Ten Ways to Reward and Motivate Your Workers [Photo Gallery]

Employees crave recognition for their hard work. That’s a basic human need. For some employers, though, doling out praise doesn’t come naturally.

Bob Nelson, author of “1,001 Ways to Reward Employees,” asserts that most managers don’t understand or harness the power of rewards and recognition – perhaps because they believe that raises and promotions are the only ways to recognize outstanding performance.

Nelson, however, has a different take.

“While money is important to employees, what tends to motivate them to perform – and to perform at higher levels – is the thoughtful, personal kind of recognition that signifies true appreciation for a job well-done,” he says in the book. “Numerous studies have confirmed this. The motivation is all the stronger if the form of recognition creates a story the employee can tell to family, friends and associates for years to come.”

Nelson offers three guidelines for effectively rewarding and recognizing employees:

  • Match the reward to the person. Reward the employee in ways that he or she truly finds rewarding.
  • Match the reward to the achievement. “An employee who completes a two-year project should be rewarded in a more substantial way than one who simply does a favor for you,” Nelson says.
  • Be timely and specific. Reward the employee as soon as possible after the achievement, and always explain why you’re rewarding him or her.

Here are 10 ideas for rewarding – and motivating – employees, courtesy of Nelson’s book.

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