Peter DeCaprio: The Effective Manager’s Guide to Employee Rewards and Recognition 

When it comes to motivating employees, nothing is more important than the manager’s mindset.

The best managers clearly understand that what makes their employees most productive are not rewards and recognition, but the feeling that they are being treated with fairness, dignity, respect.

Employee Rewards and Recognition – You Can’t Go Wrong… But Only If You Start Off on the Right Foot!

As per Peter DeCaprio the best motivational techniques for managers to use with their employees are those which do not involve spending money. It is too easy for company budgets to become so stretched by the time performance reviews roll around that managers have no financial wiggle room left to offer rewards or recognition of any kind. 

If you can afford even small incentives for top employees, however, go ahead. However if your budget is tight, put these simple techniques into practice first:

Reward service beyond expectations set out in job description: 

“Most of the time, when it comes to helping out others in the company, you do what is required of you and little more. But every once in a while something extra-special happens… like this! Thank you!”

Reward employees for solving problems before they become problems: 

“I’m sure glad that you noticed that problem on your own before it caused us any major headaches. You did an incredible job finding that bug! What can we help you with next?”

Ask for helpful suggestions at the end of every project: 

“We’re always looking for ways to improve our work here. Did you come up with anything today? If so, I’d love to hear about it.”

Recognition is often underused in many business cultures because it is seen as an “extra.” Managers forget that recognition is at the heart of what they do every day. 

Why not formalize the process and create a company-wide system for recognizing employees? Here are five easy steps to creating such a system:

1) Get everyone in your organization to understand your appreciation of others: 

“It’s amazing how much we accomplish each week, and I appreciate all the hard work you put in. If there was one thing this past week that really stands out, though… well here goes!”

2) Make sure employee recognitions or rewards fit their personalities: 

“We all want to be recognized for doing a good job, but some people enjoy public recognition while others just like knowing that someone noticed them.”

3) Be sure to recognize all team members fairly: 

“I know that there are times when I don’t pay close enough attention to what everyone is doing. But it’s not hard for me to see the best in you, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t leave anyone out!”

4) Reward the same behaviors more than once: 

“Over the past month, we’ve noticed that you’ve been making some great suggestions. That was fantastic. You’re really helping us come up with some good ideas around here! We really appreciate it!”

5) Recognize accomplishments even if they aren’t perfect: 

“This week has seen a lot of firsts around here. Yesterday was the first time any of us ever saw you frustrated. It gives me great pleasure to present you with this Employee Recognition Award.”


Q. How do I decide what recognition is most appropriate for the person or situation?

A. There are no right or wrong answers here, just examples of different styles of recognition depending on who you are recognizing and why. Take a quick look at some of these ideas to get started thinking about how you might want to recognize your employees: Recognition Scenarios – 

Who would be most excited about receiving this type of recognition? 

“John, thank you so much for staying late tonight. Your leadership during major projects is greatly appreciated.” “Jane thanks for pitching in on that project last week when it looked like everyone was going home early. You helped us finish ahead of schedule!” “Bill, your great attitude really helps with morale around here. Thanks for all the hard work you do!”

“Alice, it was great to see you on Friday after not seeing you in a while. It’s good to know that even though your workload is more than most of we can handle, you still make time for fun outside the office.” “Paula, thanks for turning out for last night’s game. I’m already looking forward to next season – but don’t tell anyone at home I said that! Ha.”

Conclusion by Peter DeCaprio:

In the end, giving recognition to an employee from time to time is a great way to make them feel important and valued. It may not be the easiest thing in the world, but it’s probably one of the most valuable things you can do for your employees.

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