Although you will occasionally need to discipline a staff member, research consistently shows that rewards work better than punishments for changing behaviors. Yet it can be tough for managers to figure out exactly how to reward their staff. As it turns out, even small gestures of appreciation can boost morale, increase loyalty, and convince your team members to do the right thing.
Here Are a Few Suggestions to Show Appreciation for Your Staff
Make It a Game
Assign point values to various tasks that are necessary but no one particularly likes, such as cleaning the bathroom or staying late to finish a project. Let employees claim these tasks, and offer several options for each level of points. Maybe cleaning the bathroom once is worth five points, redeemable for an extra five-minute break or first choice of rotation on one day. Staying late every day for a week to meet a deadline might be worth 50 points, redeemable for an afternoon off or a paid lunch.
Make Time for Shoutouts
If you have daily or weekly staff meetings, open the floor for a few minutes for employees to recognize each other. Public praise from a coworker can be an incredibly powerful motivator. You may need to take the lead, giving a shoutout to someone you noticed doing something great.
Implement Team Awards
If your employees regularly work in teams, institute a friendly competition. Maybe one team met all their production goals, or had zero safety violations in the past month, or came up with a creative idea to save time and money in their workflow. Take the team out to dinner or give everyone on the team gift cards as a reward.
Pay for a Meal
From doughnuts to pizza parties, food is a strong way to motivate people. Implement a policy of occasionally buying food to celebrate how well the company is doing, and your appreciation will become crystal clear.
Your employees are on the front lines every day, and they likely see things that you miss. Show them that their opinions matter by distributing regular surveys. Ask what they think you’re doing well, and areas in which you need to improve. This will not only help your employees feel more valuable, but their feedback will identify issues you may need to address.