Make it mean something

I’ll admit it – I have Hawaii on the brain.  On Sunday, my wife and I will embark on a 7 day journey of Aloha, Mahalo, Melikilikimaka, and other words with far too many vowels.  To say we are excited is an understatement.

Of course, the mention of Hawaii was not an effort to ‘rub it in’ to my friends in colder climates, but rather to discuss 392948hawaii-postersrewards and recognition.  This trip is actually made possible by my wife’s company, Stampin’ Up!.  Each year, Stampin’ Up! hosts a trip to reward the top performers in the company and this year, we’re off to the Big Island (literally).  Its quite an honor to earn the right to take this trip, and it’s certainly a nice payoff for a full year of hard work.

Most companies, especially in our current economy, are not in a position to provide such extravagant rewards for their employees.  However, that doesn’t mean that the rewards we provide for good behavior or meeting a goal can’t be meaningful.  In fact, they HAVE to be.  Otherwise, why would anyone reach for it?

Throughout the year, my wife would say, “we’re doing this for Hawaii” or “this is going to help get us to Hawaii”.  She had clear goals to accomplish, and she knew what would happen if she achieved it.


So even if a trip to a tropical paradise isn’t in the budget, we can learn something from this concept.  When thinking about what and how to reward your employees, consider these two points:

  • They have to earn it.  This means knowing what is expected and having proof that they did it. This could be about sales, guest satisfaction, capacity, cash handling – anything.  Each of these things are also measurable in some way – and that’s critical.  You’ll need concrete data to prove your point.
  • Give the prize you promised.  Whether its a piece of candy, an extra break or a new car, nothing demotivates people faster than achieving a goal, only to find out the prize that was promised has disappeared.  It’s good to be realistic about what you can deliver, so you are not over-promising.  People will only work so hard for empty promises.


PS – Have you been the recipient of a meaningful reward?  I’d love to hear about it if you’d care to share.

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