It became a popular fun topic of conversation around the water cooler the same time every month. Who would receive the certificate and hearty handshake? As the ritual went, monthly all-staff meetings concluded with the top executive handing out his pick-of-the-month for the stand-out employee.
Although the certificate (suitable for framing) held no monetary value, it was treasured by the recipient and often displayed for years in cubes and offices. Accolades like this have been proven to be the greatest workplace gift of all. And I would argue that it’s not so much what or when (see Parts I and II of this series), but how the gift is presented that is really key to a successful workplace gift program that will return rewards to your company.
Saying Thank You to employees with meaningful rewards is good. Doing it in a way that recognizes specific achievements in a forum that creates awareness is great. Even if it’s a simple gift, putting thought behind the presentation has been proven to motivate.
It a recent Workplace Wrangler blog the Seattle Post Intelligencier drew attention to author Daniel Pink’s recent speech at the TED conference. The talk, detailing the science of motivation, notes that “when it comes to motivation, there is a huge gap between what science knows and what companies do.” Pink wrote the acclaimed Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. According to the PI:
Pink convincingly argues that once our basic need for financial stability is taken care of, the desire for intrinsic motivation kicks in. Intrinsic motivation is founded upon personal rewards (individual interest or love) rather than extrinsic motivation (money). In fact, many scientific studies have demonstrated that people actually become less motivated when money is tied to doing something we are already drawn to doing. It actually devalues it for us!
Pink advocates employers to adopt a “now-that” approach to rewards and gifts instead of the usual quid-pro-quo “if-then” rewards system to gain motivation.
A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and OfficeTeam reported in the Toronto-based Globe & Mail recently noted that 33 percent of workers in North America believe their manager fails to recognize them.
The certificate and hearty handshake method worked because it was a gift that carried a lot of meaning behind it. The recipient was most often a surprise, and always well deserved.
What’s the best workplace gift you have received? What’s the best reward program you’ve been involved with at a company? Chime in.
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