Everyone likes to be acknowledged. It is not just about ego; people just like to know that someone knows that they exist. Most companies have some sort of acknowledgement program, be it for the group as a whole or individuals. The best reward programs recognize both, sometimes at the same time, acknowledging that the group has accomplished some major goal and then the people that made it possible. However, sometimes the standard rewards just will not do; this is when managers need to get a little creative, making for some interesting calls by managers. Nonetheless, those rewards make the most impact.
The most basic rewards are custom awards, trophies, and medals created specifically for particular ceremonies. While these are great for recognition in front of a crowd and can definitely be the highlight of the ceremony, sometimes you need to get a little more creative. That is, you need to reward someone in private in order to make the situation especially significant. In this case, something special needs to be done. It is assumed that a good manager will somehow keep track of the likes and hobbies of his important people and tailor the rewards given to those likes and hobbies.
It needs to be noted that these special rewards should be given out infrequently but should be somewhat universal. That is, everyone should receive a special reward at some point. It is important to recognize everyone at some point, even if it is just for birthdays and work anniversaries. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for their work or at least as an individual; that special attention is well worth the investment further down the road. A manager should find a way to keep a number of gift cards and discount cards on hand at all times for any time that a reward is called for.
It should be noted that there are a number of secondary effects to rewards. Giving out rewards helps to encourage employees to go above and beyond, to push themselves in their place of employment; the right reward at the right time can inspire greater patience with management as well as give employees incentive to meet and exceed set goals. In some cases, it can even inspire suggestions and ideas on how to solve problems that the business has. For those that seek some sort of reason to stay with the company, a decent rewards program can make the difference between staying and seeking employment elsewhere. Thus, the right rewards can make for a better work environment and that can only help the business in general.
Rewards To Consider
There are a number of different ideas to reward employees. Gift cards are a good basic way to do so. It gives the employee something tangible that can help them at that point, even if it is just a meal or couple cups of coffee. However, that is hardly the limit. Sometimes giving an employee a spa day or a bonus paid day off can be well worth it. For that matter, merchandise with the company logo can be well worth the investment. It can obviously be used as advertising for the business, but it can also inspire greater loyalty. Better yet, if the merchandise is practical, such as a t-shirt or a water bottle, it is something that can help the employee connect better to the business.
The business can help in other ways as well. If the business requires certain equipment for its employees to just get the job done, such as safety equipment or specific footwear, then the company can buy that equipment for its employees that meet certain standards. In some cases, even helping with college or other forms of education. As noted, the company can even help with hobbies and other entertainment, such as offering movie passes or books. There are no real limits to what rewards a company can come up with in order to properly award deserving employees.
In short, a company needs to debate how it rewards its employees. A simple trophy can do wonders; it singles out an employee in all of the right ways. However, do not be afraid to try other rewards, especially for those employees that would prefer to stay out of the spotlight or are deserving of something special.