It’s the giving season: The perfect time, as a business owner/manager, for you to recognize your hard-working employees with a gift. But what kind of gift is most effective? The answer may surprise you.
There’s no question a good employee appreciation program is key to your company’s continued success. Maybe you’re thinking about a once-a-year cash bonus. But first consider the advice of human resources experts. They advise that an ongoing rewards program is more effective than a one-time cash handover. And, that employees remember expressions of appreciation long after they do the bonus cheque they cashed months before.
Building on that, here are our better-than-money, top seven suggestions for rewarding your employees:
Give top-performing employees flexible schedules. Let them choose the hours they want to work, the days they want off and whether they want to take their holidays all at once or spread them out over a couple of seasons. Of course, this all has to fit into how your business runs – but otherwise, the more flexibility, the better. Psst! Flexibility is also a good incentive for underperforming employees to work harder.
Give extra paid time off to those who do exceptional work or produce results beyond what you expected.
Give written, not just spoken, thanks to those who have done a good job. Be specific, e.g., “Bob, you did a terrific job of getting those rush orders out to Blotnik Engineering.” Or, “Joanne, the way you handled that crisis in sales last week really showed your leadership abilities.”
If someone, or a team, has done a stellar job, take them out for lunch. And then? Give them the rest of the day off!
Offer – and support – extra training for employees. By all means encourage employees interested in upgrading their skills or furthering their educations. And, if conferences, seminars or tradeshows come up that relate to your business, pay for top employees to attend, including their travel.
Let employees take more initiative, right down to letting them make important choices about how they do their jobs or projects. Alternatively, let them choose which projects they want to work on.
Host events for your employees and families two or three times a year – e.g., an end-of-year holiday party, a summer picnic, a spring barbeque.
Remember: The rewards you offer should do more than just encourage your employees to better perform. The rewards should build their sense of engagement with your company’s goals and activities.
Do some of the things noted above and be guaranteed: You will create happier, more motivated employees. You may also double or triple your productivity!
Here’s some further reading that explores ideas for employee rewards: