According to Terry Phillips, vice president of Robert Half International in Akron, frequent recognition of accomplishments is the most effective nonmonetary means for motivating staff. And that leads to greater job satisfaction and, of course, greater employee retention.
Smart Business spoke with Phillips about what company leaders need to realize about motivating employees, and what they can do to make sure their staff is adequately recognized for their accomplishments.
What were the results of Accountemps’ latest survey on what motivates workers?
The survey found that the majority of workers (35 percent) and executives (30 percent) polled agree that frequent recognition of accomplishments is the most effective nonmonetary means for motivating staff. Employees want to know that their efforts make a difference and that their input is valued. Workers and executives also both cited regular communication (30 percent for executives, 20 percent for employees) as the second most effective nonmonetary means for motivating staff. Both of these issues play a major role in the retention of skilled staff.
How much is too much when it comes to seeking recognition? Shouldn’t people be happy with having a job to go to and getting a regular paycheck?
Having a job and a salary are important but working with managers and colleagues who appreciate what you do can help you be more productive, more satisfied and more motivated to excel at work. And that benefits everyone.
I’m not advising that employees seek a pat on the back every day and for every project, but when a team pulls together to meet a tough deadline or complete a big project, those efforts should be recognized.
What should managers do to recognize the accomplishments of their staff?
There are several ways managers can recognize the achievements of their staff, including: offering verbal praise during team and/or company meetings, sending a written (e-mail or on paper) ‘thank you’ note or mentioning accomplishments in the company newsletter.
How can companies/managers increase the level of communication among their staff?
Encourage employees to motivate each other. If your entire team is involved and rooting for each other, a truly dynamic, supportive workplace is created.
Create a sense of community. Find ways to foster the ‘all for one and one for all’ approach to day-to-day operations. Go to lunch together. Help employees appreciate one another and the job that each person does.
Brainstorm. Schedule the occasional brainstorming session to help solve any challenges facing your team. By doing so, you’ll tell employees that you’re all in this together and that one person isn’t responsible for solving all the problems.
Provide mentors. By pairing veterans with early-stage professionals, you’ll accomplish three things: first, you’ll send a message to new employees that you care enough about their future with the company to take steps to ensure their success. Second, you’ll recognize current staff members for things they do well. Finally, you’ll create an environment where people take pride in helping others and everyone feels free to rely on one another’s assistance.
Are there times when staff should recognize their managers?
Absolutely. When significant work milestones are achieved or when complex projects are completed successfully, those in supervisory or executive roles deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments. In these situations, it’s often best to coordinate with others in the department and team so that all appropriate individuals are aware and engaged in the intention to recognize the manager.
What may be holding managers back?
One issue may be time. The pace of business is always accelerating, and today’s executives and managers sometimes work off-site. This can make timely recognition a challenge.
Another factor may be money. Some managers are accustomed to expressing their thanks through monetary rewards, but many may be working under tighter budget constraints.
Also, don’t limit recognition to predictable dates or occasions, such as once a quarter or at the conclusion of major projects. Rewarding employees as often as they deserve it will continue to build a positive work environment.
TERRY PHILLIPS is vice president of Robert Half International in Akron. Robert Half is a specialized staffing firm headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif. Reach Phillips at (330) 253-8367.