How reward and recognition can help to grow your business

June 11th 2016 | Posted by Phil Scott

It’s a fairly straightforward equation, and the concept will undoubtedly resonate with most of us. A happy worker equals a productive employee.

Despite the positive news on a recent economic upturn, on the whole, companies are still recovering and tough financial decisions, and a pulling back on non-essential expenses, are a part of our day-to-day life. And with this backdrop, it’s easy to consider rewarding employees as a luxury.

This may feel particularly true for smaller companies. We are avid business people in the UK, with more internet start-ups in London than anywhere else in Europe. That fact alone not only gives a sense of our country’s entrepreneurial spirit, but indicates the amount of smaller and newer businesses out there, many of whom may feel that rewarding their staff with large incremental chunks of money is beyond them.
It’s actually a common perception that members of staff are ultimately motivated by pay rises. But reports show that as long as employees are being paid the average or at least close to it, then a salary increase isn’t the most effective way to drive performance, productivity and, of course, that all-important business growth.

Some human touches

It’s very easy to evaluate an employee’s contribution in today’s modern, tech-heavy work environment. In fact, we are a world so focussed on technology that it’s difficult to see beyond it and consider the motivating factors for a job well done. And regardless of business size, reward and recognition is an essential part of engaging with staff and driving performance.
As we know, as long as employees feel their wage is in line with the norm, salary isn’t the best motivator. In reality, some far simpler, effective and cost efficient methods of connecting with the workforce are available.
Connecting is a key word here. As a manager or a business owner that means being in touch with what your staff are working on, naturally giving you a good insight into challenges faced and overcome and exceptional pieces of work.
Simply recognising these scenarios with prompt, verbal thanks goes a long way to engaging with employees. To go the extra mile, sending a thank you note can also have a great effect on building that relationship and keeping people enthused and gratified.
Providing a responsive, flexible working environment can also act as a powerful motivator. Rewarding good performance or extra hours put in to complete a job can be as simple as offering an employee or a team an early finish, or a longer lunch.

Active communication

Another way of building on employer and employee relations is to maintain a regular, open line of communication. Frequent meetings and company updates will work towards making people feel more connected to the business they are contributing to.
Enabling employees to have an input into business decisions where appropriate, whether that’s giving them a choice of who they work alongside, or bigger and more strategic decisions can have the benefit of reinforcing people as an appreciated; recognised; and respected member of the business.
Another point high on most people’s wish-list at work is the opportunity to develop and progress. Building relationships with employees and uncovering their talents and skills will enable managers to offer relevant training and development and the real chance to step up at an organisation. Not only are these ways of increasing the calibre of your teams, but it actively works to engage employees of all levels.
The important thing with all these techniques is to be specific. Relate rewards back to the jobs they pertain to. And remember, at the end of the day, your employees are human beings, not machines. Although measuring performance is easy with the right software, hitting the right buttons and demonstrating a genuine understanding of what reward looks like to your workforce can only be done human to human.