Monday, June 03, 2013

Classic Marketing Book Review - 1001 Ways to Reward Employees

Cover of "1001 Ways to Reward Employees"
Cover of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees

Motivating Employees Is About Way More than How Much You Pay Them

One of my favorite parts of business is building up employees.  I love the challenge of finding a "young" gem who is willing to learn and develop, then helping them to become all that they can be.  In my lifetime I have had the privilege, and it is truly that, of being that mentor hundreds of times. 

I learned early on that money can motivate, but that most folks are working for a bunch of reasons that have little to do with whether they are getting $20 or $22 an hour.  Some are working for money.  No doubt.  Some for benefits.  But most are working to feel a sense of accomplishment, belonging, respect, trust, progress. 

One way that employees can feel really fantastic about themselves is through rewards, praise, and public recognition.  "1001 Ways to Reward Employees" by Bob Nelson, is a great reference book to help you consider low cost or free ways to build your people up.  You can spend 20 or 30 minutes just skipping around through the text and you'll be stimulated to come up with your own variations.  It is like brainstorming, but with a book instead of a room full of people.  

The ideas have been gleaned from 100's of interviews conducted with owners and managers of businesses, large and small.  Many won't apply to your situation at all.  Others will have you slapping your forehead wondering why you didn't already think of that. 

Years ago, I implemented an Employee of the Month program with a traveling trophy.  The employees voted, and the winner had a name plaque added to the trophy stand.  The winner also got to take the trophy home and keep it for the month, showing it off to his family and friends.  The result was stunning.  There was energy in the air for many months. 

Like anything else, that idea petered out.  We then gave managers company bucks.  They were able to dispense $5, $10, $20 to employees that they saw doing a great job, over and above, being a servant, or exhibiting initiative.  These company bucks could be exchanged for real items in a catalog we received for an advertising specialty company. 

Those were just two of dozens of methods we used over the years with line and staff.  Of course, sales people are another breed altogether when it comes to promotions, but I've covered that elsewhere. 

This book has been in print for 20 years, which might mean it is a hit.  Buy one for your desk.  Then use it often. 
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