Recognising and rewarding employees for their efforts is a powerful tool managers can use to boost productivity, motivation and satisfaction in the workplace. The key is to know when to reward and what to reward with. Some companies like to splash out on expensive gifts like elaborate trophies, holidays, or branded merchandise but according to recognition expert Dr Bob Nelson, the most effective rewards are also the least expensive; for example a simple but heartfelt verbal or written thank you, a (paid) afternoon off work, or gift cards like the One4all multi-store gift card.
If you’re a manager and want your rewards and recognition to be successful, here are five important ingredients:
1. Be Quick
For recognition to be truly effective, reward an employee immediately, for example, when he/she goes above and beyond in a presentation or important meeting. If you don’t give it immediately and instead wait a month or two, it won’t have as much impact.
2. Be Specific
A general reward/recognition, i.e. one that can be given to any employee does not work. Instead, point out the specific behaviour that you are recognising and explain to the employee why you appreciate it.
3. Be Personal
Experts say rewards and recognition are best delivered in person – and publicly, in front of the employee’s peers, whenever possible. However, know your employees and how they would like to be recognised. Some will appreciate a big speech in front of the office, while others would prefer a private, face-to-face meeting. And if face-to-face praising can’t be done, a handwritten note, email, text message or video call are all effective methods of deliverance.
4. Be Sincere
When it comes to employee recognition, don’t fake it. Employees are very aware of praise that isn’t genuine so make sure when you’re giving thanks, you’re truly appreciative of them -- this way it comes across sincere and from the heart.
5. Be Positive
Don’t use an opportunity to give praise as a time to point out negatives also. If a ‘thank you’ is immediately followed with a ‘but’, you’re eliminating all the benefits that comes with the initial recognition. When you’re rewarding/recognising employees, focus on the positives and save the negative talk for another time.