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June 2006

The Secrets to a Successful Organization – Continued

We’ve reached the final leg of our journey through the five Secrets to a Successful Organization - #5 Reward them!

If you missed the first four secrets, you can read about them on our website.

  • Hire the right people.
  • Give them the tools to do a good job.
  • Provide them with positive, constructive feedback.
  • Develop them.
  • Reward them.

How do you reward your people for doing a good job? Most would say money, right? Yes, people want to make a good living and be well paid for the job they do. That’s a given. Organizations need to stay consistent with the industry standards or they won’t be able to attract or retain good people. But money is only part of the equation!

Why do people do what they do? One might say action is driven by the intrinsic motivational system within each person. And they’d be right. One might also say people do things because they find satisfaction and reward in them. That, too, would be right. But the underlying theme in both statements is “motivation”.

Different things motivate different people. That’s why one reward doesn’t fit all. What would you consider a good reward for a job well done? Is it money? Recognition in front of your peers? Maybe it’s your boss noticing your ongoing, everyday efforts and saying, “Hey, I really appreciate all the effort you’ve been putting into the job. Take off early today and spend some time with your children.”

How do you know what might be an appropriate reward for one person but not for another? Let’s go back to psychology for a moment. In his Heirarchy of Needs, Abraham Maslow (Dr. Abraham Maslow; "Motivation and Personality" 1943) states that we experience levels of needs.

  • Survival Needs (the most basic level): food, warmth, clothing, shelter
  • Safety and Security Needs: physical safety, secure employment, freedom from threats, comfort
  • Social Needs: sense of belonging, acceptance from loved ones and associates, group membership, friendship, association with successful team or company
  • Esteem Needs: self-esteem, self respect and respect of others, recognition, status, achievement, attention
  • Self-Actualization: truth, wisdom, meaning in life

According to Maslow, only when the needs of one level have been met can you move to the next level of needs. Think of how this might play out in the workplace. If one of your employees has not met the basic survival needs, they cannot function at the higher levels. What type of reward and recognition would be important for this person? Money would probably be the most beneficial, so they can provide the basic needs for themselves and their family. When the basic needs have been met, that employee can move to next level.

Most people want to be recognized in some manner, but they also want and need to feel good about their job. Rewards should be geared to the individual and the situation. Praise is one form of reward, and praise in front of colleagues and peers would appeal to a person at the Social or Esteem Needs level.

Some tips for giving rewards and recognition:

  • Reward the behaviors you want people to demonstrate.
  • Make the reward valuable to the individual.
  • Be timely – don’t wait a month to recognize positive behavior.
  • Be sincere – you must truly appreciate what the person has done.
  • Be specific – describe why the person is receiving a reward/recognition.
  • Be creative.
  • Give verbal praise.
  • Write a personal thank you note.
  • Consider non-monetary rewards.
  • Use public praise when appropriate.
  • Be consistent when giving rewards/recognition.

Keep in mind – the number one reason employees leave their jobs is due to a poor boss.  They stay because of good leadership that recognizes the needs of the people, and provides praise and recognition.    

Remember, companies don’t change and grow. . . people do! So be sure to reward and recognize the behaviors you want to see.  Catch people in the act of doing things right and reward them on the spot with a heartfelt “thank you”!

Next Month:

We’ll begin exploring “Leadership” –
what it is, what it’s not, and how to find and develop it.

Unsure how to effectively reward your people?
Don’t know which behaviors are important to your company’s success?
Contact us today! or 330-274-2693

       M-A-P LLC,   -   -   330.274.2693