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By Bob Nelson. At Zappos, we believe that if we get the culture right, most of the other stuff, including great customer service, will fall into place on its own. Long term, we want the Zappos brand to be about the very best customer service and the very best customer experience.

This book gives readers ideas on how to inspire their employees to deliver the best performance every day— for little or no cost. There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise. Workers want respect, and they want it now. They want to be trusted to do a good job; they want autonomy to decide how best to do it; they want to be asked their opinion and involved with decisions—especially as those decisions affect them and their work; and they want to be supported, even if they make a mistake.

Most important, they want to be appreciated when they do a good job. Providing workers with recognition and respect can make a world of difference in getting the best efforts out of them, keeping them, and helping you develop a reputation for treating employees in a way that helps attract talent to work for you and your organization.

Recognition is a positive consequence provided to a person for a desired behavior or result. Recognition can take the form of acknowledgment, approval, or the expression of gratitude. It means appreciating someone for something he or she has done for you, your group, or your organization.

Recognition can be given while an employee is striving to achieve a certain goal or behavior, or once he or she has completed it. This recognition can be significant and symbolic, given the public forum in which it is typically presented.

Examples include: Creating a pass around trophy to acknowledge exceptional customer service; bringing in donuts or a pizza to celebrate a department success. Examples include: Dropping by to tell someone good job on an assignment; a simple thank you in person or in front of others for a job well done. Harvard Business School professor and management consultant Rosabeth Moss Kanter defines a reward as something special—a special gain for special achievements, a treat for doing something above-and-beyond.

When it comes to rewards, most managers think money is the top motivator for employees. While money is important to almost everybody, it is certainly not the only motivator. Because they tend to be less personal, the opportunity to develop and grow interpersonal relationships is hindered. Instead of furthering company values, they diminish them and promote a culture of unnecessary spending.

Cash rewards have one more problem. In most organizations, performance reviews—and corresponding salary increases—occur only once a year even less if salaries are frozen , whereas the things that cause someone to be motivated today are typically activities that have happened recently within the immediate work group.

There is a common misconception about the use of rewards and recognition to motivate employees: that it costs a company too much money—or more money than is readily available—but rewards, recognition, and praise do not need to be lavish or expensive to be effective.

It all starts with a thank you. And they expect it to be said immediately or soon after their good performance. Employees need to feel as though their efforts are well spent, even if the results can realistically be classified as baby steps.

Focusing on accomplishments gives your employees the encouragement they might need to keep moving forward in a difficult time. While recognition of success is important to include in regular meetings, impromptu celebrations added at the last minute to an agenda are almost more effective. For the time being, forget about shortcomings; save those for reviews or specific feedback. So many small successes go unnoticed because they are merely a part of a large accomplishment, leaving many key contributors in the shadow of others who ultimately receive praise and recognition.

By unilaterally deciding what to do or what to give employees who perform well, you run the risk of missing the motivational mark. Instead, involve employees in determining what would best reward or recognize them for doing good work—avoid surprises!

Having top managers practice employee recognition sets the tone for all managers and sends the message, If I can make time to do this, no one else in the organization has an excuse not to. The publisher of The Washington Post is said to give handwritten notes to reporters he feels have written excellent articles.

Similarly, one bank president gold plates quarters a roll at a time to pass out to individual employees as their performance merits special acknowledgment. Paying even above-market rates or having a few traditional and predictable recognition activities or a single great formal recognition program is no longer enough.

Update formal recognition programs to make them exciting and relevant. Accordingly, the organization made adjustments that were most meaningful to their employee population. I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval, than under a spirit of criticism. The link between effective strategies for sales, public relations, and marketing and increased sales is not only well established and taught in all business schools, it is also common sense.

Executives know that the results from such strategies are easy to track, benchmark, and adjust. With this focus on spreadsheets, what is too often lost is the fact that people are behind the strategies management institutes. Take the case of Circuit City and Best Buy.

In Circuit City laid off 3, of what it called its highest paid employees and replaced them with employees who were paid much less. While these 3, employees might indeed have been highly paid, they were also the most seasoned and productive salespeople Circuit City had. Looking only at numbers, the executives at Circuit City figured they could get the same results from their new batch of employees that they had received from their previous employees. The result? Investors promptly rewarded Circuit City with a 4 percent drop in its stock price, and the retail chain, which was by no means doing well, experienced nearly exponential drops in the quarters following and ultimately went bankrupt in with no buyer.

At the same time Circuit City was letting go of its top talent, Best Buy, its largest competitor, was nurturing its talent. In management at Best Buy instituted a new program entitled ROWE Results Only Work Environment , in which employees at its headquarters could come to work whenever they liked, set their own hours, and even work from home just as long as their goals were met or exceeded each quarter.

A big boost in morale, a significant drop in turnover, a healthy jump in productivity, and best of all, increased sales. As proven business practices that were once a sort of secret sauce to a select few have filtered their way through organizations worldwide because of the explosion of the information age, the result has been a standardization in which price- and cost-cutting become the only means for revenue increases, which, in turn, leads to the loss of the all-important competitive edge.

As business guru Peter F. Drucker wrote, Since people are, and will increasingly be, the competitive edge of organizations, treating employees right has never been more important. According to my doctoral research, In addition, Maritz has found that employees who do receive recognition where they work are:. And, according to research conducted by Towers Perrin, committed employees have been shown to deliver 57 percent more effort than uncommitted ones.

Add to that the true cost of employee turnover which recent studies from the Society for Human Resource Management place at 1. Recognition is a significant driver of employee engagement, and having engaged, satisfied employees leads to increased customer satisfaction, greater customer loyalty, and profitability, thus enhanced bottom-line success for the organization. Furthermore, a study by the Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia concluded that recognition has been shown to motivate staff, increase morale, productivity, and employee retention, and decrease stress and absenteeism.

Towers Perrin, in , found that And the Corporate Executive Board, in its study Driving Employee Performance and Retention Through Engagement, found that recognition was one of the top methods for increasing employee retention.

Why are effective recognition and rewards important? Because they constitute one of the most significant strategies for driving performance that matters to the success of the organization. People do not commit 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week or more out of their lives to just show up at work. They want to make a difference in their work—and to be appreciated for doing so. Further evidence points to the power of recognition:.

Recognition improves job performance, and improved job performance compels managers to provide additional recognition. In my doctoral study I found evidence to support the recognition—performance link in at least three ways. First, several performance-related variables were found to have broad support by all managers in the study, the majority of whom agreed or strongly agreed with the following items listed with percent of agreement :. Second, Third, of the employees who reported to the managers in this study, Employees expected recognition to occur: immediately 20 percent , soon thereafter All performance starts with clear goals and expectations, but even more significant than setting expectations at work is following up to see what was achieved and noting that success.

Recognition can have a powerful impact on the management and motivation of any employee, group, or organization. In fact, I find that one of the great challenges of the topic is to get people to take recognition seriously.

Because recognition sounds so easy to do, people often feel that they must already be doing it! Unfortunately, more times than not, that is not the case. I often find myself telling managers, "Yes, I know you can do recognition. My bigger concern is will you do so? That is, the behaviors and performance that you notice, inspect, recognize, appreciate, reward, incentivize, or acknowledge will be repeated by those you acknowledged and perhaps others as well who noticed or heard what happened.

In fact, it could even be said that all behavior is driven by its consequences. If there is a positive consequence, the behavior will tend to be repeated; if there is a negative consequence, the behavior will tend to stop.

Here are a few of the other core principles of effective recognition:. Many managers mistakenly think that recognition is just being nice to people. This view misses the point. Recognition is most effective when it is in response to something significant that someone did. You should avoid using recognition just to be nice, for example, or because you want your people to like you or because you feel guilty.

Instead link recognition to the performance objectives, values, and behaviors that will have the greatest impact on your continued success. In this way, recognition becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in reinforcing those things you most wanted to happen so that they occur again over and over. The sooner you recognize desired behavior and performance when it occurs and the stronger the reinforcement, the sooner the behavior or performance will be repeated. Generalities should be replaced with a more exact focus when using recognition.

If you are specific in stating exactly what the recognition is for when you give it to someone, the interaction will serve a practical purpose of making clear to the individual exactly what you appreciated that he or she did, which in turn will help increase the chances of the behavior or results being repeated. Good recognition also has to be meaningful to the recipient.

One of the most amazing and delightful ironies about the topic of recognition is that the most powerful forms of it cost little or nothing.

While money is, of course, a top motivator for all of us and it is nice to receive gifts and merchandise, especially in response to having done a good job , simple, sincere words and actions can and do have the most significant impact on how people feel about what they do, whom they work for, and where they work.

Asking someone for their opinion, involving them in a decision, granting them permission to pursue an idea, or supporting them when a mistake is made can resonate the deepest in terms of showing the trust and respect you have for the person in your working relationship.


1001 Ways to Reward Employees

Bob Nelson. Why is Ways to Reward Employees , with over 1. Because a little over ten years ago Bob Nelson took the seeds of an idea and turned it into something indispensable for business. The idea? That it's not a raise that motivates an employee, and it's not a promotion--what really sparks a person to perform are those intangible, unexpected gestures that signify real appreciation for a job well done.


1501 Ways to Reward Employees


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