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Rewarding Employees and Increasing Productivity and Motivation: "Smiley" Face -"Frowny" Face

I'm often asked how to encourage increased motivation and productivity in employees. There are several ways you can read about in other articles on this blog. In this article I'll discuss using appreciation and visual markers ("smiley-frowny") as encouragement.

I used to manage an organization with several hundred employees, under a collective agreement. The premium paid to employees who exceeded production goal was set in the collective agreement, old an anachronistic.
It wasn’t a real encouragement and it didn’t contribute to motivation, and didn’t change employees' way of doing their work.

But we wanted to encourage motivation and especially increase quality and decrease depreciation in production.

We developed an approach of showing appreciation to team-leaders or all employees through the use of smiling and frowning emojis ("smileys" and "frownys"). In the following I'll present how it encouraged employees, and especially team-leaders, to decrease waste and increase yields.

We'd set a goal for each team every week. Then we’d publish a list of team-leaders, their results, and a "frowny" or "smiley" next to is. All team leaders would get a personal copy together with note from the CEO (me). The list would also be publicized on bulletin boards.

See an example of one such list:


For obvious reasons, I've removed names. This list had a dramatic positive effect. All teams worked hard to improve results, and a very positive and goal-oriented atmosphere was created.


The above method was very successful, in this specific context – but can be applied more broadly, due to the universal desire for feedback and appreciation, for personal attention and recognition.


I recommend you give your employees feedback and demonstrate your appreciation in non-monetary ways, instead of rushing to give a financial bonus for every success. Money doesn’t buy everything, and being appreciated can stay with you for a long while and is a priceless motivational force.

If you are interested in my professional help, personally or for your company, the best way is to send a request through the Get in Touch form in my website (here).

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