Employees today are looking for rewards. Despite slower economic times, most businesses provide perks on top of an employee’s normal salary or wage. Perks can range from the standard insurance packages to innovative incentives such as dependent care assistance. Really think about your employees when determining which benefits are going to mean the most. The employees’ family situations, your company culture, and what you can afford are all important.
Everyone who owns a business is familiar with the common extras, like PTO, insurance packages, and retirement options. But what about other ways to let employees know they are valued and appreciated? The top companies listed in Fortune Magazine’s “Best Places to Work in 2012” all go above and beyond to do things to not only attract new hires, but also to retain quality employees. Google, number one on the list, offers a bowling alley, eyebrow waxing and free cafes. REI allows deep discounts, free equipment rentals, and sabbaticals to its employees. USAA offers an onsite medical clinic, courts for various sports, and a walking path. But what if you are a company that cannot afford to provide a free cafeteria or allow time off for adventuring? There are still many offerings that are affordable for small businesses who have little extra money for large bonuses and extravagant incentives.
Look at what is important to your employees. Choose rewards based on those factors. In this day and age many employees have families that they are balancing with work life. Would they benefit from flex time or telecommuting? Employees that have the options to work from home occasionally or tailor their work time around family needs are much more unlikely to feel stretched too thin. Also appreciated is time off built in for maternity and paternity leave. This tells an employee that the employer cares about the importance of family time. What about young busy employees who are single? They may appreciate nights out with coworkers or a flexible schedule that will allow going back to school.
In a team environment where employees must work together, rewarding the team is a great way to create a group mentality. If everyone comes together to top a sales goal or meet a certain number of customer calls in a month, then reward them as a group. A meal together on the company, an afternoon break with dessert, or an afternoon off for the whole group will help employees pull together as a team to meet goals and show that their managers are paying attention to their hard work.
Every company has employees that do things to stand out. Whether they go above and beyond for a patient, stay late to help another associate, or always empty the break room dishwasher, it is great to say thank you. Having an employee of the month is an ideal reward with many different options to show company appreciation. A special parking spot, a few hours off, a gift from the company like a shirt or hat, or a small gift card are great ways to say thank you. Designating a different employee every month and highlighting why this employee is doing a great job not only shows workers that their hard work does not go unnoticed, but it encourages others to do the same. Remaining consistent in the reward and choosing different people is important to avoid feelings of favoritism.
Sometimes it is important to reward employees for no reason at all except that you appreciate that they come to work every day and do their jobs. People want to feel valued and appreciated. They also love getting rewards. Try any of these easy ways to let your employees know they are important to management:
- Celebrate birthdays. This can be done once a month for everyone that falls in that month. Also, giving them their birthday off is an option.
- Provide lunch once a quarter.
- If you are a retail establishment, offer a deep discount occasionally on a certain item or a day of shopping for friends and family with a discount.
- Celebrate employee anniversaries. It is important to let people know how much their loyalty is appreciated. Recognize them in front of their peers.
- Provide a break room with items that employees see as perks. This can include a nice coffee maker and coffee supplies, a fridge stocked with canned drinks, a TV with cable for employee use during breaks and lunch, and comfortable furniture.
You don’t have to be a huge company to show your employees that you appreciate them. It is also not necessary to give monetary rewards. Small rewards, consistent verbal praise in front of coworkers, and bonus gifts for a job well done, go a long way to show employees that their time and work is valued. Anytime you are thinking about adding non-monetary incentives to your company, it is important to review them with your attorney to ensure they do not cross any lines or break any employment laws. Show your employees that you appreciate them, and they will continue to do their best work and remain loyal.
Ballentine, Andrew, et al. (June 2002). The Role of Monetary and Non-Monetary Incentives in the Workplace as Influenced by Career Stage. University of Florida IFAS Extension. (Retrieved January 15, 2013). http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hr016
100 Best Companies to Work For. (February 6, 2012.) CNN Money. Retrieved January 15, 2013. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/2012/full_list/