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Team building on a budget

There are ways to recognize employee contributions without spending a lot.

The recession has forced many companies to reduce or even eliminate programs originally designed to build employee engagement. However, the decision could end up having the opposite effect by lowering productivity and increasing turnover.

As budgets are cut, organizations are sometimes forced to evaluate the programs they have created to motivate employees. In their efforts to reduce corporate spending, companies are finding additional value in reward programs. The Washington Post reports that Smokey Glen Farm Barbequers has continued its annual tradition of acknowledging the work of its employees due to the benefits the act offers.

The farm’s president and director of sales, Jim Sweet, told the paper that keeping employees could be even more important than retaining clients. “You take care of your employees, first and foremost,” he said.

There are ways to recognize employee contributions without spending a lot. Most employee incentive programs don’t need to be elaborate, as small rewards given regularly can provide motivation for staff. Online merchandising programs can help even small businesses provide a variety of awards for performance. Team leaders can choose merchandise or provide prepaid gift cards for brand name retailers. This enables the manager to offer personalized rewards for each member of the group to increase the program’s effectiveness.

In a blog for NBC, StoryMix Media CEO Mike Fisher notes that good team building relies on consistency. Taking the time to identify objectives that will be rewarded can create reliable measures for the program. A manager can provide a small sales incentives each time a staff member closes a certain number of accounts. This approach not only builds a consistent approach for the entire department, but also lets the employees know when they are close to a reward, which could encourage them to work harder.

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