This article summarizes why and how to reward employees to keep them happy. The premise is that happy employees are productive employees.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Marketing, human resources, recognition, business management

Materials Needed:

Globe article

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

The article is a high level review of a business book entitled Managing for Happiness by Jurgen Appelo.  He is the chief information officer of a tech company and began using modern strategies to motivate his staff, often involving self-management.  The results are documented in this book and there are key learnings that are transferrable.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Organize students in groups of four to six.  Use a round robin strategy: take one piece of paper, have students write one thought each and pass the paper to the next person, until all ideas are exhausted. In this way, ask students to think of different ways employees in a workplace can be rewarded.  Give students five minutes, and recognize the team that has the most original responses.
  • Now, have students brainstorm situations in which employees should be rewarded.
  • Distribute the article for reading.
  • In small groups, have students review the work done in 1 and 2 above and add to their responses based on their readings.
  • The article also describes seven types of delegation.  Ask students to create a chart that lists the different types and, working in the small groups, identify an example when each type would be most effective.
  • Have them share their thoughts with the class.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Divide the class into an even number of representative groups.  Make an equal number of group either ‘for’ or ‘against’ and have them develop arguments around the following  proposition:
  • Rewards should be team based rather than individually based.
  • Allow students 10 minutes to develop their position, and then as a class debate this.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

At the end of this lesson students will be able to:

  • Understand the connection between rewards and happiness
  • Identify opportunities to practise rewarding within their own lives

Confirming Activity:

  • Use the following team observation sheet for each team to discuss the level of happiness and productivity in their team during this activity.
  • Team Observation Sheet
  • Using a rating scale of 1-5 have each team member rate themselves and other members of the team.