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Business Articles
Beyond Bonuses
(Published in MyBusiness)
By Heather Larson

 

At Transformations Salon and Spa in Indianapolis, owner Vivian Vandivier gives "Vivi" bucks to employees who get rave reviews from a client, present helpful tips at staff meetings or go out of their way to help a co-worker. Recently, 200 Vivi Bucks went to an employee who put together a staff manual. The currency can be redeemed for salon services or the retail products sold at Transformations.

In Austin, Texas, when the production team at BuildASign.com meets their daily goals, employees can leave early and still be credited for working a full day.

Small businesses usually can't compete with the trips, cash and merchandise larger companies offer as incentives, but they provide something even better by acknowledging their employees' good work more frequently. When your staff feels appreciated, they work harder and stay with your company longer, says John Putzier, author of Get Weird: 101 Innovative Ways to Make Your company a Great Place to Work (AMACOM, 2001).

"The primary motivator for employees is not the paycheck. They expect to be paid," he says. "Some kind of acknowledgement for their hard work helps retain your best people."

Rewarding a team, group or entire organization reinforces a job well done, but drilling down to an individual and what he or she has accomplished is preferred, Putzier says. "Everyone wants to be recognized as an individual."

And recognition doesn't have to break the bank, Putzier says. Low-cost rewards like time off, tickets to a sporting event or a restaurant gift certificate can easily be incorporated into your monthly budget.

Low-cost incentives including time off, tickets to the theatre or a sporting event, restaurant gift certificates and gift cards can easily be incorporated into your monthly budget.

"The options are unlimited," says Putzier. "Stay away from thank you cards and holiday turkeys. The more creative you are, the more effective the incentive."

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Big Thanks on a Small Budget
Check out these low-cost ways to reward a job well done:

  • Extra time off
  • Free lunch
  • Restaurant gift certificate
  • A donation to a charity of the employee's choice
  • A box of treats on their desks
  • Event tickets
  • Spa gift certificates
  • Sporting event tickets
  • Free company gear
  • Shout-outs at staff meetings

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