Employee rewards come in all shapes and sizes, tangible and intangible. Some rewards are literally pats on the back or appear in the form of a gift card or the surprise announcement that you have the day off. How do you recognize and reward good work? Many years ago, after In Search of Excellence was published a lot of companies started to look at the ways their customer service techniques were working and whether or not those techniques made a difference in terms of what brought people back to their doors.
What I´ve noticed is that good service, extraordinary service especially, isn´t often rewarded and it´s become something that managers often respond to with "Ho, hum, that´s nice." The problem is that it´s more than nice; it´s extraordinary and should be noticed. I´m thinking of another book, First, Break All The Rules: What the World´s Greatest Managers Do Differently, in which authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman turn effective management on its head by telling us that you need to pay more attention to your star performers versus the ones who need prodding and extra attention. I think, similarly, we need to pay close attention to the people who 1) stay on the line longer with the chatty but steady customer; 2) who put in long, long days to make sure December numbers are December numbers and not January numbers; 3) those workers who not only go the extra mile but do so in a way that doesn´t make it seem extra at all.
Too often their hard work becomes the status quo and before too long it doesn´t seem extraordinary anymore. But let´s say there´s only one person behaving in an extraordinary way and that individual is the one holding up the department. Doesn´t that employee deserve some recognition? According to Buckingham and Coffman, those are the people you should be worrying about. If their efforts go unnoticed for too long, well, they might not make such an effort for very much longer.
People need to be noticed. People want to be valued. People want you to notice their value. Indeed, that recognition is often what fuels the value. But too often managers glance over at those hard workers with relief, because, for them, it means they can spend more time with the workers who aren´t performing up to snuff.