One of the keys to long-term success is having a stable, settled team around you. Whether you are part of a huge globe-straddling conglomerate or a small family operation, creating an environment where you can attract and retain good people is likely to translate into better relationships with your suppliers, more productive interactions with other teams and happier customers.
Having the right staff reward structure is likely to help you in the battle to attract and retain the best talent in your industry, but what sort of reward is going to attract high performing individuals and keep them motivated to continually challenge themselves?
Here are a few techniques you might consider to recognise exceptional work amongst your team.
In an ideal world, you could develop and retain a market leading team simply by paying more than anyone else. At the start of the financial year, each member of your team comes into a meeting with you and receives an inflation busting pay rise that puts a massive smile on their face. Simple.
In reality it’s an approach that has as many weaknesses as strengths. Complacency, the inability to reward truly exceptional performance and grumpy finance directors are just three. Cash isn’t always king, so consider alternatives to the traditional pay rise such as quarterly performance-related bonuses and non-cash incentives.
A good diet is key to a positive attitude. According to nutritionists and many experts spending time away from your desk can be good for productivity, so why not provide discounted staff meals, free fruit in the office and perhaps table-football as a way of engendering strong team bonds and regular breaks?
Remember that everyone’s different. Some people don’t like fruit and some others may not think table-football is a good way to spend time away from the desk. At the same time, cafeterias take up space in the office, and space costs money. So it’s vital to survey your audience prior to implementing any new break away initiative, to gauge interest and perceived value.
Saying thank you is one of the simplest ways of building morale and developing team spirit, and is almost guaranteed not to vex a finance director, given that companies who practice recognition well typically only spend 1-2% of payroll on a formalised scheme.
Good manners should be a default, not something that’s relied on to incentivise a team and yet it remains a key reason employees leave an organisation. Simple, regular and meaningful recognition of achievements from managers and colleagues is something which should be encouraged at every level.
Gifts are great, but it’s a challenge to pick the right one. It’s a sad reality that most of us only get the right gifts for our girlfriends, boyfriends or partners one time out of three, so what hope do we have of picking something that our colleagues genuinely want?
As a leader, you could spend time agonising about the right celebratory reward, but you’ve probably got better things to be getting on with! So consider empowering your employees with the option to select their own reward – just be sure to maximise the presentation and communication if you opt for a multi-redemption option.
What could be a better way of incentivising your team than giving them an opportunity to let off steam, whilst strengthening team bonds, away from the constraints of the office?
This comes back to a regular problem with staff rewards: everyone’s different. Some people love paintballing, some people love opera, some people love both. How do you find something that gets everybody exited enough to see it as a treat?
Away days are often not really perceived as an incentive, but for employers taking time out of the office can be a great way to recharge batteries whilst ensuring team harmony.
Extra time-off is a good way to incentivise people, but it can be complicated to implement fairly if continually given in lieu, whereby some members of staff could start to watch the clock and note down every two minutes they do above and beyond their allotted hours.
There’s also a challenge for team members with families that need to have a regular structure to work around child care and it can be complicated to manage just the basic time-off allowance.
So why not consider incentive reward payments in the form of additional annual leave instead?
Ultimately, different rewards incentivise different team members. Using a flexible staff reward scheme that lets different people select how they wish to redeem their gift is likely to be the best way to motivate people in the long term.
A formalised online approach is popular among many organisations as this provides clear direction to employees, improves communication, is simple to quantify (keeping your finance director happy) and lets team members make their own decisions about how they want to enjoy their reward.