No one comes to work for free (unless you are volunteering for a worthy cause of course). But the paycheck is just one of the many incentives companies use to retain workers. In last month’s column I wrote about employee satisfaction. A satisfied employee produces good work, which in turn creates satisfied customers. So aside from a quality working environment, what incentives can a company provides? Many people work a “professional day.” Your salary is fixed no matter how many extra hours or weekends that you work.
So, right off the bat then, the primary incentive is a good salary. An employee must feel they getting paid at the proper market value for their skill. Once settled though, companies should continue giving incentives throughout the year.
Let’s start off with a simple thank you. When a team member completes a task, no matter how small, just send simple thank you e-mail. At a higher level is a congratulatory e-mail. After you team has successfully completed a project, you can send a note to the team, include your customers, congratulating them on a job well done. Going further up the appreciation ladder, if your team member has worked long hours, given up precious evenings with their family, a thank you note is almost mandatory in this case. Extra effort on the job should always be appreciated and never taken for granted.
On a more tangible level, a gift-giving program has worked well for many companies. A program like this works like rewards you might earn on your credit card. For example, you can give a peer 5 points for a job well done or a manager can reward 40 points to a team member for a particular long effort or successful project. Points are accumulated by the employee and can be redeemed for any number of gifts. While not quite over-time pay, employees appreciate the extra little bit of compensation.
A celebratory lunch or dinner is a nice reward as well. It also servers as an opportunity for team building. A celebratory meal, at the company’s expense, can be awarded for work related events, such as a successful completion of a project, a service anniversary, or a year-end party. Other celebratory meals can also be taken for non-company related events such as a birthday, a marriage engagement or a birth of a new child.
Not usually considered an incentive, a company-sponsored trip to an industry conference is a nice reward as well. This is a reward in that you can take time away from the office, you can learn about the latest industry trends and practices and also meet people from other companies in your similar line of business. Unlike a standard business trip, there no long meetings, copious notes or trip reports to provide.
The last bit of incentive is not a company reward but a personal incentive, the holiday gift. Employees should be aware of any rules regarding the giving of gifts. There might be limits, for example, on the value of such gifts. Usually a manager will give individual gifts to team members as a token of appreciation. On the flip side, team members might want to get together and give the manager a single gift. If team members give individual gifts to a manager, team members will start competing as to who gives the “best” gift to the manager.
So there you have it, thank you notes, meals, conferences and holiday gifts; simple incentives to make the work place just a little more “rewarding”.
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