Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tight Times Are Great Times for Low-Cost Rewards

Sorry about missing yesterday; was out of town.

Yesterday I was in a restaurant and saw a great example of a low-cost reward. A waitress..mmm...waitperson?...or, should it be wait-individual? or, food attendant?

Sorry, the political correctness virus catches up with me sometimes.

Anyway, a waitress had done a great job with a couple and the manager had evidently observed the service. I heard the manager praise the person, and watched as the waitress' face beamed.

Tight times--anytime, for that matter--is a good time for low-cost rewards.

A great strategy for getting people to do things for you—which leads to a more Perfect Workday—is finding and using the rewards that show appreciation or serve as motivational tools. But if you are going to reward people on a regular basis you’ll be better off to look for low-cost rewards.
There are six categories of low-cost rewards that often work:
1. Say, “Thank You.” Find as many ways as possible to say, “Thank you.” Most surveys of what people want for recognition show that once they understand that you can’t always give big raises they want recognition. You can do it verbally or you can write a thank you note and mail or email it, although face-to-face is always best.
2. Show respect by asking their advice. If the person is an outstanding worker ask how they do what they do. Also, ask if they know how to make things better in your organization and follow up on what they tell you.
3. Spotlighting. In essence, this technique is about bragging on the person in public. Say good things about them in front of their co-workers, to management, to their families. Find ways to put the person in the spotlight in reports. Get them in the newspaper. One real estate near the North Carolina coast puts their lead sales rep’s picture on a billboard.
4. Stuff. A well-known strategy of giving stuff can include hats, t-shirts, sports apparatus, toys, pens, tools, pins or anything the person will see as valuable.
5. Money and Time. Small cash rewards, $5 or $10, can be a surprise reward for a job well done. Or, instead of cash give movie, theatre, concert or sports tickets. Hire a babysitter for the person. If you can’t or don’t give money try giving time. Some people had rather have an afternoon off than a comparable amount of money.
6. Fun. Find more ways to have fun at work. Have a funny tie day, a joke day or a wild shirt day. Bring ice cream and toppings to work in the summer or cook a big pot of soup or chili in the winter.

Great Resource: 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, Bob Nelson

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