Yet the bottom line question remains: would you like to work for a supervisor who was afraid of offeringpraise for good work for any of the reasons cited above? I wouldn’t . . .Well, a few years ago an employee of the management company started and run by Ken Blanchard of
The One Minute Manager Fame
, Bob Nelson, co-wrote with Blanchard a book entitled
1001 Ways to Reward Employees
.Nelson points out that, while one of the most basic needs for managers and employees alike is to beappreciated, many organizations fail to recognize this need as a key to success. The book highlights theresearch that demonstrates the success found when managers praise, recognize and reward employees.Nelson also offers examples from companies across the country, including convenience store operatorsand petroleum marketers.Nelson covers three types of employee recognition: informal rewards, awards for specific achievementsand activities, and formal rewards. We’ll let you read about the awards for specific achievements andformal rewards. Let’s concentrate on the informal an inexpensive rewards here. While we haven’t thetime or resources to rework all of the ways Nelson outlines to reward and recognize employees, we canhelp you with 101 suggestions.
Informal Rewards: Recognition Can Be Spontaneous
According to Nelson, informal or spontaneous rewards can be implemented with minimum planning andeffort by almost any manager. He quotes a Wichita State University study noting that "simply asking foremployee involvement is motivational in itself."That Wichita State study also determined that the top five motivating techniques were:
personally congratulating employees who do a good job;
writing personal notes about good performance;
using performance as the basis for promotion;
publicly recognizing employees for good performance; and
holding morale-building meetings to celebrate successes.
Nelson adds that informal rewards make more of a positive impact with employees and are cost effective.In most cases, the simpler the better. According to the "People, Performance and Pay" study by Houston,Texas-based American Productivity Center and the American Compensatory Association, it generallytakes five to eight percent of an employee's salary to change behavior if the reward is cash andapproximately four percent of the employee's salary if the reward is non-cash.Petroleum marketers have used informal rewards to recognize their employees' good works. Chevron(San Francisco, CA) keeps a large box, secured with a padlock, filled with gifts. An employee beingrecognized on the spot for some accomplishment is brought to the "Treasure Chest" by his or hersupervisor, who holds the keys. The employee gets to choose an item from the box, which could beanything from a gift certificate, to a coupon for lunch or dinner, to movie tickets.Mobil (Fairfax, VA) has formed a partnership with Carlson Marketing Group where employees can go onshopping sprees inside Carlson's distribution center in Dayton, Ohio. Mobil officials consider the programan exciting alternative to employees selecting merchandise from a catalog.Some of the most effective ways to reward your employees is to simply say thanks for doing a great job,giving them a birthday card, or keeping them posted on changes at work that directly affect them.Remember those gold stars that the 1
grade teacher put on your report? It may indeed sound childishon the surface, but people really do like to receive a gold star every now and then for a job well done.
Other Inexpensive Ways to Reward Employees
Drop them a handwritten note
Name a program after your employees