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Have rewards become too routine at your workplace? Have they lost meaning? In this short course, join author Todd Dewett in discussing the three principles of effectively rewarding employees: making sure rewards are earned, unique, and timely. Find out what happened to the CEO who learned a hard lesson about giving rewards that mean something to his team.
As a group, the people in this story understood what it means to earn a reward, though they still didn't really get the need to be timely and unique. But once Mike showed huge respect by giving them control over this one program, they embraced the effort like never before. Just to be clear, I'm not telling you to get on a roof and throw anything, but I'll bet you you can think of some version of the ham story that you can use in your organization. I want you to grab a couple trusted peers and something to write with. Sit down and start talking.
Name all major awards and recognition ceremonies in the last 12 months. Next to each one answer these questions and be brutally honest. Was it truly earned? Rule of thumb, if over half the office has received a particular award over time, it's not rare and it's not having a positive impact. Was it unique? Did the award itself beyond the use of words indicate the unique achievement being recognized? It should. Was it timely? If the award is given at some regularly scheduled ceremony, that's okay, but use this rule.
Keep ceremonies simple and focused on only the biggest accomplishments. The rest can become real-time thank yous and awards given on the spot or close to it which you can later share electronically with the larger organization. Keep the ceremonies focused and special not bloated with a million awards. Finally, did the employees have meaningful control over some or all of the process? It can be as simple as having one award among the several you hand out during the year created and delivered by the employees.
Give them ownership and watch them engage. Too often we thoughtlessly hand out things to say thank you. I want you to start being more thoughtful. Give your recognition and reward efforts serious impact. Make them really earn it. Create unique rewards for unique people. Deliver them in a timely fashion, and just like Mike learned in that story find a few pockets where you can let go and give the employees a little control. Both research and common sense tell us that when you give them that type of freedom employees espouse the righteousness of the work more, persevere longer in the face of challenges and, in general, make more creative decisions.
Oh, by the way, it's free.
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