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Low Cost Employee Recognition Programs
Submitted by Leslie Allan on September 13th, 2011
I have said a lot lately about the harm that pay for performance schemes can inflict on a company. They can end up demotivating workers more than inspiring them to excel –and waste a lot of money in the process. I am sometimes asked, “What are the alternatives?” “How can we motivate employees without breaking the bank?” Here are a few suggestions that have stood the test of time and involve minimal cost to the organization.
Reward excellent performance with a role at the next level in the organization. Just make sure that the person has the requisite skills to do the job or train them thoroughly before starting in their new role.
certificate of achievement
Awarding a certificate that recognizes a goal or milestone achieved gives a warm feeling to many employees. Achievements rewarded can be a program successfully completed, sales target achieved or production quotas exceeded.
paid time off work
Giving time off can be a very welcome reward for time strapped employees juggling family and work life. Especially for an employee working beyond the call of duty to complete a project or task, time away to share with their family or friends can be highly appreciated.
After a great team win in which the team reaches an important milestone or achieves a major goal, getting the team together for a company paid dinner can be most enjoyable. Further benefit springs from team members getting to know each other better.
handwritten note of thanks
When an employee sees a word of thanks in writing, it adds to the perceived seriousness of the compliment. And writing out your thanks by hand reinforces its sincerity and spontaneity.
lunch with manager
Book a table at a local eatery and take the opportunity to get to know your star performer even better. Your employee will appreciate the special attention.
collection of photographs of employees displayed in a public place
Displaying photographs of your top performers is the non-electric equivalent of having their names in lights. Be careful that you don’t pin up too many photographs as you will diminish the special significance for each employee displayed.
lunch with member of senior management/executive
Sharing a paid lunch with a top company executive will drive home the message that what the employee does is important and will encourage even greater performance in the future
formal letter of thanks with copy sent to senior management and employee’s personnel file
A formally written acknowledgement of superior performance leaves a lasting legacy for the employee to cherish. Storing it on record and forwarding to the executive team further reinforces the deep appreciation expressed.
catered lunch party
After a big win, call in the caterers to treat the team to a nutritious and tasty lunch. Team camaraderie will also increase as a side benefit.
You are wondering which reward practices will work best in your organization. The best place to start is to ask your employees what they consider as worthwhile acknowledgements. As they say, one person’s meat is another person’s poison. In my next post, I will expand on my list above with some more ideas on how you can reward employees without overstretching your budget. What forms of recognition have you used in your organization? What worked well and what did not work as well as you anticipated? Please share your experiences here.
Do you need help with implementing your new employee rewards and recognition program? Many implementations fail because the change process was not handled well. If you need to keep managers and employees on board throughout your organization’s change journey, get a copy of my Managing Change in the Workplace guide and workbook.
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