Motivate Employees with Smaller Unexpected Rewards

by: Nichole Gunn November 15, 2010

How do you motivate employees? This question is asked from small companies on up to the big corporations. Well, an article in Lawn & Landscape magazine reports on input from a number of companies. It seems small unexpected incentives rewards and recognition goes a long way.

This is good news for managers because keeping workers engaged and out of the burn out blues (whether winter time or summer time) is their job.

Rob Garpiel, president of Garpiel Landscaping, offered his advice: “You have to let your people know you care and what they do is important – that it’s more than just cutting grass or construction.” Garpiel goes out of his way to greet his crew each morning and offer a “great job,” or other form of sincere recognition. He notes that when employees feel they are appreciated like this, “the momentum is so thick in this office you can cut it with a knife.”

Keeping in mind that employee recognition programs are an important factor in motivation, Fred Peratt, Environmental Enhancements’ president, explained to the magazine that he has moved away from the larger incentives and offers small surprises instead on a more frequent basis. He notes that this type of employee appreciation program makes a big impact on an employee’s mood and attitude.

Rather than a big annual party, he might say thank-you with a gift card to a local restaurant or other simple reward. "We needed to get the excitement going, get the enthusiasm back," Peratt explains. "I think you need to stay fresh."

Employee recognition, along with a rewards program are essential tools in a manager’s tool belt. In a recent study conducted by Recognition Professionals International, a nonprofit organization, employee appreciation programs were found to generate “high performance, create a positive work environment and decrease employee turnover.”