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Be careful not to create unengaged employees

A key component in keeping workers motivated is a reward and incentive program.

A key component in keeping workers motivated is a reward and incentive program. However, no matter how well set up an initiative may be, it can be derailed by a few simple mistakes.

In a recent article in Forbes, contributor Shawn Spearman recounted how one manager was able to derail the hard work of a staff member through an unfortunately worded attempt to recognize his or her efforts.

Rather than offering a simple congratulations, the leader spoke about how the company could have achieved even more with just a little extra work. And this creates big problems for employee motivation.

"The inspiration your employees possess to exceed the requirements of their day job can be vaporized with poor word choice when celebrating a win," Spearman wrote. "A solid indicator that your celebratory email will kill whatever momentum the win created is if your congratulatory phrase is followed by a big 'but.'"

The takeaway for leaders is to remember that language is important. Simply achieving a goal or completing a project is its own reward; however, workers often deserve more. By throwing in a "but," managers effectively devalue everything that's been achieved and what was required to do so, according to Spearman.

Instead of offering a quick write-off to workers' achievements, business owners should take the time to craft a message that is both personal and inspiring. A separate article from Forbes suggested that the best way managers can do this is by knowing their workers and what they value most. Some people may want to be recognized in front of their peers, while others may prefer a handwritten note, plaque, gift or day off. By figuring out what makes staff members tick, leaders can both spur engagement and more robust bottom lines.

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