Meaningful Workplace Initiatives

January 1, 2013

When a safety goal is reached, or a new employee led initiative produces positive results;  companies often times like to reward such efforts with some sort of monetary gift or reward.  While this can be effective, according to the paper “Currency of Reciprocity – Gift-Exchange in the Workplace” employees were offered an award that was equivalent to 20% of their wages or a non-cash reward a surprising thing happened. The non-cash reward resulted in a 25% higher work performance and the cash reward showed no measurable increase.  This shows that it is the “thought that counts” when it comes to gifts and rewards.

Kimberly Smithson-Able suggests some ways that a company can meaningfully reward employees without spending a lot of money.
1.)  Thanks from the top: If possible have the CEO or upper management write a hand written note thanking the employee personally and specifically.
2.)  Employee led event: Inviting the employee to lead an event or share their initiative with the rest of the company takes recognition to the next level.
3.)  Choose a variety of rewards: Choosing from traditional gifts such as gift cards, books, merchandise or non-traditional items such as longer lunch hours or an extra day of vacation gives all employees that chance to pick a reward that really matters to them.
4.)  The spoken word: Making sure that management recognizes the employee or employees by saying it out loud to them is important.
5.)  Celebrate and socialize: Consider using social media to recognize the goal or employee’s achievement.

By using a combination of these efforts as well as higher priced rewards employees will feel that their hard work is appreciated.  Goals in the work place are important.  Keeping employees on track to meet these goals is a day to day effort that should be shared by everyone.  Goals such as decreased injuries and so many days “accident free” should not go unnoticed.  Making sure that work floors are safe and not slippery can aid in reaching these goals.

Smithson-Able, Kimberly. ”Best Ways to Reward Employees Without Promotions or Pay Raises.” December 28, 2012. <>

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