Revitalizing Rewards & Recognition
Terry Braverman and Company

Revitalizing Rewards & Recognition

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “People work for money but go the extra mile for

rewards and recognition.” – Dale Carnegie

The art of keeping employees engaged and feeling appreciated requires both variety and customization, whether for an individual or a team. 

One time I was hired for soft skills training and morale boosting of bank tellers. They were having a difficult time dealing with rude customers, and looked like a group of doleful-eyed, droopy-eared Beagles in need of a nourishing bowl of food. I told them there is nothing they could do about their customers’ attitudes until they shifted their own attitude from one of frustration to fun. Like Beagles that just heard an eerie sound, their heads collectively turned sideways.

At the end of their workday on a Friday, I asked them to gather around in a circle and reveal their worst customer of the week experience to the branch managers and me. The sharing provoked wild howls of laughter! The managers and I then conferred a reward to the teller with the best “Worst Customer of the Week” story: A customer reportedly took out a can of underarm deodorant from her handbag and sprayed the teller’s window, screaming, “This place stinks!” The teller’s reward was a gift certificate to a fine restaurant. The following Friday, it was a bottle of champagne (which proved to be quite popular).

The tellers felt supported for enduring difficult customer situations, and morale skyrocketed. Now they were seeking out the rude customers: “Excuse me, sir, you look like you may be having a tough day…come forward. I’ll help you out.” With this unexpected response, rude customers suddenly became more civil. The good will snowballed as customers were telling their family, friends and work associates about the unusual attentiveness they were receiving at their bank.

As a result, the bank experienced a surprising jump in new customers. It was a win-win-win situation. Enduring a cranky customer is something that anyone in customer service can relate to; being rewarded for it is a great way to show appreciation.

Some other thoughts from HR professionals on the subject of rewards and recognition:

“Chocolate can make you high for a short time - but its no substitute for ongoing health, happiness, and well being. I do agree that the occasional celebration, or recognition has some merit. However, attention to the daily rigor of Management By Walkabout, talking to everyone, listening, and acting on feedback is more important to the ongoing morale of the team.” – Dr. Gary S.

“When leading a very young HR team I realized the generational gap in recognition expectations. After casual conversations it was made clear that what mattered most was time-off. After checking our organizational rules I discovered I could allow periods of time off so I created on-the-spot recognition certificates that awarded "Report to Work one hour late", "Start Your Weekend Early", "Take a 2-Hour Lunch". These were more popular than plaques, trophies, or parties.“ – James F.

“Last winter with all of the snow days and cold weather, we surprised everyone with a flower on their desk and a note saying we were closing the office early and heading to a local botanical/greenhouse so everyone could enjoy a "Touch of Spring", just let everyone appreciate that winter was almost over and Spring was near. People LOVED it! This got them out of the rut of nasty weather and gave everyone a chance to breathe in beautiful colors and fresh air. Knowing your audience and what will entice the majority of people is a lot of how our decisions are made.” - Courtney R.

“Our Small Team LOVES games and small rewards. If a manager wants their team to hit a certain sales or shipping target, adding in a ‘if your team reaches this target you will get an extra lieu (time off) hour’ always works and creates the friendly competition among the staff. It's nice to be in a smaller company that's not so corporate. – Stephanie D.

“I posed this question to my class (mostly 30 some-things continuing their education) yesterday, the over whelming response was a little extra (PTO) time off.” - Robert L.

“I think you'll find your BEST ideas (i.e. most appreciated) come from the workforce itself.” – Ivette D.






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