Archive for the 'Recognition' Category

Money as a Motivator: Miracle or Misfire?

I hear time and again from managers everywhere how “My employees are only motivated by money.” When I ask how they know, the usual reply is “When I ask what motivates them, they always say ‘Well, a raise would be nice.’”

While people SAY they are motivated by money, study after study on employee recognition and engagement have proven that employees ARE motivated by money — for the short term. What motivates them for the long haul is usually something else — and that something else differs from employee to employee.

A recent article titled What Motivates employees? It’s not just the money in The Globe describes this “something else” in handing_moneydetail

More facts about cash rewards:

According to The Carrot Principle:

  • A reward of less than $1,000 never makes the best rewards because it is so easily forgotten
  • One third of the employees to whom you give a cash award will use that money to pay bills
  • One in five employees won’t have any clue in a few months where they spent that money or even how much they received

Two other problems with cash are that it is limited and strictly controlled. Depending on an employee’s position and duties, some employees have little opportunity for variation or bonuses.

Conversely, when employees are given something useful and tangible — something usable and valuable — the chances are high that they will still own it and can picture the award in their mind.

So, how do you know what rewards employees REALLY want from their job?  It’s not an easy answer.

Some employees want more challenging work assignments. Some want flextime. Some want to be cross-trained. Some want time to volunteer in the community. Some want extra work hours. Some want to attend management meetings. Some want to develop their presentation skills. And the list goes on and on.

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Get to know your employees — their hobbies, whether they’re married or not, do they like dogs or cats, what’s their favorite kind of food, and so on.
  2. Meet with your employees, one-on-one, on a regular basis — at least once a month. This not only allows you to nip performance problems in the bud, but it shows to the employee that you care about them as a human being.  (Studies have shown that the number one reason people quit their job is they have a poor relationship with their immediate supervisor.)
  3. Realize that motivators change. What motivated someone last year may or may not work this year — especially if life circumstances change. For example, when an employee was single, what motivated her was flextime so she could spend more time at the beach. However, when she married, her motivation was to work more regular hours so she could spend quality time in the evening with her husband. That employee is now pregnant. Do you think her motivator might be changing soon?

Remember: Money is a short-term motivator.  Learning about your employees can help you to reward them with longer-term and changing motivators.

What motivates you? Please share in the comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

Five Reasons Managers DON’T Give Recognition

In last week’s post, we covered the essentials for effective recognition of others.

In this week’s post, we’ll discuss some of the most common objections for giving employee recognition. (This information was gleaned from the book The Carrot Principle by Arian Gostick and Chester Elton.)

Objection #1: “If I recognize some people, others will become jealous?” or “I don’t want to play favorites.”The%20Carrot%20Principle

Strategy to Turn it Around: You can avoid this negative attitude toward recognition by practicing it frequently and aligning it with your company’s core values. Of course, if you’ve never recognized anyone in the past, and you start doing it right out of the blue, your team members will be skeptical about your motives. However, over time — and if you remain consistent — your staff will come to appreciate, accept, and look forward to even the smallest act of recognition.

Objection #2: “Why do I have to recognize people when they’re just doing their jobs?”

Strategy to Turn it Around:: Always remember the universal human need to matter. The authors of The Carrot Principle state that “recognition gives employees the extra push to do their jobs just a little bit better.” So, when you recognize team members, specifically for behaving in an extraordinary way within their daily job, they become an example to other employees and are encouraged to continue with their great performance.

Objection #3:  “I don’t have time to recognize anyone.”

Strategy to Turn it Around:: You don’t have time NOT to recognize others. Recognition leads to a more engaged staff and higher productivity. According to research revealed in The Carrot Principle, effective managers spend between 1 and 2 hours per week on recognition-related tasks.

Objection #4: “If someone is a non-performer in one area, I don’t want to recognize him in another area.”

Strategy to Turn it Around: Why not? If someone is doing a great job, they must be recognized for it. Of course, the compliment must be kept separate from the negative feedback. Remember: behavior that is rewarded is repeated. So don’t use the reward of some as the punishment for others.

Objection #5: “If I recognize good behavior frequently, people will expect more recognition in the future.”

Strategy to Turn it Around: True. When employees are recognized, they are engaged. When they are engaged, they are more productive and deliver better service. Why wouldn’t we want to keep up with these benefits?

Remember: Everyone wants to matter. And Recognition is the best way to show people that they indeed do matter. Just make sure your recognition is frequent, specific, timely, and public. These variables enable people to feel valued, and they are more likely to be engaged and productive. Pretty good reasons, wouldn’t you agree?

What objections have you encountered when trying to recognize others, and how have you resolved them? Please share your stories in the comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

Not all Thank You’s are created equal

I’ve recently been asked by several clients to deliver presentations to their organizations on the power of appreciation. It appears that companies are starting to realize more and more that a little appreciation can help to engage, RECOGNIZE, and encourage employees to perform better on the job. So, I’ve been teaching these organizations that the recognition of others must be a viable and consistent strategy incorporated by everyone – starting at the very top of the organizational ladder.

Why is appreciation so powerful? It’s due to the very simple and universal fact that every human being — appreciation can make a day even change a life copy[1]whether we are striving as an individual or as part of a team — wants to matter. It’s that simple. And it’s true regardless of generational, cultural, and socio-economical differences. People want to matter at home and at work, and appreciation is how we communicate this important fact of recognition.

If you’ve ever seen the television series Undercover Boss, you would know that at the end of almost every episode, at least one employee says, with tears in his eyes, “I’m so happy to be finally recognized.” Such statements sadden me because appreciation is such a powerful and easy way to recognize others. Yet, small acts of recognition are very under-utilized.

The power of appreciation begins with a simple thank you. However, not all Thank You’s are created equal. Following are some tips to put real meaning back into your appreciation of others.

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Be specific – link specific behavior with the value or goal you want to promote. For example, if you want to promote teamwork, you could say, “Thank you, Bob, for helping Ann yesterday afternoon with her project. That’s exactly what we mean when we talk about teamwork.” Instead of being vague like, “Thanks, Bob. You’re great!”
  2. Be timely – you should recognize and deliver praise (appreciation) within 24 hours of noticing specific behavior. The longer you delay, the faster your appreciation loses its impact. Studies have shown that employees need and want recognition every seven days.
  3. Be public – deliver your praise (appreciation) in public in order to effectively promote desired behaviors. Some of your employees may “claim” not to like public recognition. However, if it’s delivered specifically and is brief, its impact can be monumental. AND it communicates to your other employees that certain behaviors will result in favorable recognition.
  4. Be consistent – Don’t just focus on the superstars. Even your middle performers are doing something worthy of recognition and appreciation. So take the time to recognize everyone.

Remember: Employees want to matter, so it’s our job to use the power of appreciation to make sure our team members know it and feel it.

When was the last time someone in your organization showed you appreciation that made you feel like you mattered? When was the last time YOU showed appreciation of others? Please share your comments below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments. (Next week, I’ll discuss common reasons leaders do NOT recognize their employees and what to do about it.)

Top Five Ways to Ruin Praise

Most people know that praise and recognition are good for business. It  improves employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and business profitability.  But do most people know by how much? According to The Carrot Principle companies that recognize employees see a 3 times increase in profitability than companies that do not. One company, Avis Rental car, saw a 10 times increase in profits after implementing a recognition program. In addition, the book states that a 5% increase in employee loyalty can increase profits 50%. However, 88% of employees cite “lack of acknowledgment” as their top work issue.

Why the discrepancy?  Let’s examine the top 5 surefire ways to ruin praise (and strategies that turn it around!)

1. Combining praise with criticism.
Negative Ned says “You did such a great job on that project, BUT you still have a lot to learn.”
Here’s the problem with that statement: everything before “but” is forgotten and all the person hears is the criticism.

Strategy: Positive Paul says “Separate the praise from the criticism – do them at different times.”

2. Be generic.
For example, simply saying “Good job” is a vague statement and is sure to leave them wondering if they are really being appreciated.

Strategy: Be Specific – include dates, times, quotations – whatever details you have, use them. For example, “Judy, thank you so much for turning your report in two days early. Because you did that, I was able to send it to the customer early and we just saved 10%. Way to go Judy!” Can you see the difference?

3. Do it once a year.
Negative Ned thinks “Let’s just wait until the yearly award banquet to recognize our employees that will motivate them, right?” The problem is that when we don’t praise as close to the action as possible, the praise loses the impact – for the employee.

Strategy: Positive Paul tell us that according to Gallup Research, and as stated The Carrot Principle, most people need to receive some form of recognition every SEVEN days! Of course, you don’t have to give a BMW every day, but the praise does need to be specific. A simple thank you card goes a long way.

4. Praise in private
Negative Ned saysJust send them a quick email and get on with your day.”

Strategy:  Positive Paul says “Most people thrive on public recognition. Here are at least three benefits:
1. It makes the receiving employee feel valued and important.
2. Others learn what behaviors get rewarded and are more likely to copy that behavior – creating a ripple effect.
3. It builds trust between the manager and employee and amongst team members.”

5. Joke around about it.
Negative Ned’s philosophy:  Practical jokes builds rapport. So, it’s ok to say “Hey everyone, let’s give John a round of applause – he didn’t screw up this week!”

Strategy: Positive Paul’s philosophy: Praise and recognition are serious actions and require a professional and serious tone. To make sure your praise is effective, be genuine, prepared and professional.

So, you see, these steps are simple, yet effective. Now go out there and start praising people.

(Wondering about Negative Ned and Positive Paul? Find out more by clicking this link.)

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