I’ve heard you talk about why bonuses don’t work in the dental office but if I eliminate cash rewards, I don’t know how to acknowledge my team. And I don’t think I can stop the Christmas bonuses without causing a mutiny. So, what do you suggest?
We unfortunately conflate team appreciation, recognition and motivation with money. While money is always useful and sometimes appreciated, cash by itself doesn’t lead to employees feeling valued or recognized for their contribution.
What does work is communicating your appreciation in a way suited to each individual. I just read The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and it illuminates the different ways employees like to be acknowledged.
If you want to take action right now and acknowledge employees who have made an outstanding contribution or who have just had a difficult week, here are some ideas:
- Handwritten thank-you note sent home
- Flowers sent home
- Limo rides to and from work
- Massage therapy/reiki treatments
- Group trip to nail salon, pottery class, miniature golf
- Cooked meal to take home
- Thank you notice about the team in your town’s paper
- Charm bracelets engraved with words from your philosophy
- Haircut certificate at their favorite salon
- Specially chosen book
- Upgraded instruments or ergonomic chair
- Photo certificate for professional portraits
- Online greeting card
- House cleaning certificate