Tag Archives: Recognition and reward

Riding on the crest of a wave

Celebrate successI was hooked.

And had far too many late nights.

I simply loved the Olympics.

Can you believe it? – 67 medals.

Brilliant. Well done Team GB!

Did you notice the euphoria as people realised their success? Did you see the pride on the athletes’ faces as they stepped up onto the podium and receive their medal?

And did you notice how much of a buzz it created whenever a team or individual won a medal? Not just in that discipline, but how it sent a ripple around the entire team.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could emulate just a fraction of that pride, enthusiasm and momentum within our businesses?

The Team GB success was not a fluke. We know there was lottery funding for many of the sports, and although this obviously helped our success would not have happened without the hard work, determination and sheer commitment from our athletes, coaches and their entire supporting team. How much did our success in 2012 contribute? Riding on the wave of success of the London Olympics created a huge boost of confidence. Look how many of the athletes went on to defend their Olympic titles, and in 13 cases retained them too.

What lessons we can learn from this success to apply to business as a morale boost for our team so apply some of that energy to our businesses and pass on some of that enthusiasm to our customers.

Here are my 10 ideas to take away…

1. Having a benchmark

When Usain Bolt runs the 100 metres he knows exactly where the finishing line is. When Jessica Ennis Hill or Nick Skelton are competing in the heptathlon or show jumping they both know exactly how the scoring works in their respective events so they have a measurement of how well they’re doing at any one point in the competition.

It’s the same in your business. Unless you know what success looks like it’s going to be very difficult for you (and your team) to know when they’ve done a good job.

 

2. Awards

For those with a competitive spirit awards, competitions, even a simple league table can add an extra dimensional to that benchmark: External awards are a great way to give recognition for the whole team. Keep your eye out for awards which are relevant to your business or your market. In the same way that just making the Olympic team is a big deal, just being nominated for an award is a great booster.

League tables might mean focusing on a different theme each month so that everyone has the opportunity to be recognised for their particular skills and strengths. Just as long as it’s relevant to your definition of success.

 

3. Celebrate success

Of course Team GB was celebrating. Celebration helps to reward those who have been successful. So when your team performs well the least you should do is help them celebrate.

It’s an opportunity to demonstrate you value a job well done. However small their success, do or say something to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements. Not only does it show them you care, but it sends a message to others to reinforce what best practice looks like and helps spread the message to encourage more of the same.

Be sure to recognise all departments, including back of house staff, or those in non-customer facing roles. They all have their part to play.

 

4. Feedback

None of our athletes could perfect their skills without constant feedback. One tiny adjustment can make the difference between a gold and silver. As we saw in the men’s Taekwondo just one second can be the difference between jubilation and heart break

Build confidence by providing positive feedback and recognition. But give constructive feedback too when it’s needed to develop, refine and perfect people’s performance, whilst offering support and encouragement to make the necessary adjustments.

 

5. Learn from mistakes

In some of the preliminary rounds we saw athletes making mistakes. The important thing is they learnt from them and put things right before the final event. Foster a supportive culture where people can learn from their mistakes, rather than be blamed.

Recognise when these improvements have been made even if things are not yet perfect!

Encourage everyone to come forward with their own areas of improvement and how they will achieve these. Many of your team will spot opportunities so show them you value their suggestions and ideas, and be prepared to act on them.

 

6. It’s not about the money

There’s a perception that everyone is motivated by money. Do you think it’s money that drives those athletes?

In the workplace there’s no doubt money can be a contributor, but it has very limiting and short term affects as a motivator. However, when you get it wrong by messing up their overtime or deny them the pay rise they were promised it will certainly act as a demotivator for even the most loyal and committed members of your team.

 

7. What’s their gold medal equivalent?

Of course in the Olympics we know that gold medal is always the focus, at least for those who know they are in with a chance.

Recognise though that within your team not everyone values or is interested in the same things. Whilst some love the sense of achievement, others favour doing their bit for others. Some love to have their say, whilst others are happiest when they’re learning or being stretched.

 

8. Rewards

And if you feel it has to be a tangible reward focus on something – however small – that means something to the individual. It doesn’t have to cost the earth; just a token. Something that’s been handpicked for them will always have more of an impact than the equivalent in monetary terms.

Become aware of what hobbies and interests your employees have. Then when you are out and about and see something that has to do with that particular interest, pick it up for them.

Give people the occasional treat. No need to be a lavish; look at ways to reward that create a win-win.

For some people a little free time could be the most valuable gesture you can give them as a reward.

 

9. Thank you

When interviewed most of our medal winners made a point of thanking the rest of their team.

The simplest thing you can do with your team is to say thank you. A genuine heartfelt thank you and well done to recognise and acknowledge a team member’s good performance, achievement or a job well-done might be all that is all they need for them to feel encouraged.

Not just as a routine passing comment, go out of your way to thank individuals when you spot them doing something where they’ve made an extra effort. Bring the team together at the end of a hectic day, busy shift or demanding project when everybody has pulled their weight to make sure everything went smoothly.

When you are genuine in your appreciation, and choose it for the right moment, it can work wonders. A simple but honest appreciative remark can go a very long way.

If you are going to praise an individual, don’t just leave it until you are on your own with them. Find an opportunity when they are with their colleagues, and your praise will create a buzz! Make sure it’s genuine and specific for the task carried out.

 

10. Continue to grow

Most of our Olympians will be continuing to work on their technique and keep themselves in peak condition for their next competition and some of them even looking as far ahead as Tokyo 2020 to do even better or retain their Olympic title.

Even those retiring from competition sport will be thinking of ways they can contribute and support the sport, particularly encouraging youngsters coming through the ranks.

So when any of our team members have had great success this isn’t an excuse for them to sit back on their laurels or to stagnate.

Utilise and capitalise on people’s strengths. Give some control and ownership, or let them share their expertise by coaching or supporting others.

 

So while we’re all still riding high from the success of the Olympics ask yourself what can you be doing in your business to recognise those who excel and emulate that same sense of pride we’ve been seeing over the last 2 weeks.

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Five easy ways to reward your team

……..and bring a smile to their face, that won’t cost you a fortune in bonuses or incentives.

People are often referred to as a business’s most valued asset and in experience-based businesses more than any your team can make or break the customers’ experience.  They are certainly also one of your biggest overheads. Are you unwittingly de-motivating them by treating them as just another disposable asset?

Keeping your team inspired and engaged can be challenging. But a demotivated team can lead to poor performance, poor customer service, poor attendance and ultimately to losing not only your best people, but also losing your valued customers.

So how do you show your team members that they are valued and what incentives can you give that show that you appreciate them without costing the Earth.

 

Before you do anything…

 

Start by finding out what’s important to them. Not everyone is motivated by the same things. In fact I can recall with one clients recently when they’d wanted to reward someone for going the extra mile with their customers they nominated this employee as employee of the month. Now you and I might think that this person would be pleased to be nominated; but, oh no, he didn’t like it one bit. So much so he actually put in a grievance against his line manager! Now I know this might be a bit extreme, but we should never assume what our team would like and what’s important to them.

 

1. Say thank you

The simplest thing you can do is to say thank you. Recognise and reward good performance, achievements and a job well-done. For many, that is all they need to feel encouraged.

Yes, they work for pay, but it always helps to know that their work is recognised. Not just as a routine passing comment, go out of your way to thank individuals when you spot them doing something that will delight your customers. Bring the team together at the end of a hectic day or hectic shift when everybody has pulled their weight to make sure everything goes smoothly.

If you are genuine in your appreciation, and choose it for the right moment, it can work wonders. A simple but honest appreciative remark can go a very long way.

Give feedback; what have they done well and how it has contributed; and don’t be reluctant to demonstrate where they have fallen short and how this can be improved. It all adds up to being even better next time around (as long as you’re not nit picking, of course).

Celebrate and share successes. And if you are going to praise, don’t just leave it till you are on your own with the employee. Find an opportunity when they are with their colleagues, and your praise will create a buzz! Make sure it’s genuine and specific for the task carried out, or the person might be seen by their colleagues as ‘teacher’s pet’.

Become aware of what hobbies and interests your employees have. Then when you are out and about and see something that has to do with that particular interest, pick it up for them. Coming into the business and saying  “I really appreciate what you do, and I got this for you as a small token of my appreciation”,  will make them feel they are recognised for a great job. It doesn’t have to cost the earth; just a token. But the thought it evokes will make a real difference.

 

2. A treat

Give people the occasional treat. It doesn’t have to be a lavish incentive;  look at ways to reward that create a win-win: maybe a stay or a visit to a sister business or somewhere where they will be on the receiving end of outstanding service and are motivated to bring back more ideas that can be implemented in your business.

When your team have worked long or unsociable hours that had an impact on their personal life, extend the treat to be shared with their loved one. This not only makes your team member feel good but shows your appreciation of the support given by their friends and family and paves the way for future good deeds.

 

3. Time Off

For some people free time could be the most valuable gift you could give them.

Allowing flexibility to go home early, come in late, or take an additional day off to attend to a personal matter or just have a bit of fun can work wonders to their state of mind.

 

4. Prizes

For those with a competitive spirit: Awards, competitions, even a league table. This might mean focusing on a different theme each month so that everyone has the opportunity to recognise their particular skills and strengths.

External awards are a great way to give recognition for the whole team. Keep your eye out for awards which are relevant to your business or your market. Just being nominated for awards is a great booster. I remember when I worked in the corporate world and took over responsibility for sales training. Our new sales director was so impressed with what I had achieved he put me forward for the Institute of Marketing Sales Trainer of the year award. I didn’t win but I was one of the finalists, which gave me a great boost, and an opportunity to invite my colleagues along to the awards dinner which was great for my profile and for the business.

 

5. Development opportunities

We so often think of development as solely grooming somebody for promotion. This might be one intention or outcome but even when we know that a member of our team has probably reached their peak, that doesn’t mean to say that we just let them stagnate.

Development should have the intention of making people the best they can be at their jobs. Identify and utilise people’s strengths, providing further development when needed to bring out the best in these areas. Delegate and give some control and ownership, such as making people champions for specific areas. This gives them pride in what they do and they will appreciate that you’ve recognised where they do a good job, providing of course you’re careful not to overburden or just dump these tasks on them.

Grow from within where possible, and give people the opportunity for career progression as well as enhancing skills to do their existing job. Think also about life skills; for example offering English lessons for migrant workers.

You may not be able to accommodate everyone’s aspirations particularly if you’re a small business, but having some kind of succession plan in place that gives people something to work towards. However, take time to discuss people’s aspirations; don’t just assume that if someone shows potential that they want more responsibility or to be groomed into a specific position. And be careful not to make promises on career moves that you’re unable to keep.

 

So by doing a little bit of homework and a little bit of creativity there are plenty of ways you can recognise and reward your team to show them some love and bring a smile to my face which they’re sure to pass on to your customers.

 

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