Business magazines and business schools have proposed that money cannot be the only motivator for employee excellence. The thrill of the paycheck quickly wanes after it’s used to pay bills or buy that fancy new (fill in the blank). Motivators that are more enduring for employees include a feeling that they are contributing, and valued — thus creating a sense of self-worth. As we introduced last week, in our staff deep dive blog, these positive feelings translate into better employee outlook and performance on the job.
Turnover & Job Satisfaction
Intrinsic motivators are important, especially in our industry. But, that is not to say that compensation and benefits do not matter. They do. An organization must remain competitive in the market to retain employees. Even if employees are happy in their job, a large discrepancy between salary and benefits at competing organizations may cause them to take their skills elsewhere. And if you have been encouraging career growth, guess what? They just took those newly acquired skills with them, too.
Organizations should watch for trends in departments such as an increased turnover rate or the resignation of long-term employees. This could indicate a noncompetitive compensation and/or benefits for that department. Or it could indicate management issues that run even deeper — and are harder to resolve, an issue to be addressed in our final blog of this month.
The Rewards of Recognition
Let’s assume the extrinsic rewards, usually financial, for satisfying employees are met. What’s our next step to motivate them? It’s the less discernable, intrinsic rewards: staff recognition and appreciation.
Unfortunately, if we do not establish and engage in a deliberate program that encourages a healthy atmosphere of recognition and appreciation, the recognition often doesn’t occur at all, it wavers, or is granted to a few choice employees.Here are a few ideas for establishing a meaningful and lasting recognition program:
- Catchy tokens of appreciation (that can be exchanged for meaningful items (free lunch, t-shirts, coffee mugs). Poll the staff to determine what meaningful
awards are to them, examples:
- Caught You Being Exemplary
- Staff Hero
- Heart Award
- Caught You Being Exemplary
- Employee of the Month Award — voted on by peers
- Employee of the Year Award —monthly award winners reviewed by administration
In particular, front-line employees may have repetitive daily tasks to accomplish each day and may fail to see their relevance in the overall success of the organization.Additionally, these task-intensive jobs often leave little room to express any creativity. Systems should be established to encourage employee- to-employee recognition. In particular, managers should be encouraged, if not required, to do the following:
- Write thank-you notes to individual staff members emphasizing a particular contribution he/she makes to the organization’s success.
- Use the organization-sponsored rewards system often.
- Ask staff monthly or quarterly for their input and ideas on what can be done better.
- Ask staff what they need to be more productive.
- Create a mentor program among staff for new-hires.
- Arrange for project managers to present to upper management on how they feel their team contributes to overall success.
Recognizing your staff with monetary compensation coupled with an intentional strategy to encourage their feelings of self-worth, as an individual and employee, is instrumental in creating a positive atmosphere. And, it creates a staff enrichment culture that leads to greater satisfaction levels among employees and those we serve.
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