Incentives on their own aren't enough. Opening up the lines of communication is the major goal for managers and upper management. An employee must know they can discuss work issues with 'the boss' without fear of being ignored, patronized, or hearing about it later from someone whom it doesn't concern.
If an employee comes to you with a concern, get directly to the heart of the matter. Don't ignore their concern, appear dismissive, or tell them it will pass. Ask the employee what resolution they suggest. Make sure they know you will consider your options for solving the situation.
Work towards open communication between all your departments - staff and workers - and try including workers in management meetings to show there are no 'secret agendas'.
The least expensive motivational tool is giving your employee more say in his or her assignments. Find out what procedures they think could be changed for efficiency, productivity, or ease and see if it's possible to make those changes. Give your employees more freedom in their work environment and make changes only when real problems begin.
Incentives and rewards will be completely disregarded if your employees believe management doesn't care what they think. They will see the incentives as a carrot on a stick.
Once your communications are open, suggest an incentive program and make a list of possible rewards. Have your employees vote to determine which rewards they would like to receive. Pay attention to the voting. If few employees vote, few care, and you may have other issues to resolve with your employees before implementing the program.
If a company pays its workers fairly, cash is rarely good motivation. It may win you a new hire, but current and long-standing employees prefer appreciation and rewards which don't seem like a paycheck or bonus. Think of how many people consider a year-end bonus as part of their normal pay.
To motivate them you need more, not to spend more, but something that can't be tossed in with a paycheck. Don't throw the rewards around aimlessly. There are only so many gold stars you can give out before a gold star doesn't mean anything anymore.People who are happy while at work enjoy their work more and everyone benefits. Below is a list of some possible reward ideas. Some you can use to make your own list for your employees to choose.
- A simple 'Thank You' - appreciation of good work, especially in a personal note, is sometimes the most sincere reward.
- Treat your employees with respect. Giving them a 'cute' reward might go over well in one business, but in another be seen as demeaning.
- A program for rewarding employees who do volunteer work outside of the company.
- Staff meetings anywhere but the office, possibly a nice diner or cafe
- Set up a secret pal for the holidays or any employee special days
- Make a 'Thanks for your help' box. Have employees put the name of a fellow employee who went beyond the call to help them. Draw a name monthly for a reward.
- Start a birthday program. Have a gift delivered to each employee the week of their birthday.
- Have employee 'field trips' at least once a year. Rent out a skating rink, bowling alley, or reserve tables at a great restaurant.
- Reward perfect attendance with time off certificates.
- Praise a job well done..
- Give company swag - hats, shirts, jackets with the company name or logo. Don't give pens, notepads and mugs with the company name, those are better for your client.
- One-on-one meetings if an employee seems unhappy.
- Employment anniversary cards - paper or electronic greeting card.
- Event tickets when a goal is reached, let the group with the goal choose the event.
- Casual lunch with staff to gauge how things are going within their unit.
The first rule to setting a goal for your employees is make it obtainable. Setting a series of smaller goals to reach a higher goal will sometimes be best. Remember, raising the mark too quickly or in too large steps will only discourage your employees. Let your employees get a bit comfortable on every level they reach, and work with them to decide if a new goal is simply too high. There is sometimes a limit beyond which employees, production, and the company suffer.
Keep in mind, setting the wrong goal can backfire.
Rewarding the person with the most sales may pit the sales staff against each other, while rewarding the sales staff for customer service and working with each other may make the group, as a whole, more productive.
A positive, enjoyable work atmosphere can be the best motivation.
23rd February 2010 From India, Bangalore