In difficult times, it is even more important than ever to keep your best employees motivated and working at their fullest capacity. The best employees want to do a good job. They want recognition for their hard work, challenging assignments and opportunities for advancement.

For career-focused employees, provide training or individual coaching; pay for seminars or a membership to an organization such as Toastmasters to help them improve their skills. Advance funds for a networking or industry group to help associates develop business.

Tangible rewards can be more personal and have more staying power than cash. Employees who travel to court or visit clients might appreciate a GPS. Supply employees with laptops or smartphones to help them to work remotely.

Loyalty to the firm can be built merely by showing appreciation. Solicit input from the “front lines”; encourage, listen to and act on employees’ suggestions. When you cannot act on a specific suggestion, let the employee know why, but encourage their innovation and participation.

Recognize employees in front of others. Develop your own law firm awards to recognize employees who go the extra mile. Let employees recognize and reward one another. Create celebrations around these rewards and events.

Support the life of your employees outside of work. Send a thank you to family members for an employee’s hard work or let a family member know about something positive that your employee has accomplished. Instead of providing individual rewards for an employee, why not reward the entire family with a night out or tickets to a show?

Sometimes, time off is the best reward, particularly if it is unexpected. Give an employee an additional day off with pay or let them leave early after a particularly large deal or completion of a big case.

Be creative. Showing your employees that they are important to your firm, that you care about their career and about them as individuals can lead to more loyalty tand productivity han traditional compensation.

(photo: nasa hq)

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