I am currently reading a book called Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What you must do to Increase the Value of your Growing Firm by Verne Harnish, and I came across a gem.
It starts out like this. “Reward is sometimes considered a dirty word.” I find this is so true right now. There is so much focus on intrinsic motivation, and ensuring that we are meeting the deeper needs of the people receiving the reward. When I was a business owner and tried to offer these deeper rewards, I often felt as if I was making up reasons to do so. But this book offers some good, practical advice that can simplify the entire process.
The advice that this book gives is quite simple. Look no further than your own business values to provide a source around which you can acknowledge people’s accomplishments. Once developed, the values by which you go about the day-to-day business of your company can be quite empowering. They can be answers to employee questions about how they should complete a task. If one of your core values is “to ensure we conduct our business in an honest manner,” this will guide them to provide an honest answer to a client when asked a question. If one of your core values is “ensure quality of product,” your employees will likely hold off on shipping a product until it is right.
At about this time I would expect the majority of small and medium sized business owners to ask, “How do I tell what my values are? How do I develop, and further these values? How do I ensure my staff know what the values are?” My best answer is that you need to take the time to figure this out. You need to take a time out and slow down for a bit. Sit down with your key people and discover who you are as a company. We are too often running, that we forget to figure out where we are running too. It may seem a bit daunting, but if you can tease out your values, combine them with a solid vision and mission, and figure out a way to share these important ideas with your team, you could be surprised with how much stronger your business can become.
To come back full circle, rewarding people for following company values and making a positive impact in the business can be a powerful motivator. Coupling this with a external rewards such as a small gift or monetary award helps reinforce the great feeling they get as you recognize them for their great work. An external reward is not completely required and if utilized does not have to be much. It is critical though that the reason why they are being rewarded is understood, and the value tied to it be reinforced.