Recently, my fiance who is a nurse received his Gerontology certification, and he received a record number of positive client feedback forms. How did his workplace reward him? With a single white stemmed carnation. He said he stood there dumbfounded, not because they rewarded him for his hard work, but they rewarded him with a flower, like a contestant on The Bachelorette. He is also introverted, so public recognition is not his favorite thing in the world.
It is a great thing to be able to reward your employees, but that reward will only be relevant and inspire more of the right behaviors if it is meaningful to your employee. If his workplace knew he was on track to be SuperGreen, they might have had time to come up with a more meaningful reward.
So, how do you reward your employees with meaning?
The first thing you need to do is track who is on target to exceed their goals. What kind of metrics do you want to track, and have you set up the right criteria for these metrics? What is important for your business? What would constitute exceptional performance? For my fiance, happy, healthy patients should be the norm, but personal recommendations are SuperGreen.
At Rhythm Systems, we use Red-Yellow-Green success criteria to track where we are. Someone who consistently hits SuperGreen criteria or goes above and beyond receives recognition and celebration.
Secondly, you need to think about what motivates and inspires your employees. On our team, we have various Myers-Briggs personalities; we have introverts, extroverts and everything in between. Like my fiance, I prefer quiet praise.
So, the next time you are thinking of celebrating an employee's win, make sure that the reward matches the employee.