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Motivating Your Employees Through Reward and Recognition

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Now more than ever, employees want to know they have a purpose and that they’re making a difference.  Recognizing the good they do and rewarding their successes can go a long way in supporting these needs.  We all need occasional reassurance that our efforts are being noticed and appreciated.  As a manager, it can be a constant struggle to determine how and when to praise your employees for a job well done. 

You don’t have to put a formal process in place to show appreciation.  As a matter of fact, the less formal the acknowledgement the more of an impact it may have.  However, you do need to remember your employees are individuals.  They all have different likes and dislikes.  It’s important to understand how they like to be praised.

How to Reward & Recognize
When you onboard new hires, have them complete a Reward and Recognition questionnaire.  This is an easy tool for you to reference so you can nail the job well done praise when the time is right.  It’s important to keep the form current.  Have your employees update the questionnaire on an annual basis. 

The form can be simple.  Here are a few sample questions to ask:

  • How would you prefer to be recognized: publicly, privately or either?
  • Do you prefer to be recognized by a handwritten note, newsletter publication, certificate, etc.?
  • What restaurants do you like?
  • What are your favorite snacks?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Are there any charitable organizations you like to support?

These questions will make it easy for you to know exactly how to acknowledge each employee without embarrassing someone who may not like public recognition or giving them a treat they may not like.

Your reward & recognition program doesn’t have to be expensive either. 

Here are some easy, inexpensive ideas on what to offer:

  • Leave a handwritten note on your employee’s desk. 
  • Offer kudos to the employee at a group meeting.
  • Publish a picture and brief description of what the employee did in an employee newsletter.
  • Surprise the employee with their favorite candy, snack, gift card or donation to a charitable organization in their honor.
  • Reward with extra paid time off or a longer lunch break.

When to offer Reward & Recognition
When should additional praise be given?  There’s no secret formula to determine this.  Staying engaged with your employees and being aware of what they do on a daily or weekly basis will help you figure this out.  Also, encourage your team to offer feedback on other employees when they witness extraordinary service.  This allows your staff the opportunity to elevate exemplary employees.

Here are some instances when additional reward and recognition for going above and beyond normal job duties may be appropriate.

  • Interacting with co-workers in a positive manner and displaying a higher level of assistance without being asked.
  • Providing out of the ordinary service to ensure 100% customer satisfaction. 
  • Producing a creative initiative to solve a problem that will help the company, customer and/or co-worker.

The list doesn’t have to stop here.  The important aspect of any reward and recognition initiative is to keep it genuine and unique to the individual employee.  It can lose its appeal if you use the blanket approach and make it too generic.  The more you connect with your employees and show your appreciation to them for the work they do, the more productive they will be for the organization and the more loyal they will be to you.

About the Author

Mandy Resmondo, PHR, SHRM-CP

Mandy Resmondo, PHR, SHRM-CP is Regional Director of Staffing at Landrum HR. Mandy has been a vital team member for 9 years. Her background is highlighted with an additional 5 years of Human Resources experience in the manufacturing staffing environment. Mandy is responsible for overseeing all staffing and recruitment operations for our main and branch offices. She is a member of the Five Flags of Pensacola Rotary Club and holds a BA degree in Communications. She earned her certification as PHR (Professional in Human Resources) from the Human Resources Certification Institute in 2012 and her SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) designation from the Society of Human Resource Management.