When Verbal or Written Recognition Works Better than Monetary Rewards

If you ask Jason Sweigart how he keeps his staff motivated, he'll tell you it starts with good manners.

"Workplace culture has to be positive," he says. To do that, Sweigart has found that verbal and written acknowledgements are often worth more than monetary incentives. Sweigart runs at small marketing firm in Leesburg, Virginia, not far from Washington, D.C. It's a small operation and his five employees are mostly tech-savvy, recent college grads working their first job.

Giving a monetary incentive can be a great way to motivate employees. However, most small business owners can't afford that. Sweigart insists that a cash bonus is a once and done thing, while a verbal or written "job well done" goes a long way.

"Monetary incentives don't mean much if your people don't feel appreciated."

When it comes to verbal and written acknowledgements, remember:

1) Attitude starts with leadership. If the company owner or manager does not have positive demeanor, most likely no one else will either.

2) Express appreciation willingly and often. Let staff know when they are doing a good job. If they are not, fake it till they make it!

3) Write a note to a staff member to thank them for their work, or to encourage them in their work. Commending an employee in front of other staff builds a positive environment and helps increase productivity.

4) Identify an employee's talent and then assign tasks to which he or she likely will excel. Prepare to be impressed!

5) When giving criticism, sweeten it first with a compliment. "I appreciate that you did the work quickly, but I noticed a few spelling errors. Can you give it another look? Thanks."

6) Finally, always use manners and mean what you say.

When staff feels appreciated, it helps to build a sense of ownership in the company and its future, notes Sweigart. A positive workplace environment can be the difference between a staff that enjoys their work and one with employees looking for their next job.
Amy Blackburn
Amy Blackburn> all articles
Recently promoted to Sales & Marketing Strategist, Amy Blackburn is eager to take on the challenges of her new role. With 10 years of experience in sales and marketing, Amy joined Stoner Bunting as an Account Executive. Beginning her career in the design field with a degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved into the world of retail and e-commerce, having worked with retailers such as Target, Bass Pro Shops and Amazon. Capitalizing on her success, she will lead the sales and marketing teams to develop strategies for new business and showcase Stoner Bunting as the leader in the gift card industry. Amy stresses the importance of relationships with clients as the key to continued success.
  • /data/userPictures/DA043A01-2CE7-4E72-AC1A-FDE3C3C6EE62.jpgCatherine Ing6/7/2016 9:51:05 PM
    Nothing hurts morale like unappreciative management! A team that feels appreciated, that has that sense of ownership, will be a happier and more productive team

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureFemale.jpgSally Isok10/28/2016 5:49:16 PM
    I have been working under my current boss for a year now and never heard words "Good job". Now i wonder if i never did a good job or he is mean? Not orally, not written, he never appreciates what we do and thinks that he is the only one who is always right and brilliant.

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureMale.jpgKorey Aukerman2/23/2017 11:01:30 AM
    This is so true! Just like being a role model on a sports team, you have to be a leader in the office by being positive, hard working, and optimistic. I never really realized that some people rather be appreciated by verbal or written communication. I personally am the one who feels appreciated when given more responsibilities, a promotion, or overall success. Everyone thinks differently and I have to see that if I want to be a good leader.

  • /data/userPictures/F246D126-4F48-4FDE-9B1E-369F4478250B.jpgErin Vergara5/8/2019 7:17:04 PM
    This article is a great reminder that a little note of appreciation can go a long way. Love it!