A "thank you" and flowers: cheap recognition programs that work
Budgets might be tight, but managers looking to retain their top talent and maintain morale should continue to reward deserving workers, according to Kelly Services MD James Bowmer, and they can do it on the cheap.
Recognise the three types of workers - with flowersPersonal development expert Helen Mac, of Macs Results, says that employers should be careful not to only reward their "superstars".
There are three types of high-performers, Mac says:
In addition to profits or sales, Mac says, workers should be recognised for customer service, teamwork, dedication or effort.
And there are "great opportunities for light-hearted cheap and cheerful rewards along the way".
One organisation, she says, awards a bunch of flowers to an employee on Monday morning in appreciation of his or her efforts over the previous week. The employee, after an hour or two, then hands the flowers on to a helpful or deserving colleague, and the bouquet continues to be passed around for the duration of the life of the flowers.
Handwritten cards of appreciation are also "powerful" compared to emails, Mac says, and employers handing out lollies will be "treated like Santa Claus".
Verbal commendation, however, is particularly important, she says.
"It's surprising how powerful verbal praise is."
Employers should praise in public (and critique in private), Mac says, and refer to specific, deserving individuals when commending a team's performance at staff meetings or other workplace functions.
Reward or punishment?According to Bowmer, one employee's prize is another's punishment.
"For example, an employee who enjoys being personally recognised by his or her supervisor might be pleased if the boss invites him or her to lunch," he says. "For another employee, spending his or her lunch hour with the boss might be viewed as an imposition on personal time."
Employers, therefore, should customise reward types based on individual preferences. They should keep a number of ideas in their "bag of tricks" so that they can choose the appropriate reward or incentive as each situation arises.