Rewarding staff

How do you show your staff that you appreciate their efforts? Susie Anderson-sharkey outlines a few different strategies to ensure your staff are as happy as your patients

17 September, 2017 / management
 Susie Anderson-Sharkey  

Much has been written on the sometimes thorny subject of rewarding staff – so, here’s my insider’s tips on the subject, which I hope you will find rewarding in lots of little ways.

Rewards come in all different shapes and sizes and there is a time and a place for all of them. First off, we have to be clear about who or what we are rewarding. Is it the person? Is it their performance? Their loyalty? Are we rewarding one person or a whole group? You see, I told you it could be a minefield. There are often as many questions as there are answers.

Hopefully, long gone are the days when employers had the mind-set that paying staff a monthly salary was all that was needed for an employee to feel valued. A happy staff equates to happy patients. I can’t overstate how important it is on every level to have a happy team. There are various ways and means of achieving this. One very important ‘reward’ is simply telling an individual or team that they have done a great job. Don’t leave it until the end-of-year review, but keep telling them, keep encouraging them with positive communication and feedback and they will want to push themselves to perform even better. People respond well to a kind word and your staff are no exception to this. Positive verbal feedback and recognition are a great morale booster.

Take a photo of your staff, post it on Facebook, Twitter, the practice website, and tell people how much you appreciate their help. This only takes a few minutes and is a small but positive way of rewarding staff.

We recently ran a Staff Appreciation Day, where every employee was rewarded with an extra day off (at a time that suited the practice) and this was gratefully received by everyone.

Some rewards work better than others. We once ran a reward scheme where, if we reached a certain monetary target in a month, again each staff member would get a day off. However, this was difficult to administer and we only trialled it for a short time.

A gift voucher for an employee’s favourite shop is a great way of rewarding individuals. Find out where they like to shop, buy a voucher and present it to them on their birthday, anniversary, special event or for just being an exceptional employee.

Some other innovative ways to reward an employee could be:

  • Buying them a year’s subscription to their favourite magazine
  • Pay their gym membership for a year
  • Buy a gift voucher for a local beauty salon so that staff can be treated to a facial, or have their nails done. We have done this and it has proved really popular
  • Buy a year’s subscription for flowers to be sent once a month to the employee
  • Food – who doesn’t like to be treated to a meal out? Take your staff out for a meal or have a pizza lunch from time to time where you all sit down at the same time and just enjoy the social experience
  • Pay to have an employee’s car valeted
  • Give staff members the day off on their birthday or the anniversary of the day they joined
  • Give your staff a half day or full day off for Christmas shopping.

And then, of course, there is money. You will see many websites full of ideas about how to reward staff without giving them money. But in reality, I’ve never come across anyone who doesn’t appreciate a little bit extra from time to time.

Many years ago, I worked as a nurse in an orthodontic practice. I was going on holiday and just as I was leaving, the boss said to me “Have a great time”, and quietly put £20 taken from his own pocket into my hand. I have never forgotten that simple act of kindness and appreciation – it meant so much to me.

Christmas especially is a great time to thank your staff with a small monetary gift. It is, after all, a time of year when everyone wishes they had a little extra cash.

And so the list goes on. Think outside the box, there are many different ways of rewarding staff. It’s important to find what works for your business and your staff but be assured that your employees will really appreciate being rewarded either in word, deed or cash and you, as ‘the boss’, will in return find a happy, contented team – who are more than willing to go the extra mile.

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