Gold Star Success – How to Reward Your Employees and … Yourself

In our fast paced society, many people do not take the time to recognize the contributions of others and also do not pat themselves on their own backs.  Although verbal praise is welcomed by most, other types of rewards have a more positive and long lasting impact if properly executed and more importantly, fit the needs of the individual.  The key factor is to determine if the individual sees it as a true reward and will thus increase their productivity or one that is anticipated every time so the effort slacks off eventually.  In addition, as individuals do we tend to cross off the chore on the to-do list and then move on to the next item, or do we reward ourselves for a job well done? 


For a moment, remember a time when you were in school and the teacher gave you a gold star.  Think about how happy you were and how you wanted to share your good news with others.  Now try to recreate that feeling for yourself in your workplace.  Difficult to do?  Probably - especially with the economy still struggling, companies cutting back on expenses, and people spending less. 


Rewarding has to be more creative; rewards that were successful in the past do not hold the same value now.  According to the book, Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us, author Daniel Pink explores the difference in the workplace between algorithmic people (“those that “follow a set of established instructions down a single pathway to one conclusion”) and heuristics people (“those that experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution”).  In the past, most jobs were based on the philosophy that if you did your job you would be rewarded and if not, you were punished; in general, the practice was to reward with a cash compensation paid in set intervals.  The algorithmic mindset worked well under these circumstances. 

I is for Interview

Interviewing can be a very intimidating experience – for both interviewers and the candidates.  By following these helpful hints, one can be more confident in their interviewing skills regardless of which side of the desk they are sitting on.

I – Impressions – first impressions either over the phone or face to face can be everlasting and if they do not go well, it can ruin the rest of the interview.  Be prepared in terms of “dressing the part” and being as energetic as possible.  Eat a mint to bring up your energy level and put on your best smile.  It can be felt even over the phone.

N – Notice – pay close attention to the length of time one person speaks.  If an interviewer talks for a long time or a candidate gives a very detailed answer that takes more than two minutes, this could be a sign of how they act in other business settings.  Ask yourself if you could work with this type of person and how would you need to change your style to interact with them effectively.

T – Time – pausing between asking questions and/or responding is OK.  It would be better to reflect for a brief moment then rushing and regretting it later.  If you are taking notes, do not take a long time to write things down but instead jot down key words.

E – Expect – one can expect nervousness from a candidate but some interviewers get nervous too.  Some hiring managers have gone through some interview training but most have not.  If not, they may have read a book on interviewing but even that is unlikely.

Candidates should have prepared answers for at least twenty behavioral questions ranging from the routine ones (where do you see yourself in five years) to the more bizarre (what fruit would you be and why?).  The key for both is to practice, practice, practice.  A good way to do this is to strike up a conversation with a stranger in the supermarket.

R – Reflect – spend the time after an interview to really think about how it went.  Interviewers should write down additional questions they want to pose in the next round of interviews.

Candidates should review their notes and write an effective thank you note highlighting areas they want to stress or were not addressed during the conversation.

V – Visualize – a hiring manager needs to really ensure that the person they hire will fit into the culture of the organization.  Too many focus solely on the skills and accomplishments of the candidate and fail to explore effectively the personality and past experiences of the individual and see if they are a good fit.


Who Am I and Does The World Agree?
There have been many articles written about Personal Branding recently that have been tailored to various groups including the job seeker, the celebrity and even those in corporate environments.  The issue is that most people read these articles, try to create this image but the result does not truly reflect who they are.  Instead they send a mixed message to others.  Needless to say, this can affect getting a new job, a promotion, a relationship or a business venture.

How then does one create an accurate picture?  First you have to identify what your core values are.  As I have stated in some of my workshops, in this economic climate it is a great time to clean out your physical and mental closets.  By doing this, you start to clarify what is really important to you today and how you want your life to look like in the future.  Establish ten key core values, rank them and choose the top five to work with.  Write them down and see how they interact.  Some of my clients have even drawn circles with each value and see how they overlap.  It is important to write them down versus typing them on a computer because it has been proven that pencil/pen to paper has a greater impact. 
5 ¾ ways to Strive and Survive This Year Print E-mail

Many people make New Year’s resolutions that are difficult to achieve. Oftentimes the resolution is too vague (I want to lose weight) or so unattainable (I will run a marathon) that they are abandoned very quickly. Instead of setting unrealistic goals, incorporate methodologies into your life that encompass the personal side as well as being instrumental in the workplace and relationships with others.

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