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Four ways to consistently engage and reward staff

Planning an off-site team building exercise to get your employees ready for the year? Think again. Experts suggest a better approach is to focus on consistent across the board recognition programs that drive a business’ objectives throughout the year.

According to EI CEO Ben Thompson, a business will see more benefits from a long-term program of consistent engagement, reward and recognition, rather than just one days worth at the start of a new year.

“Annual group off-site sessions are not always something everyone enjoys or gets to attend.  Employees can come to resent them because they keep attendees from doing real, useful work and make the people who are not invited feel disengaged,” Thompson said.

To hold on to high-performing staff and motivate people at all levels, businesses must implement an ongoing recognition program for both individuals and teams.

“These programs should define, track and recognise the behaviours and objectives that make a real difference day to day,” Thompson added.

Follow these four tips to create a culture of consistent engagement, reward and recognition:

1. Use gaming techniques in your HR strategy. An overwhelming majority of people would much rather engage in something fun and rewarding, and would likely take preventative measures to avoid overly boring or complex tasks. Gamification strategies can energise employees and foster an atmosphere of progress. It also allows employees to reach goals and be rewarded based on progress by way of things like – level ascension, gathering virtual goods, avatar programs, leaderboards and points gathering.

2. Adopt a recognition and reward system. Employees are able to gain points for the work they do so they obtain material things that they personally enjoy. You can access off-the-shelf points-based programs today that are easy to integrate with your business goals, simple to customise with your brand and easy to manage. This could also be linked to your gamification strategy.

3. Build a culture of employee appreciation. Cash incentives and public recognition, while nice, don’t always make your employees feel totally appreciated. Take some of your short-term morale boosters, like recognising good work with a handshake and a smile, or idea sharing, and turn it into a business lifestyle. Thanking employees face-to-face on a regular basis also helps improve their ability to accept constructive criticism.

4. Step it up a notch – with a challenge. Sometimes the most sincere form of flattery is being trusted with more challenging work. It’s a fact that underpinning of recognition is a respectful relationship. If the manager shows trust with new challenges – that may be all the recognition that is needed.

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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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