First of all… a Christmas Box (Kerstpakket) is a typical Dutch tradition. Most companies in the Netherland grant this gift to their employees close to Christmas. The Christmas box is a decorated cardboard box with “presents” inside, such as: biscuits and gravy, a roulade, a cheap bottle of wine, cookies, candy, etc.
Suppose your manager gives you a salary increase of 5%. Then you (as a righteous Dutchman) are of course surprised that it is not 10%. After this brief disappointment, you will most likely make a few small changes in your daily life: more expensive internet subscription, upgrade Netflix to 4k Ultra-HD, then purchase a 4k Ultra-HD television on payment terms etc.
After about three months you reach your “new normal” and probably think it’s time that your manager increases your salary.
Your manager asks if you “have a minute”. You indicate that you still have to finish something quickly and use that time as efficiently as possible to wonder what you could have done wrong. Did they monitor my internet use? Did I leave office too early last Friday? Oh no, I’m sure it’s about that email from last week where I got a little blunt.
But instead of a reprimand your manager takes the time to personally thank you for your proactive contribution to smooth out a stalled project. It has a form of vulnerability that almost makes you uncomfortable, almost, because with a proud smile (and a sense of relief) you return to your workplace.
After years you still remember this moment as if it happened yesterday.
The value of intrinsic rewards are regularly underestimated. A few examples and tips:
Record birthdays of your colleagues in your (Outlook) agenda. A short congratulation by e-mail works wonders, but a personal note is of course even more powerful. And please be consistent, otherwise it will have an opposite effect.
Avoid a standard speech from the manager, but branch out. Buy a cake, decorate a room and create a surprise effect. And if a certificate is issued, list it neatly. A rushed “moment of recognition” will be negatively felt for years to come.
Do you think your colleague or team member deserves a compliment? Do it! Openly express your appreciation and not only the recipient, but you yourself will also reap the benefits.
The Christmas Box
The right to complain about (again) those biscuits and gravy in your Christmas box is a form of intrinsic reward that we are all entitled to. So… no voucher, financial allowance, Christmas market, or department dinner. No, just a sturdy Christmas box with biscuits and gravy, a roulade and a cheap bottle of wine!
As Dutch people it should appeal to us that we can achieve a maximum effect with a minimum investment.
Long live the Christmas box! (even during springtime)
Tip of the week: Make a commitment to yourself to compliment someone every day!
Do you want to invest in intrinsic rewarding within your company? Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org, or +31 (0) 6 3950 5640.