In-House Business Startup Journal Part 11: Recognition & Reward


By Andy Brenits, as originally seen at InSource

For many in-house employees, year-end reviews are typically followed by an announcement of merit increases (AKA raises) and incentive payouts (bonuses).  As managers we often wrestle with the balance of following the corporate guidelines for cash awards, with the subjectivity of what constitutes a good job by our creative people.

However it’s important to remember that there are more ways to reward employees for good work than yearly raises, bonuses, or even promotions.

Recognition comes in many forms and sometimes a simple “thank-you” for a job well done can pay big dividends in loyalty, motivation, and assurance of continued good work. The Late Robert Townsend, CEO of AVIS and author of Up the Organization, called the phrase “thank you’ a “really neglected form of compensation”.

For example, I recently showed off some of the work my team produced in a management team meeting. When I shared the positive responses from my peers with my team, it was clear how much they appreciated not just the accolades…but that I even showed the work off to begin with. This cost me nothing in terms of dollars, but paid off big time with my team.

If you have any budget dollars for training and development, then consider sending someone to a class. If budget is limited, then send just one high-performing person, but have them teach what they learned to the rest of your team. This approach yields you a 3-times return if you think about it: Special recognition for the high-performer in terms of the training, a leadership development opportunity for the same person to teach others the new skills, and development for the others whom they teach.

Finally, if you work for a corporation with good perks such as seats at a sports arena, then take your team out after work to a big game. Trust me, the joy Z (and appreciative looks) on their faces will be an immediate reward for you.

How have you recognized and rewarded your team? Seriously, leave a comment because I am always looking for new and creative ideas.

I will be at the InHOWse Managers Conference this June 22-24 in San Francisco. Won’t you join me and other in-house leaders to share stories and learn from each other?  Details here and register here.

I’ll also be leading the InSource roundtable on the in-house / outside agency relationship in conjunction with the HOW Design Live! events on June 23. To register, you have to be a registered attendee of the conference.

Andy Brenits has had the privilege of managing creative services start-up operations for four organizations in his 20 year career. The In-House Business Startup Journal is an amalgamation of his experiences leading creative services businesses and the trials and tribulations of getting things up and running to a sustainable state. Names have been changed to protect the innocent or those who should have known better.