by Razor Suleman | January 26, 2012
As we embark on a new year, it poses the perfect opportunity to revaluate our lives, goals, and direction—and this extends to the workplace. This year, when it comes to rewarding your employees and fostering an engaging workforce, consider these New Year’s resolutions to create a culture of recognition in which employees drive results.
1. Be a coach, not just a boss. Leading a team to success is no easy feat. When you look at successful sports teams and dissect the elements of their achievements, you see that it's about having the right people in the right place at the right time. But success extends beyond talent to having strategic and effective coaching that prepares and leads the team to win. There are three benefits that coaches have that translate to the workplace, and bosses can utilize these coaching best practices to motivate their teams. Leverage the home team advantage by being your employees’ biggest fan, and create an environment in which the team feels comfortable to perform at its highest potential.

2. Align recognition with corporate goals. Employers should use recognition to drive the bottom line and foster a meaningful relationship with their employees. Recognition should be aligned with corporate values to help employees understand how they are contributing to the overall success of the company. This knowledge fosters repeat positive behaviors that drive results, boding well for both the team and manager’s reputations. Align your feedback with the company’s overall objectives. The most deeply motivated people—not to mention those who are most productive and satisfied—hitch their desires to a cause larger than themselves.

3. Abandon micromanagement. Micromanagement is an employer’s effort to remain in control of how work is produced in order to be confident of results. This form of leadership is very ineffective because it doesn’t instill autonomy in employees. Employees are not filled with a sense of mission when they are micromanaged, and therefore are not motivated to act with a sense of ownership. Micromanagement doesn’t foster goal-setting and negatively affects teambuilding. Leave this in the past and move forward with inspired employees who make their own success.

4. Implement a gamification strategy. A motivated workforce is a successful workforce. Smart employers are making investments in their workforce to ensure that their employees are happy, challenged, and stimulated. Gamification has proven to be particularly useful when it comes to rewarding sales teams or departments with specific metric goals, rewarding top performers, and reinforcing positive behaviors. Implement a gamification strategy that inspires individual performance without compromising the team dynamic. Incorporate game mechanics into the workplace, using them to foster individual results while targeting team collaboration.

5. Embrace work–life harmony. Nowadays, work extends beyond the 40-hour week, be it labor-intensive or mind-occupying in nature. Embrace a work–life harmony mentality and don’t just support your employees, support your people.   

Razor Suleman is the chief evangelist and founder of Achievers (Formerly I Love Rewards). Achievers' global rewards and social recognition software engages employees and drives performance. For more information, visit