Small businesses can't always afford to reward their employees appropriately. However, there are several ways you can treat your staff free of charge.
A happy workforce is a more productive workforce, so it is always a good idea to make sure your employees know when they have done a job well. However, if you're a small business owner it can be difficult to find room in the budget for any kind of meaningful gift, especially if you need to reward multiple people.
However, it's actually not always a good idea to give out physical gifts like this. It can lead to resentment, complacency, and other negative emotions that you don't want to encourage in your business. Instead, you can reward employees with one of the following options.
1. Flexible working
If your SME doesn't already offer flexible hours, this can be a great reward. Inc points out that it "means staff can establish a better work-life integration", even if it's just for a week as a prize for succeeding at a project. Alternatively, if your business smashes one of your targets it can be a great treat for everyone on a permanent basis.
2. Individual recognition
While it can be great to treat everyone as a team and reward them all together, sometimes employees respond best to being singled out if they have genuinely gone above and beyond for your business. Employee engagement and customer loyalty specialists Simply Thank You Corporate recommend this as "a great no-cost approach" to making employees feel valued, even if it's just a matter of giving them a pat on the back in front of their peers.
3. Relaxed dress
Most people don't enjoy dressing up in formal clothing for work. It can be uncomfortable by the end of the day, and the first thing most people do when they get home is get changed. This makes easing up on your dress code a great way to reward your staff.
Liz Ryan, founder of Human Workplace, recommends this. She said: "It isn't just Silicon Valley start-ups that are realizing it's silly to make employees invest in 'business attire' merely to uphold the idea that we need a separate costume for work."
4. Something unusual
Quite often, what your employees want won't be what you might call an ordinary gift. For example, the Ruhlin Group pays for housekeeping for all its employees. Their reward for working there is not to have to worry about cleaning up, giving them more quality time with friends and family.
This is obviously a high-cost option, but there are other reward schemes for staff similar to this you can utilize. Why not offer to help out with a personal hobby of your employee's, such as proofreading their screenplay or giving them a lift to band practice?
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