After the layoffs: creative strategies for rewarding employees

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Print this page Genevieve Roberts, Titan Group

In this crazy economic landscape, It’s hard to think about keeping your stuff motivated. Your employees are burdened with the workload from employees who are no longer there while managers’ budgets to provide raises, incentives or bonuses are continually cut.  What can managers do to encourage, reward and retain employees?  I have provided a list of some ideas that cost little to nothing.  And these are ideas that managers can and should implement anytime not just when times are tough.

• Praise often; personally congratulate your associates for doing a good job.
• Write a personalized handwritten thank you note.
• Hold occasional meetings simply for the purpose of celebrating success.
• Provide public recognition for associate performance.
• Give credit/recognition for an associate’s idea or suggestion.
• Write a congratulatory memo to your associate and copy his/her boss.
• Create and use “certificates of recognition” to reward creativity.
• Develop a department “award” that can be passed spontaneously from one department member to another to celebrate intra-departmental collaboration.
• Present the associate with a framed photo of him/her receiving recognition and/or arrange for a senior executive to present the recognition.
• Reward like the Wizard of Oz — give a medal, a heart, to keep fun in the workplace.
• Read aloud client/member letters of appreciation at staff meetings.
• Arrange lunch for the associate with a senior level mentor.
• Keep a treasure chest of inexpensive gifts and let the associate choose a reward.
• Invite your staff to your home for lunch or dinner.
• Purchase inexpensive gift cards to Starbucks, Target, Wawa, MacDonald’s, etc. for instant rewards.
• Work your associate’s job for half an hour.
• Take your associate as your guest to a professional group meeting.
• Sponsor an occasional coffee break with your staff for informal communication and relationship building.
• Grant an extended lunch break.
• Arrange for personal services — bring the mobile carwash or dry cleaner service providers on site for services.
• Send a note of thanks and/or flowers to your associate’s spouse or significant other for their patience after a “crunch” time.
• Have impromptu fun — stage a Nerf basketball game, bubble blowing contest, or juggling contest.
• During the holidays, give everyone a two-hour shopping lunch; hold a show and tell afterwards to help boost everyone’s gift-giving creativity.
• Arrange a mentor for your associate.
• Meet with your associate on a regular basis for no other reason than to maintain your relationship and stay up to date on their job and their professional/personal goals.
• Provide on-the-job enrichment either through a new task assignment, a committee role, or a task force opportunity.
• Decorate your associate’s desk/cube/office for their birthday.
• Volunteer with your associate at a charity event that is meaningful to them.
• Create a “wall of fame” and post complimentary correspondence from clients/members.

If you would like to read about more ideas like these check out “Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em,” by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans and “1001 Ways to Reward Employees,” by Bob Nelson.  With a little thought and planning you can help your staff through tough times and begin practicing reward activities that will help make your staff appreciated for a long time.

Genevieve Roberts is managing principal of Richmond-based Titan Group LLC and can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .

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