How to Motivate Employees Through Rewards and Recognition

Keith Coppersmith

Keith CoppersmithBusiness Consultant

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Motivating employees to be as productive as possible can be a challenge, but it doesn't need to be. Small acts can have a big impact on the motivation of your staff, so here's how you use rewards and recognition to keep everyone happy.

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Traditional office work has changed. We’ve said our goodbyes to cubicles (well, most of us), and we’ve replaced the nine-to-five for a more flexible schedule. Not to mention the beauty of having our four-legged friends at the office. As an HR manager, however, you need to recognize that changes come from a range of different directions, and how we, as workers, are motivated has also changed.

Although traditional rewards would revolve around money, and it’s certainly still a worthy incentive to consider in some circumstances, motivation comes from other sources as well. If you need some ideas in this area, let’s go over some of the most effective motivation strategies to keep employees motivated and productive.

Company-wide recognition

It’s too easy for a single sales agent to get lost in a sea of hundreds of employees who do stellar work every day. However, without being acknowledged as an asset to your organization, a valuable worker’s enthusiasm will inevitably dwindle. This is your opportunity. You can use this and turn it into a chance to recognize team members individually – and publicly.

Is there an event coming up? A meeting? Use a couple of minutes at the very start to recognize accomplishments. Even if it’s a contract renewal, or a great presentation done by one of your interns – recognize their effort. When you raise your glass to those in the business, and on a regular basis, you give them a new perspective of their role in your business. They’ll know they are valued.

Personalized gifts

How proud are your employees to be working for your organization? Chances are, you’ve never checked. Those who work with some of the major corporations such as Google or Microsoft cherish their experiences, and they proudly wear the colors of their team. If you see them wearing t-shirts and carrying logoed mugs, you know they’re happy to be there every Monday morning.

If you’ve created a culture that allows people to feel the same way about your business, then gifts can be a great way to show gratitude. This can be anything from branded notebooks and pens to branded flash drives and mouse pads. They don’t even have to be relevant to life in the office, get creative and think outside the box; umbrellas or tote bags. Whatever their form, these mindful gifts can help build a stronger foundation for your company culture.

Celebrate with the entire gang

While not every business can celebrate the individual birthdays of its employees, or send fruit baskets for each anniversary that happens under your roof, celebrations matter. Even if it’s a Friday, happy hour in your office when you share a cake to commemorate signing a new deal, or setting aside a Saturday to do something together for major achievements, this will help prevent burnout and establish balance.

These events are also perfect opportunities outside of those official company meetings where recognition can happen more naturally. They’re morale-boosting, and they truly make a difference for every new member so they can bond and feel part of a culture, and not merely as someone taking up space in the office. Stay creative in this respect; take them out for drinks, a standup comedy show, or an art gallery opening. If you cater to group interests, you’ll likely provide the perfect environment for every single team to recognize their colleagues and express their appreciation as well.

Long-term perks and benefits

If someone has worked with you for several years, it shows loyalty and devotion. Rewarding that loyalty doesn’t require a specific occasion, other than your knowledge of their effort and time spent under your roof. Take a moment to think about the different ways you can actually make their work more enjoyable, and how they’ll know they have more room to grow. Giving them a chance to work flexible hours, or to work from home a couple of days per week could do the trick.

Then again, others might appreciate access to a specific fitness center, or a membership at a club they enjoy. Do they need to leave the office early on Wednesdays to see their kids’ soccer game? Don’t wait until they ask – make it your business to know their needs and their priorities, and allow them the work-life balance that will ultimately improve your company as well. Simply put, happy workers are productive and motivated workers as well.

Although there is no template for making every person feel appreciated, certain gestures offer universal opportunities for expressing gratitude. Incorporate these simple, but effective strategies, and you’ll build a happy, motivated staff eager to grow your brand.

Author: Keith is an Adelaide based business consultant with a degree in Media Management.

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