- The Importance Of Recognition
- How To Create A Recognition Program
- How To Give A Reward
- Motivation and Morale
- Motivating In Sports, Business, and Life
- How Motivation Effects Employee Retention
- Motivation's Effect on Performance and Productivity
- Corporate Logos and Symbols as Motivators
In the business world, a company that creates an environment where people are motivated, and where positive behavior is rewarded, is a company that will attract the best talent, maintain strong morale, retain key employees and ultimately stay ahead of its competition.
This same type of environment, rich in motivation and recognition, will achieve the same positive results on the ball field, in the classroom and even around the dinner table. The key to this basic premise is RECOGNITION. If you reward behavior, it will be repeated. If you ignore behavior, it will stop. This principle has been demonstrated over and over again, in both laboratory settings and in the real world. What is the reward? RECOGNITION. Studies have shown that if you recognize and appreciate your co-workers, two things will happen: stress, absenteeism, turnover (and their related costs) will decrease, while morale, productivity, competitiveness (and the associated profits) will increase. Likewise, in the classroom, positively reinforcing behavior through recognition, will lead to increased attentiveness, improved test scores and most importantly, a genuine interest in learning.
Despite popular belief, money isn’t the best way to recognize superior performance. In fact, research shows us that the number one reason people leave jobs is “limited recognition and praise.” Issues such as compensation were all deemed less important than recognition. Clearly, people value respect, appreciation and recognition just as much as — and often more than — monetary rewards.
An added benefit of recognition is that it affects more than just the individual being recognized. When a coach recognizes a player for improving their jump shot, not only does the player feel good about the recognition but the coach also celebrates in the joy of accomplishment and feeling of pride. When a manager recognizes a co-worker, sure, it inspires that person, but it also makes the manager feel good. Not just for performing the act of recognition, but for realizing the co-worker deserved to be recognized and he did something about it. It is an act of empowerment. Along the same lines, others on the team are likewise inspired, and they strive to be recognized and to recognize others. Clearly, recognition has quite the ripple effect.
How do you recognize your team members, your co-workers, your students or family members? Start small. Recognize individual achievement whenever you can. Or, you may choose to implement a more formal recognition program. The program can be tailored to suit any goal, from increasing points scored to improving corporate sales to bringing up the class grade point average. It’s a fairly simple process, and it doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money — remember, it’s the recognition itself that’s so important.
Appreciate the work people perform, respect them for it, recognize their accomplishments and provide rewards for repeating it. That’s the foundation for successful motivation.
Clearly, appreciation and recognition are two of the most important things people value in their jobs.
They are powerful motivators that lead to an increase in performance, productivity, morale, employee retention and, perhaps most significantly, overall satisfaction.
A recognition program is the best way for any company to provide employees with these "good vibrations." How you design and implement a program, however, will determine how successful it is. It must be carefully planned, consistent, and meaningful to employees and managers alike. Remember, your program's ultimate goal is to motivate those involved to reach higher levels of achievement, as well as provide for recognition among peers. Follow these tips to get the most out of your recognition program.
Step 1: Goals
First, determine the goals of your program. Ask yourself what it is you wish to accomplish. It may be sales, cost reduction, customer satisfaction, or promoting a new product. Ask for input from those around you. Make your goal simple and specific.
Step 2: Target
As you discuss your objectives, it should become clear exactly whom the program should target (warehouse personnel, salespeople, etc.); you may need overlapping programs for the different groups. Make sure your objectives are realistic and quantifiable. Colleagues must feel they can reach the targets you put before them, and their results will be evaluated fairly.
Step 3: Recognition & Awards
Now that you have carefully selected your goals for the recognition program, and you understand who will be participating, determine how and what kind of awards you will hand out. Will you give an award to just the top person, or will there be second and third places? You may want to consider "interim awards" to maintain inspiration for programs that run for long periods: every 25,000 units on the way up to 100,000, for example.
When selecting an award, keep in mind the power of personalization. Whether it's a crystal obelisk, a silver desk clock, a plaque, certificate or a small medal, it's important to have the person's name inscribed. It makes the award "feel official," the emotion to it last longer; it's permanent recognition. Personalization gives the recipient an opportunity to show it off, whether it's displayed on a desk, mantel or hung on the wall. Furthermore, every time the individual sees the award, with the company logo, his name and the recognition of achievement etched into the award, it will reinforce his relationship and commitment to the organization, himself and his peers.
Step 4: Communicate
Once you have the parameters of your recognition program mapped out, conduct a meeting with all involved to make sure they understand the program completely. Answer questions, and don't be afraid to make modifications in the plan upon hearing from the participants; you will further the feeling that everybody is "in" on the plan. When the program has been formalized, post it in a conspicuous place.
Step 5: Promotion
Okay, so now that you have the plan in place, promote it. Send reminders to participants, being sure to rally them to the cause, not threaten them with extinction if the goals are not met. At the end of the program, but before the awards are distributed, send congratulatory notes to all participants, celebrating their success. Make sure the letters are personal, with messages from top management recognizing their effort and contributions to the company.
Step 6: Distribution of Awards
When the awards are finally distributed, do it as lavishly as your means will allow. Whether you host a banquet at a restaurant or bring in donuts and coffee, the fanfare involved will make the awards all that more special. This positive feeling will extend from the actual award recipients to their peers and even to upper management. It is very satisfying.
Step 7: Evaluate
Now it's time to evaluate the program's results. Conduct a survey or hold meetings with all involved, focusing on the program itself, the goals, even the awards and "ceremony." Inquire if there were any snags along the way, and how they can be ironed out. Ask if the program reached the ultimate goals, met the participants' expectations, and if there were any unexpected fringe benefits. Sit down and analyze the feedback. And don't forget, get that next recognition program rolling. You can never have too many happy colleagues!
We all know how important awards and recognition are to people. But almost as important is the way the award is given.
If the purpose of the award is to recognize someone's achievement, to make him or her feel good about themselves and the work they do, it is only logical to make a "big deal" about the presentation of the award. Some fanfare. In other words, don't downplay it.
That doesn't mean, however, you have to stage the Emmy Awards. Create an atmosphere as lavish as your means allow. From an informal ceremony after the game to an elaborate banquet at a restaurant or donuts and coffee in the break room to an all company year end event, it's the fanfare involved that will make the awards all that more special.
For example, many companies give "Employee of the Month" awards, an excellent way to recognize outstanding achievement. But instead of standing up and announcing "so-and-so wins our Employee of the Month award," get your department together, bring in some lunch, and have a little ceremony. Invite the Boss. Explain what the employee did to deserve the award, how important the achievement was, and what it means to the company. Encourage colleagues to congratulate the recipient.
Whether your organization presents awards in a black-tie ceremony or you do the lunch thing, here are a few points to remember:
There are three elements common to every award presentation: the people getting the awards, the people giving the awards, and the awards themselves.
- Determine who attends the awards ceremony, who presents the award, and who receives the award. This is especially important in larger events, with multiple presenters and recipients.
- Develop an agenda, so things run smoothly. Limit your lunch fete to an hour-and-a-half, and clear your calendar so there are no interruptions. Big or small, every event runs better with a schedule.
- Finally, the small details are the most important. Nothing's worse than recognizing an "invaluable team member" and then mis-pronouncing his or her name. The point here is to make each and every recipient feel special, honored and respected. It is not out of place to discuss accomplishments, brief personal histories or complimentary anecdotes. And feel free to allow the recipient to say a few words, express some appreciation and thank those around them. In other words, let them bask in the glory.
- Research has shown that this interaction is vital to the "recognition factor." You have created a buzz surrounding the award and the recipient, a buzz that will be felt by everyone on the team.
Wouldn't it be great if people lived up to their full potential, and put their heart and soul into everything they did?
Imagine: You wouldn't have to ask your five-year old son more than once to pick up his toys. Your daughter would pay rapt attention to her teachers, all day, every day. Baseball players would run out every ground ball. Colleagues wouldn't call in sick unless it was a dire emergency, and your boss would thank you every day you worked late…in fact, he'd be right there with you.
Unfortunately, the world doesn't quite work that way. People often need a reason. They need motivation. And more often than not, coaches, managers, teachers and even parents need help in learning how to motivate those around them.
Motivation can be loosely defined as a drive to meet our needs. In the most primitive sense, if we are hungry, we eat; thirsty, we drink. It's an answer to the age-old question of "Why do we do what we do?"
These basic physical needs are simple to meet in today's world, however, once they are met, mankind turns toward meeting higher, less defined needs. On the ball field, in the workplace, in the classroom and at home we can ask ourselves "What makes us strive to work harder, produce better, and be satisfied with our accomplishments?"
There's an old joke: "If you tell someone what you'll give him for doing something, that's called incentive. If you tell someone to do something or else he'll get in trouble, that's called motivation." Fortunately, the use of coercion, fear and threat of punishment do not work well in sports, business or life; as we said, it's an old joke. Here at Abletrophies.com, we will show you how to motivate people to be the very best they can be. It's not necessarily simple, but it's easier than you may imagine.
For the uninitiated, an attitude is owned by one person; morale is the collection of a group of attitudes.
By improving individual attitudes, the overall morale improves. Not surprisingly, low morale leads to plenty of moaning and complaining and poor, or at the very best, mediocre performance. High morale lends itself to superior performance, greater effort, and improved concern about the health of the group and how to make it stronger. Now, which would you rather have on your team, in your company, in your classroom or at your home?
Okay, so the question is somewhat rhetorical. Even the most mundane jobs or chores and even a losing team can maintain a high level of morale through rewarding performance, showing appreciation and offering an incentive for people to do their very best. How? By keeping things fresh, challenging and somewhat pleasurable to do. Asking for input about improving performance, instead of merely handing down dictates. Communicate. Ask for feedback. Essentially, making people feel they are part of the process, that they are "in" on things, goes a long way to maintaining high morale. This communication is another way for them to feel recognized for their efforts, help them to feel that their opinion matters, that their thoughts and ideas are important.
Setting goals is an important part of any development plan. But setting goals that are vague - for example, improve sales, score more points, get better grades - make people feel disconnected. However, setting a goal that is quantifiable - improve sales to the Eastern district 15%, increase field goal percentage by 10%, improve GPA by 1 point over last semester - gives people a target, fosters an atmosphere that encourages participation, and makes the goal much more realistic to reach.
If you recognize and reward behavior, it will be repeated. If you ignore or punish behavior, it stops.
This principle has been demonstrated over and over again, in both laboratory settings and in the real world. Recognition, however, extends beyond monetary rewards and a pat on the back - although they are certainly appreciated!
In the workplace, studies have shown that if you recognize and appreciate your co-workers, two things will happen: stress, absenteeism, turnover (and their related costs) will decrease, while morale, productivity, competitiveness (and the associated profits) will increase. In sports, it has been said that motivation is what coaching is all about. Coaches who excel at their craft are successful motivating athletes by using recognition to reinforce skill development. In the earliest stages of learning, recognition through positive reinforcement has proven successful in preparing athletes to give optimal performance.
Despite popular belief, money and/or winning aren't the top motivator. Now don't get us wrong: very few people will work for a mere round of applause. Likewise, winning is important. However, it's quite clear that people value respect, appreciation, recognition and a sense of a job well done just as much as - and in many cases more than - monetary rewards or winning.
For example, the next time your child does something useful around the house, above and beyond what he is normally responsible for, don't just give him a little bump in the allowance. Do something special: give him tickets for a ball game; send him a card or a "Certificate of Appreciation." This is recognition: something intelligent companies, coaches and families give to get a superior effort, tribute a job well done.
Furthermore, recognition affects more than just the individual being recognized. When a manager recognizes a co-worker, sure, it inspires that person, but it also makes the manager feel good. Not just for performing the act of recognition, but for realizing the co-worker deserved to be recognized and he did something about it. It is an act of empowerment. Along the same lines, others who witness the act of recognition are likewise inspired, and they strive to be recognized and to recognize others. Clearly, recognition has quite the ripple effect. As a matter of fact, it's contagious!
Appreciate the effort put forth and the results achieved, respect people for it, recognize their accomplishments and provide rewards for repeating it. That is the foundation for successful motivation.
There is little doubt that the success or failure of a corporate culture can be traced to its ability to retain employees.
Not just the top people, or the best people, but the entire staff. People will not work at a company they do not like and respect, or that does not seem to respect them. When workers feel under appreciated at their job, they look for another one. And luring them back with more money does absolutely no good: now you are paying even more money for a person who doesn't want to work for you.
High employee turnover can be a death knell to any company. Not only must you go through the expense of filling the now vacant position, you must go through the added cost of the new employee getting up to speed in the new environment. Moreover, a high turnover rate tends to be contagious: as more people leave, more people leave. And your replacement costs skyrocket.
How can you increase employee retention? Studies have demonstrated that the number one reason for people to leave a job is "limited recognition and praise." Issues such as compensation, limited authority and interpersonal conflicts were all deemed less important than appreciation. But just recognizing and praising employees is not enough. You must do it consistently, sincerely and on a company-wide basis.
Most people appreciate being given the opportunity to do their job as they see fit. People closest to a job often have the firmest grip on how to get it done. Let them work out their own methodology, and develop their own solutions. Give them the flexibility to do things as they see fit, not as you see fit.
Most of all, give credit where credit is due. When you give co-workers the latitude to do things their own way, and they succeed, it will reflect positively on you. But allow it to reflect positively on them, as well. Recognize their contribution, and the influence on the company as a whole. Very few people will seek to leave a job that allows them to be proud of their accomplishments, and a company that is proud to have them on their team.
Giving employees opportunities to perform, learn and grow as a form of recognition is quite motivating. Beneath all this, however, is a basic premise of trust and respect. Your employees will feel it, and acknowledge that you have their best interests at heart, not your own. And who wants to leave that behind?
Every coach would like to see players perform better. Every company wants its workers to increase their productivity.
Every teacher strives to improve the grades of his or her students. In all aspects of life, those responsible for the performance of others want to see high achievement. Unfortunately, just wanting people to become more productive isn't enough. You need to provide the proper motivation, create an atmosphere conducive to an increase in productivity.
Too often, we're afraid to push for increased productivity. Perhaps we'll set the bar too high and the goals won't be met. We worry that this may lead to benching a player or letting go an employee. We also worry that an increase in resources may be required, or that the player or employee may become resentful, feeling that they are already working at their limit. Another fear is that their failure to achieve may be a reflection of our own performance.
To compensate, we rely on incentives and sometimes threats to produce a desired result. In corporate America, salary increases, stock options, even titles and promotions are offered. It is assumed that if the right "carrots" are dangled, employees will produce the desired result. In sports, we may threaten with an extra hard practice or the embarrassment of losing in order to "motivate" players to produce.
So how can we increase productivity? Take small steps, and build upon the foundation for larger steps. Plan your success carefully, and adhere to the plan. Avoid taking a massive plunge towards improvement; it is a recipe for failure. Following are some steps anyone can take to increase its productivity.
- Most importantly, select a goal. Make it an urgent problem. Ask for input, and make sure everyone understand why this goal needs to be set. Listen to those around you, but don't resign your authority in the matter.
- Take your goal and narrow it down to one or two specific, quantifiable ones. Not only does a broad-based target become overwhelming and intimidating, but also people will have a better understanding what they are aiming for. This process will communicate a minimum expectation of results.
- Now that you have "nominated" a goal, you must communicate expectations clearly and concisely to those around you. The individuals responsible for achieving the goal must understand the timetable, constraints, determination and responsibility of the goal, and that this is not a goal that should be met, but one that must be met.
- Now that you have set the project in motion, stand back. This is not your project, you have handed it off to those responsible for it. Certainly, you should monitor the project, but delegate the responsibility. Require a written plan of steps to be taken to reach the goal and how progress will be measured. Other than that, stay out of it. The more you meddle, the more responsibility for meeting the goals will roll uphill. How often do you see a coach take the field and play the game? In sports, business and life, we must step back and allow the players to execute the plan.
- Now extend the process. A little success can go a long way…when an initial goal is reached, repeat the process on another related goal. And so on. Remember, progress is contagious. Once it begins, everyone wants in.
- Clearly, the strategy for obtaining an improvement in performance begins with a focus on one or two goals. There is no limit to the pace or scope of improvement. Because people enjoy the feeling of being challenged, they will respond positively to the higher demands. Before you know it, productivity is on the rise.
In order to ensure that productivity continues to improve, you must positively reinforce goal achievement throughout the process.
For example, if an employee does a good job, let him know you noticed it. But then go an extra step, and write a letter to your boss, extolling the virtues of your employee's performance, show him the letter and put it into his personnel file. You can be sure the individual will feel as if his performance was truly appreciated.
Ever heard of the All-Star Game? You probably thought of Major League Baseball immediately, but almost every sport, at levels from pee-wee to semi-pro, puts on an all-star game. Why? Recognition among coaches and peers. The very best, recognized for their achievements and efforts.
Many companies give "Employee of the Month" awards, and they are an excellent way to recognize outstanding achievement. But think about how the award is given. For example, don't just stand up and announce, "so-and-so wins our Employee of the Month award." Explain what the employee did to deserve the award, and encourage colleagues to congratulate the recipient. In short, create a little fanfare. Research has shown that this interaction with management and peers is often more important than winning the award itself. Create a moment the employee will remember, and co-workers will understand why the award was won and how they can win the award in the future. You have created a buzz surrounding the award and the recipient, a buzz that will be felt throughout the company.
Recognizing performance and creating a mission for people go along way in improving performance. The most effective goals are those people believe they can achieve if they plan and execute properly. Now you will see a marked increase in effort, which will translate into an increase in performance.
Things like consulting them on decisions, giving them the flexibility to do their job as they see fit, and recognizing their contribution to the team gets people emotionally involved with the organization. Yet there's another great tool you can use to get a workforce involved with their company, to make them proud to be a part of the team, and it's something you undoubtedly see every day. Care to guess?
It's your corporate logo. Employees love their company's logo. They love it on tote bags and t-shirts, pens and paperweights. And they especially like to see the logo on any award they are given. It makes the award look and feel much more "official."
Compare it to the ball player who says how proud he is "to wear the Yankee pinstripes," or how you feel every time you see the name or emblem of your alma mater. That logo, that symbol, reminds you that you are part of a community, that you belong, and have similar goals, interests or experiences as others. So it goes for your company and corporate logo.
Which is why experts recommend putting your company logo on everything you use for recognition. Not just corporate awards, but also your promotional items. Sure, your company gets added exposure, but people love displaying, wearing and showing-off a logo. It's a well-known fact that your logo may just be the most powerful marketing tool your company owns.
Here are some great places to use items imprinted with your company's logo:
- Any time you meet new clients or customers.
- Any time you introduce new products or services.
- As employee incentives and rewards.
- Souvenirs of company events, like parties, picnics and awards ceremonies.
- Upon graduation from an employee training program.
- Any time your company appears at a trade show.
- When you sponsor or take part in a fundraiser.
- As a reward or thank-you gift to customers who purchase your products.
- To celebrate new store or office openings.
That's just a start. Any time you can make others feel part of your team, your company will reap the rewards. Need more proof? Walk through your local mall, and see how many people pay to wear another company's logo: from Ralph's polo pony to the Hermes "H" to a big "G-A-P" across the front of a sweatshirt. You're giving away your logo as thanks, as appreciation for a job well-done. They're going to love you!
Never let an opportunity to create a sense of belonging and affiliation to your company pass you by, both inside and outside your organization. Give people this point of strength, and they will respond with a sincere effort, improved morale and renewed vigor.