When you think of awards, you probably think of one of two things; money or a plaque. Recognition in the workplace is generally associated with financial reward such as a raise, bonus, team lunch, or maybe a paid day off. While we generally don’t complain about financial rewards of any kind, financial awards can also backfire, big time. By rewarding employees by financial means alone, you assign a dollar value on each employee and action. The truth is, people are motivated by more than money and crave positive feedback, recognition and acknowledgement by executives and peers.
Recognition is the key to employee retention. People need positive feedback and acknowledgement of their efforts. When we say people “need” positive affirmation we mean they really need to “feel” it.
How can you reward an employee with something they can “feel” and make them “feel?” Employee gifts. Service awards, annual appreciation gifts, holidays, anniversaries, special achievements, you name it. We aren’t just talking about those standard plaques set on a wooden square with gold trim. We are talking customized brand name jackets, coats, ridiculously nice pens, cups, bar and stemware, watches, briefcases, bluetooth speakers, tech gadgets, etc. Step outside the box and give employees something personalized that they will use and appreciate.
When implementing employee recognition programs keep these things in mind.
Be able to reward in the moment. Be sure to set clear standards on what should be acknowledged and is considered “beyond” normal performance. Keep some personalized company items on hand to reward employees in the moment.
Tie your rewards in to a larger goal. Don’t just give random items. Having tiered levels for performance and rewards makes it a fair playing ground. Again, set clear performance value to your rewards so that the awards are recognizable and meaningful. Think about how cosmetic sellers are rewarded in tiers. When you see a pearl pink cadillac, you know that person sells A LOT of Mary Kay products.
When you give out an award or gift take a moment to acknowledge the moment and efforts. Sending an errand boy to deliver an award in the middle of a shift doesn’t quite hold the same meaning as the boss coming on the floor, shaking your hand and handing you an award to thank you for your efforts.
Not only do employee gifts remove the backfire risk of cash but they can carry real weight if they are part of a larger employee recognition program. Take the time to pick out great gifts and keep them on hand to reward in the moment and motivate employees to do their best now.
Check out our employee incentive inspiration page. We love helping pick out the perfect gifts for our clients.