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is one of the most important challenges business owners and managers
face today. With increased competition and changing attitudes on how
business is done having motivated employees is critical to increased
sales and the ultimate success of the business.
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.
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