Recognition, rewards and positive reinforcement are a good way to boost staff morale, promote team work and to build a rapport between management and employees. This is especially important in today’s working environment, where the increased demands placed on employees (higher work loads, the need for flexibility and multi-skilling) place staff under pressure, resulting in a greater need for recognition of their achievements and hard work.
Many workplaces have formal incentive and bonus schemes in place to reward hard work and achievement. Performance reviews are also an opportunity to give feedback on the ability of staff to meet challenges and deadlines and get the job done. It is important to remember, however, that informal gestures can mean just as much to your staff as more official rewards and recognition.
Employees may expect pay rises and regular performance reviews, but a simple thank you or congratulations on a job well done or reassurance about your confidence in their ability to complete a difficult task can help motivate staff on a day-to-day basis and foster good relations.
Listen to Your Staff
In a busy working environment it is sometimes difficult to identify employees who are working beyond the expectations of their role. It is important to maintain your awareness of an individual’s contributions as many people will work quietly without making loud announcements about their efforts. Conversely, if a particular staff member’s performance is falling, this may be indicative of a potential problem which could be solved through communication and negotiation.
Listen to staff comments about their working environment. This feedback provides you with important clues about their level of job satisfaction and overall commitment to the organisation. If you do not have time to listen to comments personally, talk to other managers and supervisors who have regular contact with employees.
Warning signs indicating job dissatisfaction include comments such as:
* “Why should I bother staying back when it makes no difference?”
* “I don’t feel like my suggestions or skills are required around here”
* “I don’t know what this department wants and I don’t think they care”
Indicators of an employee’s commitment to work and a sense of involvement are:
* Working during lunch, or eating at desk to meet deadlines;
* Remaining at work (after or before hours) to complete task;
* High productivity and effective working patterns;
* Willing to assist other employees or departments;
* Discussing working patterns with line manager;
* Good team player;
* Good listener;
* Making suggestions about working more effectively;
* Taking ownership of customer/client inquiries and problems – displays a sense of involvement;
* Being interested in organisation’s business as a whole.
Ideas and Suggestions
Here are some useful ideas to show your appreciation of the efforts made by your staff, and generally build a pleasant working environment:
* Organise competitions: a monthly raffle whereby the most productive employee wins a restaurant voucher, the best typo of the month gets a booby prize, etc;
* Use email messages to express thanks and appreciation;
* Send an email message or joke on special occasions;
* Provide food on late nights at the office;
* Organise leisure activities such as drinks on a Friday night;
* Provide taxi vouchers for staff without transport when they work late;
* Introduce a casual dress day if appropriate for your organisation;
* Organise annual office outings or activity holidays;
* Make ‘new’ gestures – a pair of movie vouchers may be more popular than the same old bouquet, a voucher for a top department store may be more valued than a standard bottle of wine;
* Celebrate special occasions: have an office Christmas party, etc.
* Talk to your staff – let them know you remember their hobbies / holiday destination / new nephew.