Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Using rewards and recognition, part of Managing Virtual Teams.
Imagine you are painting your living room and you want some help. What would you do to motivate your friends to come over and give you a hand? You'd likely do something to show you appreciated their support. As a manager, rewards and recognition can be a great tool to demonstrate your appreciation. Here are a few tips on when to use rewards, how to use them, and how you can try and better fit the rewards to your employee's personal value system. Let's begin with when to use rewards and recognition.
The timing depends on what you're intending the reward to do or support. Here are a couple of examples. If you notice the energy of the team is low and you want to give them a boost, you can organize a shared-meal meeting, encouraging each employee to have lunch or other food appropriate to their time zone. Pay for the food if you can. Have no agenda at all at the meeting. Or if you do have an agenda, keep it light and just make it more of a chat.
Just as you would if you gathered in your local breakroom for just that, a break. Second idea, if one or more of your employees went above and beyond what the job required, you can reward and recognize them by sending a hand-written letter and/or a small gift certificate. This is an effective way to help your employees stay motivated and know you appreciate them. A quick side note, under-appreciation is a primary factor leading to burnout.
Having people on your team who are functioning in burnout mode can negatively impact many things, including the quality of work and the level of productivity on your team. If you want your living room painted, and painted well, you might need to buy pizza and wings to inspire your friends to help you. Next, let's talk about how to use the pizza and wings concept with your remote team members. I recommend breaking rewards into two categories, planned and unplanned.
Here is a personal example of a planned reward from a client I worked with. On the contract that this company had every employee sign, written explicitly was the requirement that you take your birthday as a holiday, and it was a paid day off. From the start, employees working for this company felt recognized and rewarded just for being born. Whether you have the power to grant this or not, you often can arrange tasks to help your employee enjoy a more relaxed day on their birthday.
Here is an example of an unplanned reward. Let's say you have a potential new client, and winning it would be huge for your team and your company. You can attach an incentive reward to winning a client. OK guys, if we get this client, we each will get a dinner for two at a restaurant of your choice. Giving the team something to look forward to can be a way to motivate. Keep morale high and produce results. Lastly, let's talk about how to align the rewards with your employee's personal set of values.
You can do this by getting to know your employees in ways I've suggested earlier in the course. You wouldn't want to send a bottle of wine to an employee who doesn't drink alcohol. What you might want to do is send your Atlanta Braves baseball fans tickets to a game. That might be the perfect reward for that employee. Well placed, non-expensive rewards and recognition could mean that when you are done with your living room and decide to paint your bedroom, you will have twice the volunteers, and a motivated team can mean better quality and better results.
Discover how to build rapport, set mutual expectations, communicate, connect, overcome conflict, get work done, and grow the team. Also included is a look at the top five challenges managers face in leading remote teams and helpful solutions that will get your team on track.
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