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How Do You Reward Your Employees?

By Brian Parsley
Speaker - Consultant - Author

Do employees need to be rewarded? Is recognition important? If you reward your employees, will they work harder? Will they become more loyal? If you reward your employees, does it set an expectation that you must continue?

To know the answers to the questions above you must first know why recognition is so important. Recognition means something given or awarded as a token of acknowledgment or gratitude. Most people classify giving rewards or recognition in the work setting as either monetary or trophy-like prizes.

It’s more in terms of your willingness and commitment to reach your goal as opposed to the what and when.
The purpose of rewarding your employees is to show them how important they are to your business and that you value them as people. That may sound fluffy, but everyone wants to feel appreciated.

Last year, I met a gentleman named Michael Ketcherside of MTM Recognition, a company that specializes in recognition rewards. We discussed the best ways to reward and recognize employees. He shared a philosophy with me that forever changed the way I look at rewarding employees. He called it symbolism at work. He asked, "Brian, did you give your wife an engagement ring when you proposed?" I said, "Of course I did!" Then he asked me, "Why would you not just tell her you love her and prove to her by coming home every day?"

At that moment, I had an AHA!

I gave my wife a ring to symbolize my love. The engagement ring isn't viewed as an object or possession for her to own; the ring is something she will keep forever and perhaps even pass on to our daughter. The ring represents and symbolizes what I feel.

I am not saying you should run out and buy rings for everyone in the office. Everyone has their own ideas of how to reward people for their efforts. Although money is not a bad thing to give, it's only temporary. Whether you give $100 or $10,000 as a reward, it will be spent and forgotten about. Take a look around your office and find where certificates of achievement are kept. Even plaques can become so ordinary they are often overlooked.

Last year, someone gave me a beautiful, framed copy of my book, insphired, with a special plaque. It was a thank you gift that I have hanging in my home. I will always cherish the gift and pass it on to my kids. That is the power of symbolism with rewards.

Think about different ways you can reward your people. You work hard to create memorable experiences for your customers, but little effort to create memorable experiences for your employees. Some people don't crave the corner office or special parking place. But everyone wants to know and feel that his or her efforts and contributions have been recognized.

Your challenge is to make 2007 the year of serving your employees. This will require observation into what is important to them and what they really desire. Help people feel appreciated and symbolize their hard work with something important to them.

Brian Parsley is a Certified Professional Behavior Analyst and a Human Capital Strategist who speaks to companies on sales, customer loyalty, and employee retention.

© 2007 All Rights Reserved - Don't even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Brian Parsley. 704/333-1112