13 Jan Five Clever Ways To Reward Employees At No Cost To Your Firm
So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and begin an employee rewards and recognition program. Congratulations! According to the Corporate Leadership Council, a manager’s ability to reward and recognize achievement can increase employees’ efforts by 22.7 percent. By starting a rewards and recognition program, you’ve chosen to recognize the stars on your team and encourage others to shine too.
Many companies begin recognition programs with great enthusiasm, only to find that the costs of offering lavish rewards are difficult to sustain from year to year. Don’t make the mistake of equating rewards programs with luxury vacations, fancy gifts and expensive watches. Instead, discover ways to recognize and reward employees that won’t break the bank.
Ask Your Employees What They Want
One often overlooked step in the process of developing an employee reward and recognition program is the simple step of asking your employees how they wish to be rewarded. You may be pleasantly surprised by the responses.
A synopsis of various studies conducted on employee reward programs published in the Harvard Business Review underscores that intrinsic motivators and rewards are better than extrinsic ones. In other words, people want to feel good about what they’re doing, and when they’re motivated by positive reactions to their work, they tend to produce more of that behavior. Extrinsic motivators such as bonuses and expensive gifts tend to de-motivate employees over time.
Five Free Ideas to Effectively Reward and Recognize Employees
If you’ve carefully organized your reward and recognition program to focus on positive behaviors you wish to inculcate among your employees, it’s time to link those behaviors to specific rewards.
Free rewards and recognition ideas include:
- Public acknowledgement: Do you have a companywide meeting? A department meeting? Start the meeting off with a monthly or weekly “kudos,” or praise for a job well done. Refer to specific behaviors that led to a positive outcome for the company or department, and publicly acknowledge the employee who exhibited these behaviors. It’s a great way to reinforce positive behaviors while giving praise to someone in a worthwhile, genuine manner.
- Write and hand-deliver a thank you note: Thank you notes may seem as old-fashioned as horse drawn buggies these days, but there’s something to be said for the elegance, grace and personality behind hand written notes that supersedes anything related to emailed messages. Keep a package of elegant thank you notes in your desk drawer and every week, take 15 minutes to write one for an employee. Make sure you praise specific behaviors.
- Give thanks in public: Do you have a company newsletter or intranet? Post a recognition article praising and rewarding an employee’s behavior and actions. It’s the equivalent of the “Wall of Fame” or “Employee of the Month” awards, but promoted only within your company itself.
- Ask the employee to represent the company at an event: Do you have any upcoming workshops or events to attend? How about offering your star employee a seat at the table representing your firm? As long as someone from your firm is already attending, make it your star player. He or she will be thrilled with the honor, and will likely do a great job.
- Offer to do the least palatable task for the employee: Who doesn’t have a weekly task they hate to do at work? Offer to tackle it this month for your rewarded employee. Whether it’s filling out expense reports or tackling the filing, take on their most hated chore as a way to say “thanks.”
Corporate rewards and recognition programs don’t have to focus on bonuses, trips or other tangible rewards. Sometimes, a sincere thank you, a thoughtful gesture, or a chance to shine is all it takes to make someone feel well rewarded for a job well done.
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