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?Employee Recognition on a Small Budget Today, employees place a very high level of importance on being "connected" to their organizations. A large part of their expectations relate to recognition and rewards for good work and a job well done. In fact, survey after survey indicate that being connected and appreciated by the organization they work for are the top priorities for many employees, even regarded more important than compensation. In many companies throughout the 1980's and 1990's when budgets were unrestricted, recognition and rewards was simply a matter of a fat annual bonus or a trip to the Bahamas for the top performers of the organization. Rewards like this are of course, too expensive for most companies that face rising operating costs and razor thin profit margins in today's hypercompetitive market. Today, let's talk about how the smaller retailer can recognize and reward employees without high expenses. Firstly, limit cash rewards to annual performance reviews by way of a bonus plan. The bonus plan should be directly linked to the financial performance of the store. Develop a rewards program for your store that frequently recognizes good work and solid contributions with simplicity as the focal point. Consider these ideas as you develop your program: Offer job enrichment and higher responsibilities Create a bulletin board in the staff area where messages of praise can be posted for all team members to see Offer some prizes on a quarterly basis for the most consistent contributor above their basic responsibilities. Prizes should ideally be something that an employee can share with a spouse or friend. Then both can share and enjoy the reward. A dinner for two, tickets to the theatre or a ball game are good examples of simple rewards that can be shared. Preferred time of or time off with pay. Consider giving a paid day off before or after a long weekend and give the employee a mini holiday, 4 days off straight. For multi-location companies a newsletter is a great place to inform everyone of a job well done by superlative employees between locations. Consider creating an Employee of the Month reward with a preferred parking spot or similar reward. Create special reward pins for top performers that can be worn with pride. Offer additional training either in house or formal educational training for those that have delivered stellar performance. Create a clear path of career opportunities for top performers and recognize good work through promotions. All companies should strive to promote from within at least two thirds of the time opportunities arise. Employees that work within a culture that sees the opportunities to receive an internal promotion will be more loyal and strive for excellence in performance. These reward strategies cost little but go a long way in motivating employees to strive for excellence and remain loyal to the company long after an annual cash bonus is forgotten. ? Take Action Today Develop a modest budget for a rewards and recognition program. Create rewards and the criteria for receiving them. Your criteria should be objective and fair for everyone. Announce the rewards program to the organization and explain the criteria to everyone. Discuss and deliver rewards on a regular basis. Even small rewards can be announced and issued weekly. Make recognition and rewards part of your organization's culture. Make major rewards activities that can be shared by a spouse or friend of the employee.
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