Managing people is all about bringing out their best. In the past, that might have come by way of fear, but science and experience taught us that people respond much better to positive than negative reinforcement.
Many great employees exist, and losing them should be your greatest fear as a manager. So to keep those retention numbers high, show your employees they're appreciated. You might do it in high-profile ways like holding team building events, but you can also get a great response using small gestures of kindness.
Write Handwritten Notes
Even though it takes about the same amount of time as sending a thumbs-up on the office communicator, or maybe a few seconds more, writing someone a personal note goes a long way. It shows you thought of them and calls out a specific trait or action they took that earned positive reinforcement.
Gamify Certain Tasks
This trend is taking the industry by storm. Since so many companies now use systems that visualize employee performance on a dashboard, you can make the work week into a friendly competition by showing people where their colleagues are in reference to their performance. Give special awards to the person who stays at the top for the week, month or quarter. You can also give badges out for special achievements and skills.
Offer Food Incentives
Everyone loves to eat, right? Bringing in a bunch of pizzas on a Friday is sure to help with team morale, or perhaps you can throw a potluck and invite everyone to bring in a sample of their finest cooking. If you'd like to take things up a notch, you can arrange to cook for them. Make it into an event, tell the team they're getting breakfast served by the management team on Monday and cook up a bunch of eggs and bacon. They'll love you for it. Or to keep it simple, take them out for coffee every Monday for a month.
Give Out Awards
Whether it's a certificate in a nice frame or a shout-out to the whole department at the next event (or preferably both), your best employees deserve to receive recognition, and awards are a great way to do that. Some popular things to recognize are the length of time spent with the company, outstanding achievements like a major sale or certification, and in very special cases you can appoint an employee of the quarter or employee of the month.
Pair this up a nice gift certificate, some free time off or a trip to lunch with the team at a place of their choosing. Employees will work harder knowing they might get recognized. In the right setting, you can turn this into a competition and watch everyone's productivity go up, as many sales teams do. Speaking of competition...
Send Them to Events
The opportunity to attend an industry seminar or workshop is something that will inform an employee's career development and offer a fun experience. It's a two-for-one special in employee appreciation.
Ultimately, your employees are the life of your company. Without them, things fall apart. With their help, everyone wins. Motivating them is the best way to guarantee a successful future for everyone. You know they deserve some recognition and now you have some ideas about how to give that to them. They will love you for it.
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