Monday, May 19, 2008

Looking for new employee incentive ideas? Listen to Aretha Franklin

Employee incentives like gifts and awards have always been the practiced method for managers to show they care, but there may be a option out there that requires little effort and no money.

While not a employee motivation expert, Aretha Franklin delivered some of the most influential advice with a 1967 hit, singing one little word:


Experts out there today continue singing Franklin’s words of wisdom by telling managers how respect is one of the best, and least expensive, ways to motivate employees.

One expert and communication coach, Carmine Gallo, explains in a recent BusinessWeek article how showing a little respect can help you encourage employees long after the Starbucks gift card has run out.

The first step to creating a respectful relationship is by showing true concern for employees’ lives outside of work. Instead of focusing completely on workplace goals, encourage managers to discuss life goals with their employees. Managers can explain to employees how achieving workplace goals can coincide with life goals.

Managers who are emotionally invested in their employees will have genuine ties to their employees’ success, inside and outside of the office. Messages will also be delivered more clearly, as people are more inclined to listen when they know the person on the other side of the conversation cares.

With clear communication and respect, company success is a shared goal. Employees who feel recognized and truly cared about will show a stronger desire to do what it takes to help their company succeed.

A small thing managers can do to help boost employee engagement is to simply communicate with employees face-to-face. Put down the Blackberry, step away from the computer and go have a real conversation with employees. We’ve become so dependent on technology that it’s easy to forget a person is only a few doors down.

Communication within a team helps build respect, which is the best incentive out there, according to Gallo. Look at every conversation with an employee as an opportunity to show you care.
“In your next conversation with one of your employees, try speaking as if he or she is the most important person in the room at the moment. Look him in the eye, avoid interruptions, ignore gadgets, and ask questions about his interests. It's the simplest, least expensive, and most effective incentive available.”

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