How to Become an Employer of  Choice: Strategies for a More Engaged Workforce
New York Times Best Selling Author Dr. Bob Nelson


Most employees today feel overworked and under-appreciated. During times of change when we are asking them to do more with less, they report feeling less valued and more stressed for their efforts than ever before. Based on his award-winning book  Keeping Up in a Down Economy: What the Best Companies do to Get Results in Tough Times, and his multi-million copy bestseller 1501 Ways to Reward Employees, leading Recognition and Engagement authority Dr. Bob Nelson, will expand your thinking of how best to leverage the potential of your staff—even with limited time, resources or budget. This session will focus on core researched-based elements found in strong cultures of engagement that inspire employees to new levels of performance and help to create an exciting, positive work environment and competitive people advantage for the organization even in challenging times. Six dimensions will be presented with examples that any manager or organization can implement to create a more motivating and engaging work environment for their employees today:

• VISION - Create a Clear and Compelling Direction

• COMMUNICATION - Direct, Open and Honest Communication

• INVOLVEMENT - Involve Employees and Encourage Initiative

• AUTONOMY - Increase Employee Autonomy, Flexibility and Support

• DEVELOPMENT - Continued Focus on Career Growth and Development

• RECOGNITION - Recognize and Reward High Performance


Due to some technical glitches, this video begins on slide 4 of the presentation. You would have only missed the introductions. This high-impact, powerful and practical presentation is brought you you by Halcyon Finance and Accounting (a leading provider of recruitment, search and staffing solutions)

Speaker: Dr. Bob Nelson considered one of the world’s leading experts on employee motivation, performance, engagement, recognition and rewards

Sponsor: Online-Rewards - visit them at

Download the full PowerPoint presentation HERE



Top Reasons Employees Remain Where They Are:

  1. Career growth, learning, and development
  2. Exciting and challenging work
  3. Meaningful work, making a difference and a contribution
  4. Great people
  5. Being part of a team
  6. Good boss
  7. Recognition for work well done
  8. Fun on the job
  9. Autonomy, sense of control over my work
  10. Flexibility, for example, in work hours and dress code
  11. Fair pay and benefits
  12. Inspiring leadership
  13. Pride in the organization, its mission, and quality of product
  14. Great work environment
  15. Location
  16. Job security
  17. Family-friendly employer
  18. Cutting-edge technology


Elements of a Successful Motivation Program

General Principles of Motivating Employees

In a recent research study, personal congratulations by managers of employees who do a good job were ranked first from 67 potential incentives evaluated. Second was a personal note for good performance – written by the manager. Simple approaches provide some of the most effective strategies for motivating staff. Other fundamentals include:

  1. Know your staff. Ask what they value and what motivates them.
  2. Give feedback. Specific, on-the-spot praise is good! “Praise in public/criticize in private” demonstrates respect and achieves results.
  3. Partner with staff in achieving their goals. Ask employees about their career goals and offer related assignments whenever possible.
  4. Educate employees about the “business” of the department and the university. Such learning can be fulfilling for employees, and can make them more valuable assets.
  5. Keep employees informed and involved with the big picture at the university and within the department. Seeing how his/her role serves the greater mission increases his/her feeling of connectedness at work.
  6. Use rewards that have mutual benefit, such as skill training and professional development.
  7. Use monetary rewards sparingly, and always in conjunction with feedback, personal recognition, etc.

Motivation Ideas to Enhance the Work Environment

  1. Create a work environment that is open, trusting and fun
  2. Encourage new ideas, initiative and creativity
  3. Involve staff in decisions that affect them, and provide opportunities for feedback
  4. Give employees reasonable control of their work processes and environment - empower them!
  5. Continually praise your best employees and deal with low or marginal performers individually.
  6. Help individual employees link personal goals with organizational goals
  7. Provide new and interesting work assignments when possible
  8. Hold talks and sessions with staff to find out their views and ideas
  9. Accommodate personal needs and problems when possible
  10. Create a flexible work schedule that meets the business needs of your unit
  11. Ensure a safe work environment
  12. Write your department’s biggest challenge on a piece of poster board in a common area. Invite staff to write solutions on the sheet and review in one week
  13. Provide immediate feedback
  14. Help employees prioritize and organize their work.
  15. To make new employees feel welcome, develop a formal welcome program.
  16. Determine what employees are motivated by (this is where the motivation survey helps).
  17. Consider implementing creative compensation for excellent employees (i.e. paid parking for a certain number of months, flexible work hours, etc.)

Creative Recognition Ideas

Even with practices in place to develop intrinsic motivation among staff, sometimes you need quick ideas to reward employees in the moment. Employees feel more valued when incentives and feedback are given throughout the year. Here are some ideas for no-cost and low-cost ways to motivate staff.

No-Cost Ideas

  1. Thank or congratulate the employee in person or in writing
  2. Write a letter to the employee’s family telling them about his/her accomplishments and what it means to you and the department
  3. Nominate the employee to serve on a committee or special project
  4. Nominate employees to participate in a mentoring program
  5. Grant release time for staff to participate in the an event of their choosing
  6. Grant release time for staff to take free courses offered on career development or one of their hobbies
  7. Celebrate the successes of the work unit with a potluck lunch
  8. Include “kudos” as an agenda item in staff meetings
  9. Encourage staff to appreciate each other
  10. Get a proclamation or note of thanks from a higher level supervisor to recognize the employee’s accomplishment
  11. Post inspirational messages around the office
  12. Ask staff how they want to be recognized

Low-Cost Ideas

  1. Implement a peer recognition program in staff meetings by utilizing nomination sheets that serve to nominate employees for their work based on the department’s values/vision/mission.
  2. Create bulletin board space to laud employees publicly
  3. Treat the employee to coffee or soda and a chat
  4. Celebrate the completion of projects
  5. Develop a departmental recognition program
  6. Leave a flower, balloon, candy, or note in the person’s work area
  7. Take pictures, and post with captions describing the great efforts employees make for your department
  8. $1-10 ideas: coffee shop certificate, lotto ticket, magnet, insulated mug, desk calendar, lunch gift certificate, picture frame, plant
  9. Create a Bright Ideas award: Paint a light bulb gold or silver, mount it on a clay or wooden base, and label “Bright Idea Award”
  10. Pat on the Back: Draw an outline of your hand on a sheet of colored paper and write a short message that tells employees why they deserve a pat on the back
  11. Buy staff a book related to an area of professional interest
  12. Send an employee to a seminar related to his/her career goals

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