Work would be incredibly dull without rewards, don’t you think? Whether it’s financial rewards or just plain-old recognition, people want to know their efforts are valuable for the business. According to a recent survey, employees placed personal recognition at the top of the incentives that can make them more motivated and productive.
Plus, many specialists in management and human resources can attest to the power of rewards. When you praise great performance, you create a positive work environment that celebrates success and turns failure into lessons for the future.
READ: 4 Things That Make Employees Stay Longer In A Company
And yet, many business owners don’t really know how to reward their employees (except for the classic something extra on the paycheck). If you’re looking for a bit of diversity, look no further - we have 10 amazing ideas to put your team into fifth gear!
Regardless of how obvious it is, everybody likes money (whether they have them or not)! In fact, the need for recognition often comes after the need for a solid paycheck is fulfilled, so don’t dismiss the power of a bonus.
Also, you can diversify by offering gift cards, extra paid vacation days, free health checkups, and other bonuses that don’t come as cash but do have a positive impact on the individual’s finances. Plus, a bonus allows you to brag about it to friends and family, which is also a form of recognition.
2. Newsletter Shoutout
Small businesses, especially the ones just starting, don’t have the budget for fancy night-outs with the team or other rewards that usually keep employees happy and motivated. However, a shoutout in the weekly newsletter doesn’t cost anything and can bring a lot of joy to the person who feels their efforts are contributing to the well-being of the business.
Do you like watching the Oscars or any other event where people walk on a stage and, very publicly, receive an award for their performance or career? A business award has about the same level of emotional load and can be delivered in a similar fashion.
Plus, business awards can be displayed with pride, shown to family and friends, and maintain their appeal for years to come.
4. Bring Technology Into the Mix
Many businesses use special engagement platforms powered by peer recognition where employees can receive and provide praises and feedback for their colleagues. These platforms also have a rewards catalog connected with hundreds of online retailers (such as Amazon), restaurants, and more.
Therefore, based on their score, employees can choose their reward using the platform.
Through gamification, you introduce a feeling of friendly competition between team members and drive up their motivation by using game-related techniques. For instance, gamification can turn a boring project into something fun by simply introducing points, quests, scores, and bosses (difficult tasks they can tackle to level up).
Of course, gamification works best when you find a pot of gold at the end of the quest. So don’t forget to add meaningful prizes that those with the biggest scores can enjoy.
6. Lunch with the Boss
Peer recognition is important, but recognition from a superior strokes the ego differently. This is especially true when the recognition comes from a superior you respect.
Therefore, a way to show one or two exceptional employees that their work is valuable to the company, offer them the chance to go out to lunch with one of the superiors (they can choose which one) at a location of their choosing.
Of course, all expenses will be supported by the company and the discussion should focus on their interests and hobbies (not work or future projects). You can ask about personal projects and plans they have for the long term, but make sure you (as the superior) try to get to know the person in front of you on a deeper level.
7. Certificates of Achievement
These may be on the same level as awards, but since they are printed on paper (or stored online), an employee can use them to prove their skills and achievements whenever necessary. Plus, certificates are easier to store and can be framed and displayed on a wall (you don’t need a shelf for them).
8. VIP Parking Spot
Everyone likes those few parking spaces that are often reserved for CEOs or managers. First, that’s because these are usually closer to the building’s entrance, but it’s also a matter of status - whoever parks there is important.
So, if you want to let everyone know about the amazing results of one of the people on your team, give them one of the VIP parking spots for a determined period of time (one week or more).
Since parking spots are quite visible, it is one of the most effective ways to get everyone in the company to notice the change and appreciate the meaning. Also, your employee will receive lots of peer recognition and will feel their efforts in the company are seen. But if you want to streamline the process of reserving parking spots and make it more efficient for your employees in general, consider implementing a parking reservation system. Thus, you'll be one step closer to building a stress-free work environment and showing equal appreciation to everyone, and motivate them to perform at a higher level.
9. Personal Growth Opportunities
Some people want to get ahead and create other professional opportunities for themselves. In all fairness, these may be the people who will leave the company in order to pursue their own business interests.
Supplementary reading: A Love of Learning is the Key to your Growth
While there’s nothing you can do to change their desire to get better faster, you can use this drive for the good of the company while they are employees. So offer them growth opportunities as a form of recognition. This can be anything from specialised training on a topic they like or networking opportunities.
Plus, you should keep them close even after they turn to entrepreneurship. These types of people can become your trusty collaborators in the long term and they’ll never forget your company was the one to help them down the road.
10. Fun Times with the Team
For every end of the project (especially with big ones), organise a fun outing with the entire team and enjoy it together. It can be anything from an escape room, a wine tasting, a spa day, or a night out for drinks.
This type of activity helps strengthen the interpersonal bonds between colleagues but is also amazing for releasing stress and celebrating everyone’s hard work.
You don’t need a big budget to keep your people motivated, but you do need a bit of creativity and the desire to understand their way of thinking. Also, never forget, even a pat on the back and a simple “you did well” means a lot when it comes from the right person!
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