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Six Ways to Celebrate and Reward Employees

Bayt.com, Contributor, Mar 20 2017

Studies have shown over and over that employees who feel valued, recognized and appreciated are the most loyal to their companies. An environment where driven, career-minded professionals earn the rewards and recognition they deserve is one that will be most successful in retaining top talent over the long-term.

But loyalty and retention are not the only things enhanced by rewards and recognition; employees who are acknowledged and celebrated regularly are more likely to maintain the desirable level of motivation and productivity as well.

This means that formal mechanisms for evaluating and rewarding employees need to be in place so that managers identify, recognize, and reward outstanding performance on a regular basis.

Companies can get very creative in devising ways to recognize and reward their employees, for creative thinking, outstanding performance, innovation, team efforts, loyalty to the company, and other values and achievements that are important to the organization. There is a plethora of options for any budget or any company size.

Here are seven easy options you can choose from to reward your employees for their hard work:

1. Flexibility
If your employees always go above and beyond to deliver their work, never miss a deadline, and are constantly taking on tasks beyond their assigned responsibility, rewarding them with freedom and flexibility is an excellent way of recognizing their efforts.

Whether you use flex-time, an extended lunch hour, or even the opportunity to telecommute every once in a while, these options are highly favorable nowadays. If their job does not require their physical presence, you could even give them the freedom to work remotely as they please and as long as they’re consistently producing and delivering outstanding work. Another option is to offer extended vacation time. Providing employees with a few extra days of paid vacation can really enhance their performance.

Flexibility for employees encourages continuous high-level work and shows them that all the effort they put into the success of the company does not go unnoticed. Happy and relaxed employees generally produce better work.

2. Acknowledge Publicly
A simple word of recognition for a job well-done can do wonders for an employee’s morale. You should always praise and thank your top performers privately, making them feel valued and recognized. But every once in a while, go a step further and acknowledge their efforts and their successes publicly. An email copying senior management can go a long way in boosting their confidence.

You can start off the next team meeting by praising your employees’ hard work and applauding them for their efforts. You can place a large personalized thank you sign with in the lobby or entrance to the office. As a company, you can also hold quarterly award events to recognize top achievers.

Public recognition not only signifies support from you, as their immediate manager, but also shows support and respect from the team, and the organization as a whole.

3. Offer Opportunities
Top performers and motivated employees love having the chance to learn, grow and develop their skills. Giving new challenges and responsibilities to employees who are capable, signifies your trust in their skills and abilities.  

You can give them more challenging responsibilities, assign them a new project, or offer to send them to training courses, seminars, and conferences. You can offer them the opportunity to be part of a different team for a day, to learn more about different functions at the company, and develop their own skills. Employees who perform well consistently and have exceptional achievements can also be considered for promotions.

4. Bring on the Games
Gamification is an innovative and easy way to reward multiple employees all at once. A friendly in-office competition is fun and fosters engagement within your teams, taking employees away from the regular routine and daily grind. The rewards themselves can be absolutely anything, as simple as a trophy or a certificate of appreciation from the CEO, to a movie ticket, or a gift card from to their favorite store.

For example, at Bayt.com, one project manager took it upon himself to develop and design an internal sales gamification platform that telecasts sales targets and achievements across all our offices in the region. Data is automatically pulled from the system, and now we reward inputs (such as meetings) and outputs (sales) of sales teams, individuals, and offices as a whole. This increased levels of engagement and motivation at our offices, as well as employee enthusiasm to innovate and always come up with ways to be a step ahead of everyone else.

5. Food. Food. Food.
You could always reward your top-performers with a free lunch, a themed lunch event at work, or a gift card to their favorite restaurant. You could even turn it into a team event, making sure you mention that you and your team are going out for lunch to celebrate a specific person’s excellent performance during the month. This is a sure way to acknowledge your top performer, while still also rewarding your team for their efforts in general. This will also give them a little relaxation time and help in building stronger relationships among the team.

6. VIP Treatment
Pick a day of the month when one of your employees is treated like a CEO. Give them the best parking spot. If you have a nice corner office with a view, and your employee sits at a cubicle, switch offices with them for a day. Offer them a free gym membership. Give them the opportunity to make a decision for the entire office, such as “potluck day,” “casual dress day,” or “bring your children to work day.” You can also give them the chance to have lunch or coffee with the company’s CEO.

There are so many different ways to reward your employees, and sometimes the most spontaneous and creative ones, that may be completely irrelevant to work, are the best! As long as you listen to your employees, and understand what they like and what they don’t, you can make your rewards personalized and highly appreciated.

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