Creative ways to reward employees
By Sean Neumayer
Our January column on the importance of taking care of your bare bones staff during these difficult economic times triggered plenty of interesting questions from readers. Space limitations allow me to print only a few:
Q Tangible rewards are great but I also like to motivate workers by coaching them in order to ensure their ongoing success on the job. How can I offer constructive input without demoralizing people, especially given the low breaking point from the stress we’re all feeling now?
A Know the personalities of your staff! Everyone has a different level of tolerance of others’ critiques and opinions. Some are highly sensitive and apt to fall apart if their performances are viewed as anything less than perfect. These individuals need very tactful, gentle and discreet feedback. Assume the role of a caring mentor rather than a fault finder. Emphasize positives!
Others might be more open to their critics, realizing that any negative comments are meant to promote growth—not destroy confidence. Still, they may exhibit resentment, perhaps some defensiveness. Offer these individuals many options instead of simply dictating to them. Allow them some say in determining an alternative course of action if they seem to be struggling or there’s room for improvement.
Q I can’t afford much in the way of tangible perks for my staff, but I want them to know how much I appreciate their efforts and loyalty. Any suggestions?
A There are lots of ways to say “thanks,” and the only costs incurred will be a bit of your time and energy. First, find out what really inspires each of your workers, then set them up to receive more of it. For example, some may appreciate your clarity in thoughts and words. Offer to communicate more frequently and be more specific when speaking. Don’t be vague. The trick is to know which management tactic makes each worker most inspired—and then provide it.
Perks and benefits don’t need to be expensive to be appreciated.
Q What’s the ultimate perk in the eyes of young workers today?
A These days? A satisfying, long-term, fair-paying, secure job with medical benefits! *
Sean Neumayer has been a consultant with the Omnia Group for more than 10 years, helping agencies in several facets of selection, management, and retention of key employees. He also speaks to insurance groups regarding best practices. His contact information is (800) 525-7117, Ext. 1242.