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6 Easy tips to make your employees feel rewarded

Has your team been working hard for the past 12 months to reach both business and individual performance targets?

As an employer or team leader, many of us face the question of not only how to retain high performing staff, but how to recognise, appreciate, and engage them to continue kicking business goals.

Firstly, let’s delve deeper into the importance of making employees feel rewarded…

Insights from a recent survey (Blackhawk Network) indicate over 40% of the respondents’ employers do not recognise workers or offer an incentive/rewards program. Conversely, almost 90% of the employees surveyed said it is important for their employer to express appreciation for their contributions to the company. Employees also report desiring different incentives from those they are currently receiving.

Another researcher recently found that teams perform tasks better when their members believe that their colleagues respect and appreciate them (Geue PE. Positive Practices in the Workplace: Impact on Team Climate, Work Engagement, and Task Performance. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.)

Saying thank you does not need to break the bank, instead it should give people a meaningful sense of appreciation regardless of the price.

Below are some easy to implement ways of making your workplace feel appreciated, rewarded and engaged.

Say Thank you

Making an effort to celebrate employee achievements and milestones can go a long way in boosting morale and engagement. So much so that 70% of employees say that their motivation and morale would improve massively with managers simply saying thank you more (Reward Gateway study).

Recognising employee efforts and achievements through simple gestures such as feedback or saying ‘thank you’ lets an employee know that they are performing in their role and their efforts are appreciated.

Look After your Team

Couple the environmental elements of Winter on its way with the usual long hours that come with the end of financial year, a seasonal dip in staff morale, and an increase in sick leave, and it is no wonder that your workplace may be headed for burnout. Most experts believe that the lack of sunlight during the winter season throws off the body’s rhythm and leads to hormonal changes as well as a decrease in the production of serotonin, the chemical your brain produces when you have a lot of energy and are in a good mood (humanity, 2017).

Being proactive and covering off the basics like employee wellbeing can go a long way to making your team feel cared for and appreciated. This includes:

  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Eating well
  • Mindfulness
  • Mindset
  • Taking regular breaks

Practice Team Building

Another way to support your team and boost team recognition is to balance your fast paced environment with a celebration.

Team Building can be delivered in many different formats from face to face, virtual or hybrid depending on your current workplace circumstances.

It doesn’t need to be a complex project either; a simple Friday night trivia or daily Whatsapp group that drives engagement is enough to see your employees felling rewarded and engaged..

If you are looking to couple appreciation with reward with specific outcomes then a more structured option such as professionally facilitated team building event is an investment worth your while.

Promote Play

Little known Kiwi ‘Play Theorist’ Brian Sutton Smith once said ‘The opposite of play is not work; it is depression’. Make an effort to include ‘Play’ in your team environment every single day. Remember ‘Play’ doesn’t have to mean ‘mucking around’, it means having a light-hearted approach. Challenge your team to be creative with how to include Play in your business.

When you spend time socialising with your circle (in this case your work buddies), this leads to a dopamine reaction, which tells your brain it’s having fun (Kevon Owen, Licensed Professional Counselor). ‘Fun’ and ‘play’ is about incorporating tasks, processes and activities into the workplace that put smiles on the faces of staff, creates some laughter and generates a positive vibe.

Celebrate Occasions

In an informal way, get to know the wedding anniversaries, children’s birthdays, individual birthdays and other personal milestones of your team members.

Make an effort to acknowledge and celebrate these. Surprise them with a morning tea or a home delivered cake for those working remotely with instructions on what time to log on to a virtual party in their honour. It’s a small effort for the reward it will provide.

Encourage water cooler moments

It sounds too easy but merely hearing “Good morning” or “How are you?” can be as meaningful as formal recognition. Take time to say ‘hello’ to your team and create routines that encourage your team to share stories. I like to refer to this as the ‘water cooler moments.’ These are the unplanned moments shared with team mates where we engage in non-work-related chatter; it could be discussing what we did on the weekend or debriefing on the latest episode of the top reality tv program of the time.

You may be wondering how encouraging your team of employees to engage in mindless reality tv is beneficial to making your team feel appreciated?

Well far from being harmful to productivity, studies show that casual workplace conversation and no-pressure socialising actually leads to a multitude of benefits, including increased productivity and collaboration, the establishment of trust between employees, and strengthened team building and engagement (Dreamhost, 2020).

Teams that feel appreciated thrive on energetic relationships and connection, promote exceptional team work, empower and inspire one another to grow and enjoy coming to work. These wonderful benefits can all be enjoyed by a team with the right leadership, team mindset and tools to thrive.

If you would like more information on any of these strategies, you are most welcome to contact me or any of my team at Corporate Challenge Events.

We are focused on creating positive team cultures! We can provide further advice, or deliver a team building program or team building workshop to support your team to succeed.