Happy employees are productive employees. As a manager, anything you can do to keep your employees motivated and happy is going to pay dividends for the health of your business. This is one of the reasons why you should be administering the DISC assessment to your team. DISC can provide some fascinating insights into what makes your people tick, including what motivates, frustrates, challenges and delights them as they go about their work and interact with co-workers.

Now, you don’t need a DISC assessment to know that all of your employees appreciate vacation days and bonuses. But beyond the obvious rewards, there’s a lot you can do to make your employees feel valued and respected. And that’s where the DISC assessment tool can really help you out.

DISC-based rewards that really make an impression

The four DISC assessment categories are Drive, Influence, Support and Clarity. The first and last of these are action- or task-oriented, meaning they take great pride from their work-related accomplishments and want to be recognized for them. In contrast, Influence and Support types are focused more on people and relationships, and their greatest sense of achievement comes from seeing everyone on the team thrive and reach their potential (including themselves).

Drive and Influence types are also outgoing and like to take a more assertive role in the workplace. Support and Clarity types are more reserved and prefer to stay out of the spotlight.

This quick outline will give you some idea about how each DISC type functions in the workplace – you can instantly see that a public celebration of achievement may go down well with an Influence type, but embarrass a Clarity type! Here are some more strategies for making sure that everyone is recognized and rewarded for their efforts in a way that dovetails with their personality preferences.

Rewards for Drive Types

  • Congratulate them publicly. People who rate highly in Drive crave public recognition and approval. They like to know that what they’ve accomplished is noticed and appreciated, and they feel a special warm glow when co-workers and other associates are there to see them rewarded for their hard work and success.
  • Give them opportunities to continue growing and learning. Drive types are ambitious and focused on self-improvement. One of the best rewards you could give them is to pay for their enrollment in continuing education courses or skill-enhancement seminars.  You can make a similar impact by choosing them to represent your company at conferences, conventions or industry meetings, making it clear you trust them and value their talents and experience.
  • Assign them leadership roles. Drive types are natural-born leaders, and they see leadership positions as the ultimate measuring stick of high status and accomplishment. When you select them for leadership roles Drive types will see this as proof that you’re supporting them rather than holding them back.
  • Ask them how they’d like to be rewarded. This is an approach that will both surprise and delight your Drive-oriented employees. While some other types might be too modest to ask for anything, Drive types are confident in their abilities and proud of their successes, and they won’t hesitate to ask for what they believe they truly deserve.

Rewards for Influence Types

  • Give them more flexibility. Influence types are spontaneous and inventive and easily bored by repetition and routine. That’s why they will be thrilled if you give them greater flexibility to customize their work schedule. If you let them cut their hours just a bit, or take an extra day or two off each month, or work online from home semi-regularly, they will tell everyone who asks that you’re the best manager they’ve ever had.
  • Offer rewards that are unique and imaginative. These playful souls are out-of-the-box thinkers who are overjoyed by out-of-the ordinary gestures. Knowing this, you could reward them with an unusual gift or a surprise party, even though it’s not their birthday. Or you could organize a roast where they’re the guest of honor, and where you and their co-workers could mock them mercilessly (all in fun, of course).  Or you could give them a day or two off and assume their work responsibilities yourself.
  • Let them make changes in the workplace environment. Influence types are fun-loving, and they love to see others have fun as well. Consequently, they will be glad to accept your offer to do a little rearranging or interior decorating around the office, to lighten the place up and make everyone feel better about being there.
  • Call them at home and thank them for the performance. Influencers truly enjoy working with people, and one of their main ambitions is to inspire others to strive for greatness. If you let them know in a private, off-hours conversation that you appreciate their efforts and give them credit for making your work environment a happier, healthier and more productive place, they will be profoundly moved.

Rewards for Support Types

  • Give them personalized gifts to thank them for their contributions. Those with a preference for Support are people pleasers who treat everyone as a unique individual. They will appreciate you giving them a personalized gift because they would do the same for you if your positions were reversed.
  • Reward their teammates or co-workers as well. If you want to get on the good side of a Support type and guarantee their continued loyalty, you should acknowledge their successes by rewarding their team members or closest collaborators instead of just them. They are always putting the needs of others first, and your rewards to the team will show you understand their preferences implicitly.
  • Offer rewards that can be enjoyed by their entire families. Your Support-oriented employee will love a reward that benefits their loved ones and not just themselves. If you want to reward them by sending them to an event as a representative of the company, for example, you’ll really make a lasting impression if you arrange an all-expenses-paid trip for the employee’s entire family.
  • Tell them how grateful you are by email or in a chat. Support types like to share the credit for their successes, and if you publicly praise them they may actually feel uncomfortable and embarrassed by the attention. When you want to praise them specifically for their accomplishments, you should do it in a format that is intimate and personal yet still protects their privacy and won’t make anyone else feel overlooked.

Rewards for Clarity Types

  • Give them more responsibility. Clarity types relish the chance to take on new duties and tackle fresh challenges. They see this as a just reward for their tireless efforts to make sure their work performance is impeccable and that they’ve made the lives of their teammates and co-workers easier.
  • Acknowledge their achievements on a monthly basis. To really impress, you can keep a running tally of their accomplishments for the month and acknowledge them all at once, in a group meeting or by private email. Clarity types will respond especially well to this approach, since it fits nicely with their preference for order, organization and attention to detail.
  • Say ‘thank you’ a lot and really mean it. People who prefer Clarity like to work with managers who notice their daily accomplishments and express gratitude as a matter of habit. They want you to appreciate their efforts in keeping the business running, and feel validated when they hear ‘thank you’ from their boss on a regular basis.
  • Give them more freedom, privacy and independence. Clarity types like to have plenty of physical and psychological space when they’re working. If you reward them with a specially constructed private office or workspace, they will feel like you understand their needs and respect their ability to perform independently. In general, a lighter supervisory touch will be appreciated by this self-reliant personality type.

The golden DISC

From a management perspective, an employee’s DISC results are the equivalent of pure gold. They give you instant and important insights into how an employee’s skills can best be utilized and how their preferences can best be honored. You’ll be far better prepared to put them in a position to succeed when you know how they fared on their DISC assessment, and when they do succeed you’ll know exactly how to respond to encourage their continued success in the future.   

Nathan Falde
Nathan Falde has been working as a freelance writer for the past six years. His ghostwritten work and bylined articles have appeared in numerous online outlets, and in 2014-2015 he acted as co-creator for a series of eBooks on the personality types. An INFJ and a native of Wisconsin, Nathan currently lives in Bogota, Colombia with his wife Martha and their son Nicholas.