People love buffets. Maybe it's the variety, maybe it's the bottomless nature of them--I don't know. But buffets can draw a crowd.
I am a creature of habit, so I frequently go to the same spots in a buffet and get my "usual" meal. Then when my husband comes back to the table with something that looks appetizing but isn't on my plate, the inevitable, "Where did you get that?" comes out of my mouth. Then I'll go back (using a clean plate, of course) and get a little, too. And I feel like I've gotten even more value from the buffet just because something new to me was available.
Some of you may be struggling with the seemingly unending purse tightening in your organization. You are thankful that your talent still wants to be "your" talent, and you perhaps wish you could reward them in some way. You know, though, that the usual raises are out of the question. So what to do?
Go visit another part of the buffet line that you normally don't. Our habits have been to reward with money, but in these economic times, we should look at rewarding in other ways. For example, get a team organized for a local charity road race. Usually the participants pay their own entry fee, but they get to sign up as a team instead of as one--they get to belong to something. Maybe you splurge for team t-shirts (you may be surprised how inexpensive they are), or maybe you arrange a time for everyone to get together and decorate shirts to show they all belong to the same group. The time commitment is relatively small, and you're helping a good cause while also encouraging your employees to have fun.
These times call for creativity, but you don't have to be the sole source of the creativeness. Look around for opportunities to promote teamwork and reward your employees, no matter how small you think the reward might be.
And, of course, use a clean plate for those return trips!