The fact that rewards motivate your employees is something you learn fairly early on in the management game. In fact, odds are you picked up on this piece of common sense back in kindergarten when you yourself were threading beads like a maniac and excelling at naptime in a bid to get your sticky little fingers on one of your teacher’s ‘only if you’re very good’ biscuits.
If you are to rear a toddler effectively, using bribes as leverage becomes second nature. This strategy becomes a little more tricky when you’re dealing with fully-fledged adults with hopes, dreams and desires that extend beyond first turn on the jungle gym, however. This is why it’s so important that you know which rewards motivate your employees and how you should go about implementing a recognition strategy at your place of work.
Here are a few top tips on increasing employee engagement and motivation at your company with the strategic and thoroughly-considered use of rewards:
10 Top tips on implementing rewards that motivate your employees:
1. Cultivate an overall culture of appreciation
First things first - create an overall culture of appreciation instead of fostering fleeting pockets of engagement by offering rewards on the fly. Invest in the tools your employees need to do their jobs well and be sure to create a comfortable environment in which they can excel at their tasks. This will call for quite a bit of input from your employees themselves, so open the lines of communication and be sure to follow up continuous listening with continuous action.
2. The whole team should be involved
If you want to know what rewards motivate your employees, the simplest way is to ask. Get the whole team involved (or representatives from each department if your business is larger), and start chatting. This is the simplest way to ensure that employees and upper management are on the same page where the recognition platform is concerned.
3. Make sure it's worth their while
The kind of rewards that motivate your employees will differ from one business to the next. Heck, it will differ from one human to the next! If you want your programme to be effective, you need to ensure that your particular set of employees see the rewards you propose as worth their time and effort.
4. Performance standards should be clear & reasonable
Rewards motivate your employees when it’s clear how to attain the incentives in question, and when the perimeters that are put in place are reasonable enough to be attainable. When the goal posts seem impossible, employees are more likely to give up and tap out of the process, so be sure to keep it within the realm of possibility.
5. Keep it objective at all times
Reward determinations should ideally be based on objective performance data - it's the best way to ensure that your employees will see the process as fair and unbiased. Bonus points if you can bring in some real-time metrics that can help them to assess their own performance continuously.
6. Performance = reward (always!)
Rewards motivate your employees most effectively when it is linked directly to desired behaviour. Whether it be praise, monetary rewards, recognition or other non-tangible rewards, it has to be tied to specific results so the connection between reward and performance is reinforced for optimal future results.
7. Scale your reward system
Rewarding large accomplishments is all good and well, but don't let the small ones fall by the wayside. After all, the smaller milestones lead to the larger ones, so cheer your employees on along their improvement journey by offering scaled incentives for smaller accomplishments.
8. Go beyond personal reward
Remember that rewards motivate your employees individually, as well as in groups. Team-based incentives are a great way to foster new bonds among employees in order to facilitate cooperation and group cohesion.
9. Make it snappy!
If you want to reward system to work to the very best of its ability, you need to follow up on recognition as quickly as you can. The longer you wait to deliver on your promise of reward, the less effective it becomes in shaping future behaviour. Keep this temporal component in mind when you tailor your strategy.
10. Ditch the cookie-cutter approach
Rewards motivate your employees best when it is matched to each one individually. First prize is a system that allow the members of your team to choose their own rewards once they've ticked all the must-do boxes. This is why it's so important to know the needs and wants of your crew. When you understand them as people rather than personnel files, it becomes all the easier to suss out the goods that has the potential to inspire.
There you have it, everything you need to know about finding the right kind of rewards to truly motivate your employees.
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