Praise for a job well done! Was the response most frequently given to me during my six-month Employee Loyalty Survey in 1995. At seminars across the country, I asked attendees to tell me the one thing that would improve their company loyalty. Present, were of all levels from entry to executive, and recognition is what American workers want most!
I believe most executives, owners and managers secretly yearn for employees who have an emotional ownership in their company.Employees that operate as if they owned the company and always looked out for the company’s best interests. Unfortunately, few are willing to do what it takes to cultivate this emotional ownership. Often, I hear managers saying that loyalty is too costly. But, how much does it cost to say, “Good job” or “Thank you?” Not a cent! The cost is the manager giving of him or herself–and to some, that price is too high. I have found that a little bit of recognition goes a long way.
Cost Effective Employee Recognition
Find creative ways to recognize your team. Don’t let your creativity limit you, ask your employees what they might like. Ask colleagues what they have done. Listed below are 50 “easier” low cost recognitions offered by my seminar attendees.
- A visit from the president.
- E-mail from the president.
- Notice to all employees of a special performance.
- Letter of recognition in employee’s permanent file.
- “Highlighting Employee” section in company newsletter.
- “Well Done” pens.
- Company coffee cup.
- “Attaboy or Attagirl” stickers.
- Paid time off.
- Recognition at meeting.
- Lunch with the president or other executive.
- New title.
- Gift certificates to local restaurant, theater or video/DVD rental store.
- Flex time.
- Special parking space.
- Private verbal praise.
- Team pot luck celebration.
- Choice of work assignments.
- Certificate of Appreciation.
- Team congratulatory song.
- Selecting the workplace radio station for a week.
- Come in late or get off early card.
- Get the workplace recycled soda cans for a month.
- Hand shake and “Thank you.”
- Company specialty advertising items.
- Boss for a day.
- Care package to spouse or children of employee.
- Wash employee’s car.
- Food: all-day suckers, pizza, donuts or maybe something healthy.
- “Get Out of Meeting” card.
- Free vending machine privileges for the week.
- Lotto tickets.
- Gold star on desk.
- Facial, pedicure or massage.
- Cater breakfast at employee’s desk.
- Party at owner’s or executive’s home.
- “We’ll do it Your Way Today” card.
- Software, special keyboard, new chair, etc.
- Notice about employee accomplishments in local newspaper.
- Assign additional responsibility.
- Guaranteed quiet/thinking time.
- Include employee in decision making.
- Decorate office for holidays.
- Lunch or dinner at long meetings and training classes.
- Listen to the employee.
- Allowed to attend a seminar of their choice.
In The Art of Partnering I wrote about Management By Partnering Around (MBPA). I believe MBPA is the best possible solution to greater productivity. This applies to anybody who considers them a manager or better yet, a leader. Use Ken Blanchard’s model from the One Minute Manager, find employees doing things right and give them a “one minute praising” on the spot. What a great way to build relationships.
Partnering with Employees
When I suggest partnering around, I’m simply suggesting that you create mini-alliances throughout your organization with employees, teams, executives, and others. As in networking, your goal in MBPA is to get to know as many employees as possible. Next, learn their strengths, weaknesses, and their interests. This knowledge will allow you to successfully put people together using the “Adaptive Organization” model. It will serve you well by unleashing employee creativity and more effectively utilizing their unique abilities.
If you will commit to MBPA, you can add my favorite recognition program to all your other incentive or motivational workplace programs.Rigsbee’s Recommended Recognition Program is that of offering negotiable corporate tender. The benefits to this recognition system are: Immediate and customized recognitions. We all want to know how we are doing. Who would not like their “reward” customized to their individual preferences?
Employee Recognition Certificates
Too expensive you say–not at all! This is the best deal in town if you do it correctly. Print recognition bucks assign a value and hand them out when you catch your employees doing a great job. It’s praise for a job well done. Who should hand out the certificates? It should be supervisors, managers and executives/owners.
Assigning the value is a bit tricky. You want them coveted by the employees but not so valuable that your managers are hesitant to hand them out. An Air Force major I met in Alaska assigned the value as a paid day off but for most companies it is too valuable. Managers are much less likely to hand out days off than a coffee mug.
First look at what you already have that would create value in the lives of your employees, vender freebies, specialty advertising items and so forth. Then see what toys can barter for within your community and then post a list of “recognitions” and assign how many certificates needed for redemption. One certificate might be worth a paid hour off or a T-shirt. Two certificates might get your employee movie tickets for two or lunch at a local haunt. Five certificates might get a company jacket of paid vacation day. Play with it, put up new postings each month of the newly acquired goodies. Be creative, always add something new to keep the program fresh and your employees guessing.
The Employee Recognition Program Works
This program only works of the supervisors, managers and executives/owners will give of themselves to find employees doing things right and reward them for a job well done. Take a risk and try it. All you have to lose is the productivity your not now currently getting.Whatever method you select for recognizing your employees, the important thing is to start now.
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.
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