10 ways to reward high-performing employees and teams

Grow Your Business Jun 23, 2017

You know the contagious energy you feel around an employee who is driven to succeed or a team that is working together like a well-oiled machine? You watch them crush goals, exceed expectations and earn high praise. How do you keep that sort of fire burning? And, if you are observing the opposite and need to light a fire for a team that’s not as motivated, what will get them moving in the right direction?

Everyone needs acknowledgement now and again so they know their contributions are worthwhile. This may come in the form of words — spoken or written — to praise someone’s efforts. Or you may choose to congratulate someone on a job well done in one of these more tangible ways:

1.         Make it Casual
If your professional work team has been burning the midnight oil, or if they are approaching the home stretch on a project, consider offering a casual dress day.

2.         Skip Out for Summer Sun
Watch weekday productivity soar when you offer half days once a month or give employees Fridays off during the summer. Make agreements as to what each employee must accomplish to earn the time off, and hold them to it.

3.         Show Some Flexibility
When a work environment requires a certain number of hours on the clock, consider letting employees vary their schedules so they can do more of what they enjoy outside of work. Some people may prefer to work four 10-hour days or take a longer lunch hour.

4.         Fuel Them with Free Food
One sure way to surprise and delight employees is providing unexpected treats — a bagel breakfast, cookies during a long meeting or a catered meal one evening so they can meet a deadline. Be careful not to make it a regular occurrence or people will come to expect it.

5.         Invest in Workplace Amenities
Have you been promising to buy picnic tables for the grassy lawn outside? Are employees clamoring for an onsite gym? Predetermine some operational goals, and when employees put in the work to reach them, deliver on one of those often-requested amenities. Not sure what will inspire the crew? Ask them!

6.         Offer Education and Training
If your company’s training budgets have tightened and travel approvals are few and far between, you may want to look at industry events and educational opportunities as an award for top-performing employees.

7.         Give Them Choices with Reward Cards
Recognize employees’ extra efforts with a rewards card, such as the U.S. Bank Rewards Card available online. These prepaid cards come in dollar amounts from $25 to $1,000, and employees can use them in stores, online or over the phone for anything they would like. Whether it’s groceries, gas, clothing, something for the kids, or a nice dinner out with family or friends, the choice is theirs.

8.         Promise Preferred Parking
If parking spots are at a premium, consider granting a preferred spot to a different, engaged employee each week.

9.         Trade Places
Galvanize your staff by setting an attainable goal, and if the staff can reach it, agree to do a tedious task that everyone dreads. Maybe they take turns cleaning the bathroom or washing down a machine. Or, maybe they dislike running monthly reports or taking meeting notes. Roll up your sleeves, because soon it will be your turn.

10.       Get Social
Some employees find it refreshing to socialize with leaders and peers outside the office. If you can swing it, take the afternoon off to watch a ball game or go bowling. Or, make it a point to join the next happy hour or game night. Your presence will speak volumes.

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Article by KELLY BURKART, Content Strategist/writer