Wednesday, September 15, 2004

business: rewards

One of the things I brought to my management style as a businessman is the importance of rewarding employees for a job well done.

I do not subscribe to notion of having a formal program (apart from the requisite evaluations for the purpose of determining raises or promotions). I'd rather have smaller, more informal gestures.

I don't think "jelly bean" rewards (where everyone gets the same reward or incentive) is a good idea as it doesn't motivate the real go-getters much, since there is no variety.

Instead, I believe in the personal touch. A pat on the back, immediate praise when I see great work or effort, a short note via email saying "thank you", springing for lunch or taking the staff out for a fun outing at an amusement park - these are more my style. And, of course, higher pay at the appropriate time.

I believe in rewarding people not for simply being at work, but in motivating them to continue doing excellent work. Reinforce good work behavior and reward the results.

I experienced much of these from one of my previous places of employment, and the aggragate result made me want to to do my best. Recognition for work done (whether it was a months-long project or something I whipped up in an hour) made me feel good about myself, built up my confidence and bolstered my sense of worth and importance to the company.

In the workplace, personal spontaneous praise often trumps the potential cash benefits. For some private praise is fine, for others, a compliment from the boss in public is the cat's meow.

Recently, I peered over my newest designer's shoulders and was wowed by the quality of her work - and I told her so. And our client agreed.

If you have a business and want to try something along this line, try this:

1. Call people in and tell them you're going to let them know how they're doing.

2. Smile and genuinely praise them immediately.

3. Tell them, in specific terms, what they did right.

4. Tell them how happy what they did right makes you feel, and how it helps the business.

5. Encourage them to do more of the same.


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