Everyone deserves to feel valued by their employer.
In a perfect world, as an employer you would be able to give everyone wonderfully large raises and hold a lavish company dinner every month, but that’s not a realistic possibility for most companies. Finding ways to reward your employees doesn’t have to be extraordinarily expensive.
When people say “it’s the thought that counts”, there’s a lot of truth to that statement.
Simple, thoughtful gestures will go a long way to express your gratitude. Employees who feel appreciated will work harder and enjoy their job more, creating a win-win situation for everyone.
Praise won’t cost you a dime. Using meaningful praise is the simplest way to show that you care, and everyone will appreciate that.
A handwritten thank you note or a private conversation detailing how much you appreciate an employee’s efforts will create a long lasting dialogue about performance while keeping your employees on the right track and improving engagement.
Try to steer away from generic emails or general praise cards, as these will cheapen the gesture and feel more like an obligation than proper recognition. Some managers believe in creating a recognition culture at their organizations.
I’ve heard of an executive who one day simply decided to start every management meeting by having every supervisor give two examples of employees whose work was exceptional on this day. At first, most felt it was forced and kind of cheesy, but they quickly embraced it and grew to appreciate it.
Your best employees are the rock stars of your company. Providing them with the opportunity to lead by example will reinforce the idea that their accomplishments are, in fact, exemplary.
Recognizing employees as leading specific categories, such as sales, customer service, or support, will make them feel validated. Try putting a leaderboard up in the break room to showcase your monthly winners.
This will also inspire other employees to compete for the top spot. Leaderboards should always be designed to encourage, not discourage players. Arriving at a new workplace, the player who earned 5 points will be more than discouraged to see that the top player has already gained 5000.
The player will likely disengage from the gamification process altogether. One way to avoid it is to slice the leaderboard to show data relevant to:
- Location – rank relative to others in the same geographic area.
- Social Context – players can see how they’re doing against their Twitter or Facebook friends. The leaderboard should be limited to show only those players who have spent a similar amount of time on the site.
- Business Context – showing leaders divided by category.
- Time – leaderboards set up every month or year to show top performers at the organization.
The amount of responsibility you give to an employee should directly correlate with how capable you believe they are.
Selecting employees to take the lead on important tasks, or giving them the ability to make their own judgement calls without your involvement shows them that you believe they’re up to the task. It demonstrates that you take their career goals seriously, and they’re worth your consideration to move up or take on a more important role within the company.
Gamification is an excellent way to reward everyone at once. Using gamification to add a new level of interest to routine tasks will boost your engagement and set a fun, competitive environment for your employees.
They’ll feel less like they’re being pushed to work hard without recognition, and more like you want to have fun with them by rewarding their results. It doesn’t matter what the game is or what you’re raffling off.
It could be something as simple as a free lunch or a movie ticket. They’ll appreciate the effort you took to make their workplace a little more exciting. There are many software solutions to help you provide a gamified experience that is both socially safe and engaging to employees.
One of them is Hoopla, a solution which helped one company to increase its call volume by 20% and contributed to the growth of a strong internal sales team.
For many organizations using Hoopla, the software has become an integral part of the company life, showing how gamified strategies bring about not only stronger competition, but also collaboration and organizational culture.
5. Small Events
Try to throw a small break room celebration every few weeks. You can celebrate monthly birthdays and company anniversaries with a cake, iced with the relevant employees’ names.
Provide catered lunches during important business times to show your employees that you appreciate everyone rising to meet the occasion. Use any excuse you can find to have a modest employee appreciation event. This serves to reinforce the idea of constant gratitude.
6. Gift Cards
Five dollars here or there is perfect. Passing out gift cards once in a while to a local sandwich shop or a popular coffee chain is a reasonable and appropriate gift that won’t break the bank.
Giving these to employees to celebrate personal successes, birthdays, employment anniversaries, or simply stepping up to the plate in a great time of need is a very personal way to say thank you. It’s the same as saying “I owe you a cup of coffee for all the hard work you did.”
Someone has gone above and beyond in their duties for the day.
They’ve exceeded what you could have reasonably expected from them. Why don’t you let them cut the day short? If someone stayed late the night before putting necessary finishing touches on a project, tell them to come in an hour or two later the next day so they can catch up on their sleep.
You can even allow them to take an extra day off if they’ve done a solid job and superseded their goals. Helping them create an ideal work and life balance is massively rewarding, because you’re giving them extra time to spend with their loved ones, or pursue their passions.
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These are all strategies that you can implement immediately. Employers who make an extra effort to show their employees a fair amount of appreciation will see boosts in productivity, an overall increase in job satisfaction, and greater employee retention.
What reward methods have been implemented at your workplace? Are you trying anything different that’s not mentioned on the list? Feel free to share them.