivates one person may not motivate another. In fact, giving
the same reward to every member of the company - not only does not inspire
employees to excel, but it may actually damage performance as top achievers
see no acknowledgment of the exceptional job they have done.