4 Ways to Build Pride Without Giving a Raise
In business, it’s true that money talks. Sometimes, a raise is a fiscal expression of that fact that you appreciate your team members, and this active employee engagement builds pride -- and loyalty -- in a company. But during a recession, money for raises may be nonexistent and companies are often more preoccupied with staying afloat rather than rewarding great work. But that doesn’t mean dedicated employees can’t be rewarded in other ways. Here are 4 ways -- beyond bonuses -- to promote pride within an organization. Try them and you might see they’re even more effective then their green counterparts.
Listen closely to your team
If you ask for input, people will feel valued, and that leads to engagement. "Soliciting ideas and input -- and listening to that input -- gives people hope that their opinions matter," says Mark Sanborn, author of Up, Down, or Sideways: How to Succeed When Times Are Good, Bad, or In Between. When people realize their ability to impact an organization, they’ll be more enthusiastic about doing just that.
Give old school thank you notes
Demonstrate that you appreciate people by taking the time to write hand-written messages to them. "Personally deliver these notes to team members who have done a particularly exemplary job (completing a major project that resulted in securing a new contract, surpassing revenue expectations, etc.), are experiencing a difficult challenge (personal health issue, family crisis, etc.) or celebrating a milestone (company or individual anniversary, christening, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, etc.)," says Ritch Eich, PhD., author of Real Leaders Don't Boss: Inspire, Motivate, and Earn Respect from Employees and Watch Your Organization Soar. Show more interest in your employees, and they’ll show more interest in doing a great job.
Bring in donuts
Or cupcakes, or candy. Special treats -- whether store bought or homemade -- can instantly lighten the mood and bring people together, in spirit as well as physically. "I've seen lawyers in dark suits act like sharks in a feeding frenzy over the glazed donuts a partner brought in one morning. Celebrate your team with these small gestures," suggests Sanborn. This sweet pick-me-up can be done anytime your team needs a lift, so don’t wait for a holiday or birthday.
Hold a communal contest
Contests can translate into instant engagement for an office. Bob Kelleher, author of Creativeship: A Novel for Evolving Leaders, suggests a YouTube video contest linked to a business imperative at your company. "For little money (but huge engagement benefit), send out Flip cameras to every location and or department with a request for employees to pick a company value and show ‘what that means to me,’" says Kelleher. Give modest prizes and post winners on the company intranet, and your entire company should be more connected -- and engaged -- than before.