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 | By Jim Berlucchi

Rewarding Good Work Without Increased Pay


As a manager, how can I recognize the good work of my employees in a non-financial way?

Although doable, it’s challenging – a bit like inviting one for a swim in a shallow pool.

But your generous intention – liberality – is the most important thing. Aristotle cites liberality as a powerful, enviable virtue. “Actions in accord with virtue are beautiful and are for the sake of the beautiful; the generous person, then, will give for the sake of the beautiful, and in the right way. And generous people are loved practically the most of those who are recognized for virtue, since they confer benefits, and this consists in giving.”

Since it comes down to giving, first consider what a given employee likes taking. You probably know what different people value, but don’t hesitate to simply ask them. “I’d like to reward you for your recent achievement. What might you like?” Then go ahead and give them that new Mercedes Benz - and never pose that question again.

More realistically, people generally like items such as these:

•  A free day off work
•  An early Friday leave
•  A small gift certificate
•  An 8x10 glossy color photo of their boss
•  A surprise gift on Monday morning
•  A personal note of appreciation
•  Surprise celebration of their work anniversary
•  A free lunch (there is such a thing)
•  A certificate of accomplishment and appreciation
•  Public acknowledgment among their colleagues
•  A framed poster of their boss on his or her Hawaii vacation

OK, maybe some ingrates won’t warm up to the photo or poster. That said, you can prominently display both in the lobby.

God loves a cheerful giver, and the non-monetary bottom line is that love will show you a way, and probably many ways, to express your appreciation for work well done. And when revenues make it possible, don’t hesitate to reward with cash, on a special day and in a special way. It always seems to come in handy.

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