Want To Reward Your Employees? Get Creative!

Happy employees are more productive employees and their increased productivity will have the happy effect of boosting your bottom line. Unfortunately, research has shown that simply offering more money is a relatively poor way to boost employee satisfaction and productivity, so if not that, then what?

Recognition goes a long way, but how can you effectively reward your employees for their hard work? We can help with that! While not every idea in this article will work for every company, many of them will, and even the ones that aren’t applicable to you and your business will get your mind turning on the subject and serve as fodder for other ideas. Having said that, let’s talk specifics!

Praise Publicly, Praise Often

Do you remember back in the day when you weren’t a manager or business owner? Do you remember the queasy, uneasy feeling you got any time you got called into the manager’s office? There’s a reason for that. The overwhelming majority of managers only “call employees into their office” when they’ve got bad news to give them.

They did something wrong. They’re on report for something. They’re getting fired. Whatever it is, most people view a trip to the manager’s office with dread because it’s synonymous with bad news.

Change that! Make a habit of calling your employees into your office when they do something right, but don’t just do that. Also make it a point to praise your employees in public, in full view of others so that everyone knows their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.

The Occasional Long Weekend

Odds are that your employees do work for you in the evenings, after hours, and on the weekends, often from home. The days of the traditional nine to five job are over, and they’re not coming back. Given that, it’s not really costing you as much as you think it is to give a valued employee a three-day weekend as a reward for a job well done, because you’ll invariably get at least some of that time back. In truth, they’ve probably already earned it anyway, just with the extra time they’ve been putting in on your behalf, but it still makes you look like a hero, which is win-win!

Communicate And Share

This one’s super easy and means two different things. Obviously, you, as manager, should make an effort to communicate more often and more effectively with your employees, but also, give your employees a platform to share and communicate with each other.

The simplest way to do this is to establish an employee-managed newsletter. Set some general guidelines for it, then get out of the way and let your employees run with it. Bear in mind that once you let this djinn out of the bottle, it’s impossible to put it back in, and you might get more than you bargained for, because on occasion, your employees might share and communicate things with you that aren’t flattering.

Try to keep an open mind though and take both the good and the bad to heart. There’s tremendous value in this kind of openness, and contrary to what your instincts might tell you, it’s not a sign of weakness to give your employees a very public forum.

Champion Employee Development

There are few better ways to show deep appreciation for all your employees do than to take a genuine interest in their professional development. That’s more important than a pat on the back, or extra time off, or even a raise, because if you show a willingness to help them develop professionally, you’re enhancing their career prospects in the long term and increasing their prospects and earnings potential.

There are literally thousands of great ways to do this, and businesses often get discounted rates for seminars and certification programs your employees want and need. Those kinds of things not only enhance and improve the lives of your employees, but they also make them more valuable members of your team, which will invariably add value to your company.

Surprise Them!

Everybody likes surprises. They’re fun and whimsical, so get in the habit of rewarding your employees with little gifts when they accomplish important milestones for you and your company.

These don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Even small tokens are appreciated! You’ll find a huge assortment of ideas at the other end of the link above.

Let Your Employees Reward Each Other

As manager or boss, you have a birds’ eye view of your department or business. Unfortunately, at a high altitude, you may miss some of the details going on around you, which means that you might not see all of the accomplishments of the employees who work for you.

You can bet though, that your employees know of each others’ accomplishments, so why not give them the power to do something about it. Set up a secondary rewards program, independent from the gifts and surprises you dole out yourself, and give your employees latitude to come up with their own rewards ideas.

As with the “Surprise Them!” section above, the link at the other end of this topic heading has tons of great gift and reward ideas to get the employee-based recognition program off to a solid start!

Let “The People” Decide

This one may not be applicable for all businesses, and obviously there are limits to how far you can take this, but when and where possible, allow your employees to make business decisions that impact your company and have direct bearing on them.

Most managers or owners are terrified of even the thought of such a thing, but here’s the reality: If you do this, your employees are going to feel as though they have a greater stake in the company (because they do!), which means that they’re going to weigh any decisions you allow them to make very carefully, and perhaps even more carefully than you would. You’ll be amazed and pleasantly surprised at how big an impact this can have!

There are, of course, plenty of other ways you can reward, motivate, recognize and inspire your employees, but these ideas should give you a great starting point. All of them have been proven to work, so the real question is, which of these ideas are the best fit for you?