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By K2 Awards & Apparel, Published 12/29/2016

“My employees get a paycheck, that is all the motivation they should need to perform at a high level.” Right? Actually, dead wrong. Let us tell you about one of the most fascinating experiments ever conducted in behavioral science. It was performed in the 60’s by Psychologist Sam Glucksberg, and it is a variation of a classic psychology test called the ‘Candle Problem.’

Basically, it goes like this: participants are asked to solve a simple puzzle which requires a modest level of cognitive thinking to complete. They are told they are being timed, and are divided into two groups. Participants in Group A are given a financial incentive- finish in the top 25% and get a nice cash reward. No such deal is offered to Group B. You’d think that the subjects who were motivated with the cash incentive would obviously perform better than those who were not, but you’d be wrong.

As a matter of fact, the participants who were offered the financial reward took an average of three and a half minutes longer to solve the puzzle than those who weren’t. This isn’t just a fluke, the test has been repeated countless times all over the world and the results hold up. When cognitive thinking is required, monetary incentives do nothing to improve overall performance, and actually are more likely to have a negative effect. See more for yourself.

However, the idea that employees need only their bi-weekly paycheck to stay happy and motivated in the workplace can be equally negative. If you want your employees to take ownership of their work and align their goals with the goals of the business, then you need to show them that their involvement matters and their effort is recognized and appreciated. The simple act of saying thank you for work completed goes a long way, but here are some fantastic ideas for more tangible ways to show your employees you value them.

Custom Award for Contributions to a Longstanding Project

For those ambitious projects that have been on the books for a long while and are finally approaching the finish line, be sure to acknowledge the efforts of the individuals involved that have over the past months culminated in the successful completion of the project. If the project directly translates to money made, then a financial bonus is great. But an impressive glass award or plaque goes a long way in showing that you recognize their contribution was meaningful. Tie the work they’ve done to the success of the overall project, even if they are only tangentially related. They may already know this, but hearing you acknowledge it goes a long way for morale.

Paperweight with Company Logo for New Employee Accomplishments

Have this easy employee recognition reward ready to go for the first major accomplishment a new employee achieves with the company. Think of it as a sort of friendly statement, as if you are saying, “Welcome to the team, officially.” This accomplishment could be anything from landing your first client, closing your first sale, or achieving a benchmark.

Acknowledge Their Personal Accomplishments, Where Appropriate

One of the best but most overlooked things you can do as an employer is show your employees that you see them as people and not just gears that keep the business operating. Try a lighthearted, humorous approach to this unique employee recognition award idea. If you find out about personal goals an employee has achieved, surprise them by recognizing the achievement with a sharp acrylic award, even if the accomplishment is entirely unrelated to the goings-on within the company. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Employee just became a parent (“Rookie Father of the Year” Award)
  • Employee just ran a marathon/half-marathon/5k race (if you know they’ve been training hard for this)
  • Employee’s kid just left for college, or graduated (“Mother of a College Grad” award)

Chances are, the employee will not see it coming and the gesture will be meaningful to them. Showing the people you work with that you respect and admire their accomplishments both in and out of the workplace is a fantastic way to cultivate a positive work environment.

Award for Length of Employment

A glass or crystal award for length of employment award is pretty straightforward. Have it ready to go when your valued worker hits a benchmark. One year, two years, or five years with the company -you choose. It is incredibly easy for an employee reward to be dull, boring, and miss the point entirely. In those cases, they become practically useless, and a simple thank you would go farther. If you are not going to set a genuine, positive tone when you implement one of these ideas, you might as well not even bother.

Keep Your Eyes Open for Good Performance

It can be easy to overlook the accomplishments of the quieter members of the office who aren’t as inclined to talk about what they’ve been up to the way an extrovert might. For this reason, it is important for a good manager to be on the lookout for good performance. When a project is completed, a product is launched, or a goal is achieved, dig into it and find the piece-part components that made it work. Take some time to understand the work that went into the goal completion and acknowledge the employees who made it happen. Your employee will be thrilled to be recognized, especially if their contribution might ordinarily be overlooked.

It doesn’t matter what industry your business is involved in, any employer can promote a positive company culture by taking simple steps to recognize employees for the valuable work they do. K2 Awards will give you specialized choices that can suit any employee recognition situation you might come across. Customize and order your awards and trophies today for excellence in service, low prices and fast shipping!