6 Ways To Reward Your Employees


Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.

Lee Iacocca

Rewarding employees appropriately is a key aspect of improving employee performance.  It’s essential that employees are recognized for a job well done.  Sometimes this recognition is tied to a monetary reward, and sometimes it’s necessary to find non-monetary methods for rewarding your team.

Inappropriate rewards could easily work against the overall performance of the business and it’s employees.  Rewarding employees who don’t deserve could be argued as grace, but this kind of “reward” sends the wrong message to employees, and it sets teams up for mediocrity.

Appropriate rewards push individual performance to new levels, and they raise the bar on overall company performance.  Here are a few reward types for you to consider as you seek to improve your team and company.

6 Ways To Reward Your Employees

  1. Thank You Note.  Matt McWilliams wrote about the Thank You Revolution in his eBook available for free when you sign up at his blog.  And I wrote a guest post for him titled, The Power of Gratitude.  Rewarding employees should start with gratitude.  A simple handwritten thank you note is all it takes many times tell employees that they’ve done well or done something that deserves recognition.  Last week, I wrote to many of my direct reports to thank them for their hard work in bringing our fiscal year to a successful completion.  These notes gave me an opportunity to specifically recall good things that my team members have done this year.  One of my team members took time to write me back this week:  “Thanks for the card.  It means a lot.”  His simple response affirms the power of a simple thank you note.  Don’t underestimate the power of a simple thank you note.
  2. Department Meeting Shoutout.  Let’s face it.  It’s easy to get caught up in the regular business items in agenda of a standard office meeting.  Make it part of your meeting agenda to recognize employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty since the last meeting.  Maybe an employee did something to wow a customer.  Maybe they were key to a sale or project success.  Honor them in front of their peers.  It shows them their efforts are appreciated.  It demonstrates to others in the office the type of actions and behavior worth following.
  3. Small Financial Reward Program.  Our company set up a reward program which permits managers and fellow employees to recognize employees who have done something special.  The rewards start at $25 and go up from there.  A small reward of this nature is a great way to show family members how their loved one is appreciated.  These rewards are often used by employees to take their spouses out to dinner or to purchase something for the home they wouldn’t have purchased otherwise.  This may not be possible for your company, but it’s something worth considering if your company can swing it.  A small financial reward of this nature rewards employees, and it encourages employees to do things which will benefit the company.
  4. Merit Based Increases.  This is the time of year I decide on pay increases for my team members.  I have a fixed amount to work with as dictated by my company.  In order to reward high performers, it’s crucial I provide the higher merit increases to the employees who have earned it through their performance over the past year.  There is a market fairness factor that plays into this decision.  I am doing a disservice to my team though if I don’t reward team members based on their performance.  If I decided to give everyone the same increase regarding their performance, I would not be sending a positive message that would improve the overall performance of the company.
  5. Incentive.  Finding ways to provide incentives to employees can be a great way to promote desired behaviors and outcome.  At our office our sales members are paid based on commission.  They have a huge incentive to sell profitable projects.  Our project managers receive an incentive bonus at the end of the year.  The incentive is based on individual project slip along with a couple of other key performance indicators.  And our management encouraged to work together towards overall business success as part of the management incentive program.  Managing your payment program to make room for this kind of program can be a great way to enhance the overall performance of your team and your business.
  6. Special Assignment.  When an employee does something good, it is often a sign they are ready for the next challenge.  When a team members does well, give them the opportunity to try something different, something more challenging, and something that will draw attention to them in the future.  When one of my team members does a great job on one of their projects, I like to assign them a high profile project or a special assignment.  While this kind of reward will not immediately impact the paycheck, it will give your team member a chance to stretch, to grow, and to feel special.  Sometimes this is the best reward!

I’m sure there are some other ways to reward employees.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above list and your ideas for rewarding employees.  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

How do you reward your team members?  How does your company reward its employees?  Do you think rewards work?  Why or why not?

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