Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

7 Inexpensive Ways to Show Your Employees You Care

Published on Oct 7, 2010

Summary

Check out these 7 Inexpensive Ways to Show Your Employees You Care at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
incentive-programNow that we've armed you with 10 things you should know when hiring your first employee, it's time to educate you on how to keep these employees ... and keep them happy! Don't get me wrong; in today's volatile job market, employees certainly do appreciate the traditional incentives of bonuses, paid holidays and other formal employee benefits afforded to them. However, these do not always guarantee elevated employee or team performance. As Small Business Trends notes, "studies have proved that 'soft' benefits, such as employee incentive programs, are directly responsible for driving increased efficiencies and productivity among employees." Some examples of soft benefits that I've experienced in my day are monthly employee lunches, Therapeutic Thursdays (downtime for employees every Thursday to mingle and enjoy snacks and music), flextime, off-site team meetings and Employee of the Month programs. So 'soft' touches do not have to empty your bank account. Here are seven inexpensive employee incentives to show your employees you care:
  1. Put on an event for no reason. Therapeutic Thursdays falls into this category. You could also try a "Favorite Sports Team Day" theme or "Most Unusual Hat Day." Pick a day each month or even quarterly to celebrate something. Ordering a few pizzas on the company's tab during these special events serves as a nice pick-me-up for employees.
  2. Introduce flextime. Unchain employees from their cubicle desks by allowing flextime options. Although flextime doesn't work for all businesses or all employees, it is a great way to draw and keep high-performing employees. Setting guidelines, determining who is eligible for flextime and monitoring the program are all part of the success of flextime.
  3. Create a contest. The contest could be sales-focused or the contest could be something as simple and fun as guessing how many jellybeans are in a jar. Encourage employees' involvement and reward them with a small prize for participation.
  4. Honor small achievements. Small tokens of appreciation go a long way. Try giving movie tickets or a small gift card as gestures for exceeding goals or helping a colleague.
  5. Offer discounts. Your employees can be your biggest cheerleaders for your small business. Offer your employees discounts on the service or product you sell. You're offering them a perk and a way to appreciate what you do at the same time.
  6. Provide employees corporate memberships. Promote employee well-being with discounted gym memberships. You may want to offer your employees access to an executive hotel suite. Whatever you decide, make sure you poll your employees to see what incentive membership would be most appealing to the majority.
  7. Have employees recognize each other. I liked the Employee of the Month program developed at one particular company I worked for because you had to nominate someone else within the organization. The nomination process included an explanation of why you felt he or she deserved to be recognized for this award. The award was a reserved parking space in the underground garage for a month - especially appreciated in winter - as well as a choice of $100 gift card from three retailers.
Showing your employees some well-deserved gratitude from time to time can positively impact their productivity. Even the most basic employee incentive ideas prove to be just as effective as other expensive options to show you care. What incentive programs have worked for your small business? Related Links How to Reward Your Employees When You Can't Offer Them a Raise