What is Your Idea of a Reward?

What is Your Idea of a Reward?

Are you feeling unrewarded, overworked and generally unappreciated?  If not you, what about your team or your colleagues?  If you are a CPA, you are probably still reeling from a busy tax season.  If you are a corporate tax department, you may have a little breathing room before you jump back into the craziness that is the corporate provision, planning, compliance and audit cycles that occur throughout the year.  Do you feel overwhelmed, underwhelmed and generally tired just thinking about it?

I was just looking through a great slide show on Accounting Today that showed the interesting things accountants were doing through busy season.  I was amused and intrigued as the pictures were humorous and the concepts solid.  One thing that happens to most of us is that we work so hard every day, have so many emails to respond to, so many deadlines to meet, and cycles to get through, that it is difficult to reward ourselves and others in our department or team.  In addition, as most of us tax professionals out there are typically already very self motivated and tenacious in our work habits, and we don’t always think about the need for motivation or reward systems.  And by the way…who has time to ponder them?  I am guilty as charged myself.  As I was thinking about this topic, I was thinking about the ways we have been rewarding our employees lately and found that my ideas are somewhat “old school” and/or not all that imaginative.  I guess I need to work on this too!  Here are the ones I have typically been using to thank folks for their hard work:

  1. Amazon.com or AmericanExpress.com gift cards – $50 – $100
  2. Dining gift cards to a favorite restaurant
  3. Happy hour
  4. Bringing random treats into the office regularly
  5. Bringing lunch in or dining out
  6. Baseball tickets
  7. Circus Tickets (yes, we are in Sarasota – huge Ringling Bros country here!)
  8. Special projects – let a team member work on a project they hold dear

In looking through the Accounting Today suggestions, they had some interesting ones:

  1.  10 am bacon sandwich surprise!
  2. Car detailing service while you are at the office
  3. House cleaning service
  4. Spa treatment
  5. Lawn service
  6. An allotment of handyman services
  7. In office surprise show – local wildlife group comes in to show the team exotic animals and teach them a little about them
  8. In office Foosball – who knew that tax pros loved Foosball so much?!
  9. A weekly Walmart run during busy season.  Manager would create a list of things folks needed someone to pick up to save them a trip and shop for all!

After reading these fantastic ideas, I got much more creative and asked a lot of other colleagues about other interesting reward systems they have had exposure to and got the following:

  1. Netflix subscription
  2. Team building sessions
  3. Chef’s lessons – interactive lessons given by a well known chef – all together as a team
  4. Charity giving as a team (giving is an amazing reward)– one person told me that they went to the local church and got a list of families in need.  They then asked those families what they needed either for birthdays, holiday gifts or just to survive and then went as a team to shop for the list.  They then also wrapped all the gifts in the office and got to present them to the families with their well wishes.  Very rewarding!

What innovative ideas have you used or seen out there?  Or is your job rewarding enough?

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