Rewarding employees doesn’t have to be costly, but require your attention and time to make it meaningful to employees.

There is a lot of talk about rewarding employees; however, I see little action. How do you reward employees? Do you consider it a priority? If you are willing to focus attention on this topic instead of completing an analysis for the CEO, meeting with a customer or the like, then it is an obvious priority. How obvious is it to your organization?

Rewards don’t have to be costly. The best require time. Some ideas to reward employees include:

  • Catch people doing right: Provide immediate positive feedback. Look for opportunities to find people who are doing a good job. It is easier to find those who aren’t. Have you spent time specifically looking for those who are “doing right”?
  • Say thank you: As easy as this is to do, it is rarely done. Take the time to say thank you. Be specific with your thank you. And, of course, be genuine. It goes without saying but I’ve seen it more than once. People will know if you truly appreciate what they’ve done or not.
  • Publicize wins: I worked with a Director of Supply Chain who was excellent at publicizing wins. She sought out wins and made sure they were written up in the company newsletter. She found pictures, wrote paragraphs and made sure wins were publicized. They were noticed!
  • Hand out small rewards at a company lunch: Movie tickets or dinner gift certificates can go a long way. Small tokens of recognition can convey the importance of employee’s actions. Many take them home with them and their family can enjoy in the reward.
  • Recognize employees with meaningful work: One of the best rewards is to be included in meaningful work. Include your best performers in interesting projects. Don’t bury them in problems because you know they’ll get them done. Give their work meaning, and they’ll thrive.

There are countless ways to reward employees. Start with these ideas, add a few of your own and get started. You don’t have to have a complete list to start. The most important item to success is to tailor your rewards to what will be meaningful to each employee.