Employees are able to utilise their creativity and apply innovate solutions to their work when they feel encouraged and supported. Strong leaders recognise that rewarding creativity and innovation provides long-reaching benefits that are worth significantly more than the upfront costs of the rewards. The potential to receive these low cost but high value rewards is often enough to take employee innovation to new heights.
For many employees, there is no need to offer a monetary reward. Simply acknowledging their hard work will be enough. Setting up an employee of the month program where the winners’ name is displayed somewhere in the office can be a great way to give credit to hard working employees. Another option is to give accolades at staff meetings or in company newsletters, giving workers a sense of accomplishment and ownership of their contributions to the organisation.
When innovations are of significant enough value to the company that mere acknowledgement does not seem to be enough reward, managers may want to consider offering paid time off as a reward. This could involve allowing employees to take an extended lunch break, clock out early, or even take an entire day off. If giving additional time off is not an option, managers could consider providing these employees with their first choice of days off when using their existing holiday days.
Allowing employees to telework for the day can be extremely motivating reward to work towards. Employees who work from home are often more productive during this time, typically due to the lack of distractions from office bustle. In addition, the time normally spend commuting is typically given back to the employer as productive time, and the cost savings in petrol can add up to a significant monetary incentive for those with longer commute times.
When an entire team has demonstrated skills worthy of reward, organisations may consider office-wide incentives. For instance, throwing an office party when quotas are met can encourage continued productivity with the next project. When doing this, management can supply the food and drinks, or throw a potluck style party where everyone signs up to bring different things. Either option is an inexpensive way to reward everyone for their hard work. Similarly, giving employees the option to come to work in casual attire on these days can be an added bonus.
Sometimes, employees will innovate in ways that save offices both time and money. When this happens, the employee responsible deserves to share in the benefits. Offering bonuses, pay increases, or stock shares is an excellent way to distribute the fruits of their labour.
If none of these reward methods are appealing to the organisation, creative prizes could be utilised. For organisations with limited parking, assigned parking spots close to the building can be quite coveted. If the organization has invested in items with advertising logos to be given away at events, offering these items to employees as rewards can be a great way to receive additional exposure in the community.
The rewards offered to valuable employees are only as limited as the creativity of the management staff. The time, effort, and money invested in creativity will return to the organisation tenfold in productive hours, engagement, and loyalty fostered in the workforce.