How to Reward Your Staff Without Spending a Chunk of Change

One of the biggest stresses we hear from business owners we work with is “I want to appreciate and reward my employees, but looking at my overhead, I am not sure I can afford to reward them”. They further explain that they sometimes lack motivation to reward staff in part due to the lack of appreciation felt in return. As an example, in talking with a client at the end of the year he explained, in relation to the end of the year bonus, or a Christmas present, “ sure I can give them some money, or a present, but I never hear a word of thanks. It’s like it’s expected!”

One of the biggest issues businesses, and organizations of any type, have to deal with today is the lack of financial resources. We are in a new “world” where profits are slim. This is creating a tremendous amount of stress within organizations . Resources are tight all over. At the same time, their workload and responsibilities have increased. More demands + fewer resources become a perfect recipe for stress. And stress over the long haul leads to burn out and discouragement.

Communicating Meaningful & Impactful Appreciation

Here is what research shows are effective ways to communicate appreciation and encouragement to your team members, without having to spend a lot of money:

  1. Make sure your communication is personal and fitted to the individual rather than utilizing general communication across the organization. The key component to effective appreciation and encouragement is the sense by the recipient that you mean what you say and that you took time to think about them personally. Conversely, we have found that a global “Thanks for a good job done” email to a wide range of people across the organization actually generates a negative response from most team members, given its impersonal nature and perceived minimal effort to complete. What about considering a personal acknowledgement to each team member once a week. Catch them doing something right and thank them.

  2. “Speak the language” of the person whom you are trying to encourage. If the action we take to communicate appreciation to our colleagues isn’t what is important to them, we have wasted our time and effort. Communicating encouragement and appreciation which is impactful must “hit the target” for the recipient. We offer or clients the MBA Inventory – to identify each team member’s preferred languages of appreciation and to specify the actions most valued by them. By learning a person’s language of appreciation you can give and receive feedback and appreciation in a way that can be effective.

  3. The languages of appreciation people value the most don’t have to cost a lot of money. Sure almost everyone would like a bonus or a raise – but for most organizations that is not possible. The ways that people experience appreciation in the workplace fall into five categories:
    • Words of Affirmation
    • Quality Time
    • Acts of Service
    • Tangible Gifts
    • Appropriate Physical Touch

    Most of these don’t cost anything financially (even tangible gifts don’t have to cost much). For example, some of the most cited ways employees report feeling valued include:

    • Receiving a note from your supervisor complimenting you on the good job you are doing.
    • A team member stopping by your office, spending a few minutes with you to see how you are doing.
    • Obtaining some help from a colleague who notices you are “buried”.
    • Getting a gift certificate after you have worked long hours to complete a big project (for example, to go to the movies.)
    • Having your co-workers give you a “high five” after you have successfully completed an important presentation.

Each person has their own preferred “language of appreciation”. And within each language, there are specific actions that are most valued by that individual. None of these actions cost much money. But the key is to be able to use the right action with the right person, at the right time, and with a genuine spirit of appreciation. Then your actions will “hit the target” and be effective in encouraging those with whom you work.

Call us today and we can share with you the benefits of learning more about languages of appreciation.