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  • Writer's pictureMandy Diamond

R&R - The Silver Bullet to Motivating & Engaging Your Team

R&R - two terms that get thrown around a lot in all organizations. However not many organizations manage to actually excel in these areas. Why? Well, because many organizations think that R&R is expensive and takes a lot of time away from productivity. In fact, the opposite is true. If R&R is done right it not only increases productivity but it will well exceed it's cost through the returns to the team and the company. And by the way, I am not referring to Rest and Relaxation, although this too is important for team productivity, but that is a whole other blog post in and of itself. I am referring to Reward and Recognition.

How an organization rewards and recognizes their staff sends a very clear message about how much the organization values them. It also sets the tone for the company culture and staff engagement within the organization. Yet, in my experience, it consistently achieves the lowest score in the engagement surveys of the organizations I have worked with is. In fact, According to McKinsey and Company, 65% of respondents cited not "feeling valued" or "insufficient recognition or reward" for leaving previous employer (War for Talent, 2000).

Many companies justify these low ratings by saying that times are tough and there just isn't enough money to go around for large bonuses. After all, isn't it reward and recognition all about the money? Well for some it may very well be and obviously none of us would turn down some extra cash but believe it or not, it is not the driving force for a majority of employees. There is a lot of research that has been conducted in this area and the findings support this notion of non-monetary reward and recognition being far more effective in employee engagement and retention. "Recent studies conducted by the business Research Lab (Hauppauge, N.Y.) have shown that the correlation between the length of time people intend to stay with their current employers and "soft" factors - like recognition given for work well done or pride in the employer - is more statistically significant than the longevity/monetary reward correlation" (BCP Handbook).

So what would these non-monetary rewards comprise of? Some examples of this are:

  • A personal or group email from the manager thanking the employee for their effort

  • An additional day off

  • An early mark

  • A public presentation of recognition amongst the team

  • A team activity

  • A weekly destress meeting which focuses on something other than work

  • Promotions based on performance

Reward and Recognition does not need to cost a whole lot of money. It can be done quickly and simply and be just as effective, if not more effective, than something with all the shiny trimmings. The key thing for all managers to remember, though, is each team member is different. Individuals are motivated by different things. While one team member would be thrilled to be publicly recognized in front of his/her peers, another team member may be utterly mortified.

So in Summary, the keys to successful reward and recognition are quite simple and I am going to break it down into 3 easy steps.

  1. Make sure that reward and recognition is an active element of the culture of the organization. No excuses - Even if the organization is strapped for cash. There are other less expensive ways to recognize the efforts of your staff.

  2. Get to know your staff. What motivates them? What do they value? There is no one size fits all when it comes to reward and recognition

  3. Make a list of non-monetary rewards. Don't allow things like 'approval from senior management' to delay the recognition of a team member. Get creative and think outside of the box. Perhaps even involve your team members in creating this list. If you have a long list of non-monetary rewards you will never need to wait for anyone else's approval to recognize a positive outcome or attitude. Create a culture amongst your team that calls out good work. Peer initiated recognition is just as powerful, if not more powerful, as recognition from management.

So perhaps it really IS that simple. What have you done to recognize your team members today? What will you do differently tomorrow?

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