March 28, 2012
By: Jen Hubley Luckwaldt, PayScale.com
Want an employee to feel appreciated?
"The good and bad news is that it takes more than cash," says Stacey Carroll, director of professional services at online salary database PayScale.com. "Driving satisfaction with employees requires work beyond a bump in pay."
Beyond a salary negotiation for higher pay, there's the question of how, exactly, to reward employee performance.
Here are a few things to consider when recognizing employee performance:
1. Communication Skills
Carroll tells companies the single best thing they can do to improve employee satisfaction is to use effective communication skills.
Ideally, employees should understand how decisions about compensation are made, on what basis, and when they can expect to hear about raises and performance.
Employees often equate how much they're paid with how much they're valued, which might not be the case, especially for small business under increasing financial pressures. Keeping them in the loop can help to alleviate this problem.
In large organizations, one employee typically does one job. This isn't the case in small business, where a person might be, say, the accountant, and the facilities manager, and the business manager, as well as coordinating all employee birthday parties, and answering the phone when the receptionist is out.
Carroll advises companies to tie salary to the highest skill set that they ask employees to perform on a regular basis via benchmarking.
She also recommends looking at your internal hierarchy and compare employees skills and job duties against the people they supervise and against the people who supervise them.
3. Consider Non-Financial Rewards
"Compensation alone will never attract or retain top performers," says Carroll. "It has to be supported by all the other things that go on in an organization.”
“This is especially true for top performers,” she adds. “Top performers want to work in a place where their performance is acknowledged."
This can take the form of offering additional training or other opportunities to be involved with organization at a deeper level, she says.
It can also mean offering non-traditional solutions, such as the workplace flexibility of a four-day work week to an employee who values that extra day off, instead of a bump in pay.
4. Ask for Employee Feedback
Which brings us to our next point: Sometimes, the best way to find out what employees want is to ask – most often by doing an employee satisfaction survey.
"If you're really, truly trying to understand employees and what motivates them, one of the best things to do is just to ask them," Carroll says. "All employees are motivated by something a little bit different."
5. Be a Good Boss
Carroll agrees with the well-known adage, “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.”
"Somebody who you genuinely feel is engaged in helping you to be successful and giving you opportunities for growth, really can't be supplemented by large sums of money," she says.
Instead, strive to be a good boss – start by learning to become a good listener.