It’s Friday at 4:30 p.m. and the weekend is in sight. Appetizers and a cold drink are the only things on your mind when you get a call from your biggest client. They need the revisions by tomorrow at noon! Your heart sinks because you have to ask your team to stay. Reluctantly, you head to their offices. “I hate to ask, but can you do me a favor?”
Every CEO (we hope!) wants to build a company culture that is positive, hardworking and motivated. And hopefully, one where their employees are willing to occasionally stay late on a Friday to get the job done. However, fostering a culture like this can be hard to do amidst continuous deadlines and the day to day minutia. But we’ll let you in on a secret that can transform the culture of your workplace: recognition and rewards.
According to Gallup, a trusted research organization, only a third of U.S. workers feel that they received recognition or praise for doing good work within the past week. In fact, in any company, many people feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored. Understandably, this can be frustrating and leave many employees thinking, “what’s the point?” For many, especially the ever-growing number of millennials in the workforce, a regular paycheck is simply not enough to feel satisfied and valued at their place of work.
Does money make employees happy?
Most folks think that if they just made more money, they would be happier. That’s not necessarily true. Frederick Hertzberg, researcher and psychologist, studied what motivates people at work and developed what he calls the Two Factor Theory.
According to Hertzberg, there are two things that determine someone’s satisfaction at work. First are “hygiene factors,” and second are “motivators and satisfiers.” Hygiene factors refer to basic physical comforts and ease of access to necessary assets in the workplace. For example, if the technology is old, the internet is constantly going out, the AC keeps breaking down, or the work environment is hostile – no amount of Chipotle gift cards is going to make people happy at work. There needs to be a basic level of comfort and order established before people even consider working harder.
Motivation versus satisfaction
Once the hygiene factors are covered, motivators and satisfiers come into play. Motivators are things that make employees feel loyal to their jobs and make it easier for them to decide to stay late on a Friday night. Satisfiers are things that simply make people feel content with their jobs, and if those things are missing, it will make them unhappy.
Money is a satisfier. If you have enough to support yourself, you won’t necessarily be motivated to go above and beyond the call of duty, but you’ll probably be content. If someone offered you a million dollars to pick up trash off the side of the road, you’d do it, but you probably wouldn’t wake up and say, “I’m so excited I get to pick up trash today!” Money can make doing something easier, but it won’t necessarily make you happy about it.
So, what are the things that get your team to WANT to work harder? The answers lie in meaningful recognition from the right sources, and valuable rewards.
Source of recognition
Let’s say one of your employees is at work and gets an email from one of their colleagues to “Keep up the good work!” That employee would probably smile and think, “That’s cool.” Then, he or she would move on with their day, business as usual.
Contrast that with a phone call from the boss or the CEO saying, “I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much we appreciate the work you do around here.” Although both gestures are nice, the latter is definitely more meaningful.
In fact, as the Gallup research states, the most meaningful recognition comes from an employee’s manager, followed by a high-level leader or CEO. After that came the boss’s boss, a customer and then peers. Yet, almost 20 percent of people surveyed cited “other” as the source of their most memorable recognition.
This means that when you’re putting together a recognition program, it’s important to create systems where an individual receives positive feedback for work well done from many different sources.
Type of recognition programs
In additional to recognizing when your employees do good work, tangible rewards are a popular way to increase motivation and satisfaction.
So, what are the kinds of things you can do to reward employees? While it depends on the individual (some people would hate to be called out in a meeting, for example), here are some innovative and appealing things you can do to show your employees that you value them:
- Individual and group travel experiences
- Choice of gift cards
- Office perks
- Reserved parking spaces
- Tickets to local events
- Additional paid time off
The bottom line is that in order to keep your team happy and motivated, your company needs to develop a well-rounded program that takes into account individual preferences and corporate culture. So, when the occasional late Friday rolls around, you will have a motivated team with mutual respect to get the job done right.
At ESG Incentives, we pride ourselves on creating customized, highly motivating incentive programs of all sizes and formats. Whether you want to reward your top performers with a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience, or need a dynamic online rewards platform for your global employees, we’ve got you covered. Drop us a line to get started with our team of experts.