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May 2010


Rewarding Your Team

How can I keep everyone motivated, give them the rewards they deserve, and not go over budget?  A common question for all companies today.  There are lots of ways to treat your people well, show them that you recognize the quality work they produce, and encourage them to continue.

Want to achieve real success?  Try these strategies.

Key Strategies

1. Keep Your Eye On The Clock

The reward must be close in time to the behavior being rewarded.  Everyone has their own tolerance level, but you can't wait until the end of the year ceremony or performance review to tell people how good their work was this week.  Each behavior and reward requires a different schedule; generally somewhere between one day and one week after-the-fact is good.

2. Be Specific

Be specific about the behavior being rewarded.  Attitude is important, but it is hard to replicate.  What you want to reward is the behavior that demonstrates the attitude.

The idea is to give all your team members a model of the behaviors you want most.  It is difficult to model attitude, but easy to model behavior and action.  Make life easy on your team members.

3. Provide Opportunities

Provide many opportunities for rewards.  Everyone should be able to feel successful in your system.  If only the top ten percent of your people get rewarded you will create a win-lose environment.  And who ultimately loses?  You, your customers, and your bottom-line.

If you already have a win-lose environment, then change.  Remember, the past does not equal the future.  The more difficult the task, the more you need to reward success.  As that task becomes easier, move the bulk of the rewards to newer, more difficult tasks.

4. Focus On The Individual

Be certain the employee is comfortable being rewarded in the way you have designed.  It is not enough to provide a reward no one wants, or in a way the individual is uncomfortable receiving.  Ask the team, and then ask each member how he or she prefers to be rewarded.  Some like public recognition; others prefer to see their name in the newsletter.  Some prefer a certificate or plaque; others prefer a letter in their personnel file or copied to the boss' boss.  Some prefer a physical reward (dinner for two, tickets to the theater or a ballgame); others prefer an extra half-day off added to their vacation time.

5. Be Sincere

The leader, manager, or coach must be sincere in giving the reward.  If you don't make it important, it won't be.  If you want others to model the behavior, let them feel your sincerity.



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