When we mention the word, “reward”, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Money, right? Yes, we often believe that reward is synonymous with monetary benefit. But no, it is not. Most of the times, it is the unconventional rewards, i.e. the ones above and beyond money, that reflect proper recognition and appreciation of an employee’s true worth.
Speaking about unconventional ways, let’s discuss a few specifics. People consider things to be unconventional, when they do not practice it often, when someone moves out of the routine to explore things differently, or when the common industry practices are not complied with.
With this forethought, let’s walk through a few unconventional rewards to employees, that enhance their feeling of being valued and recognized. I have always felt that the following 5 things are the biggest rewards any employer can give to his employees. And at no cost to the employer. Extending the following rewards to employees optimizes value not just to the recipient here, but to the giver, the employer too. The said rewards are:
Valuing their time
Being courteous to them
Asking for their inputs
Appreciate in public
Making them feel home
VALUING THEIR TIME:
Time is the prime, rare fruit that tastes alike to every member of the organization, irrespective of hierarchy or place of responsibility. It can neither be bought nor fought about.
Going by the words of Steve Jobs “It is really clear that the most precious resources we all have is time”. But the problem today, is that we fail to accept or realize this. We are concerned about time management, how to utilize OUR time optimally, skipping the vital fact that our stakeholders are also quite an important part of our time.
The biggest recognition which you can give to your employees is acknowledging that they are a prime quotient of your time and their time is as important and valued as your own. Being punctual and available to the meetings you’ve agreed to attend, giving them the keys of access to their requisite time-off, etc. are small yet essential steps in valuing their time.
BEING COURTEOUS TO THEM:
There is this famous saying “A tree is known by its fruit, a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love”. I agree on the point that as we climb to the top of the organizational ladder, our responsibility to lead by example also elevates. Make your point well, delegate work efficiently, all the while, remembering to be courteous to those working alongside. It is by being courteous that good bosses have become great leaders.
Being courteous is as simple as rendering a genuine “thank you” for their efforts. As great people say, “Life’s biggest happiness is in the smallest of the things” and what is the smallest thing you can do? It is offering gestures of gratitude to your employees regularly. It makes them feel them recognized. It makes them feel valued. A simple THANK YOU can make miracles happen when it comes from the top man of the organization.
ASKING FOR THE INPUTS:
Research says that “Only 52% of employees feel they have a seat at the table, but those who feel they do, are 30% more likely to believe they influence important decisions at work”.
How can you make a person feel like they are owning something? How can you make a person more responsible? The answer is very simple. Make them realize that organization is not just valuing them, it is also valuing their input.
Going by words of Vincent Van Gogh “Great things are done by a series of small things brough together”. Many a times, the smallest idea given by your employee can lead to a striking solution for the organization’s most tedious problems. And how does it happen? It happens by involving them in the brain-storming and attributing sincere listening and importance to their inputs, equivalent to that of an expert’s. The real and the best experts of the organization are often our own employees.
APPRECIATE IN PUBLIC:
We have been brought up with an ideology of “What’s given by the left hand should not been known to the right hand”. However, in an organization, that’s not the way to go. It is understandable that a workspace involves exchange of criticism for failed efforts and praise for ones that win. The trick here is to tender criticism subtly and appreciation and applause loudly.
Everyone should know how valuable your employees are. So broadcast the recognition publicly: in town halls, beginning of meetings, in your company newsletter, emails, and other public communication vehicles. Use the Wall of Fame feature on your company’s recognition program to easily showcase when an employee is recognized. Not only will the recipient be delighted, but others will see what behaviors are important to the company and be inspired to do the same.
As the stats go, when recognition is not a priority, employees are 38% less likely to feel appreciated.
MAKING THEM FEEL HOME:
Once William Shakespeare said, “People usually are the happiest at home”, just think of the environment you can create for the employees to make them feel at home at the workplace. How can you do it? The answer is, by having regular get-togethers and outing, embracing the spirit of being on the same team, as one big family.
Emotion is the small thread which connects the mind and heart. We, as employers should find the knack of connecting this thread, and then, the jackpot strikes! Once employees feel at home, they realize that their emotions are also recognized.
I would like to conclude with a saying of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam “Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world”.
To every employer, or rather, to every person, righteousness means different things. It is up to each of us to perceive what is morally right and justifiable. In practice though, this sadly, does not hold true for the employees. Breaking traditions have become taboos. But, if keeping the well-being of employees in mind and rewarding their performances require these taboos to be broken, then that’s definitely what we all ought to be doing. Cheers to mindful recognition and unconventional rewards!