You’ve worked hard to build your business. And while your employees are highly valued members of your team, it’s not easy or realistic to offer them extra money when they’re doing their job well. While some established companies can afford to offer employees regular raises and bonuses, today’s economic climate makes it more difficult for small businesses to rely on this as a sustainable way to offer employees incentives.The good news is that there are dozens of ways you can reward your employees without offering more money. Sometimes, the intangible benefits like recognition and growth opportunities are even more important in communicating your respect and appreciation for your employees - and in getting them to stay longer . Here are a few ways you can reward your employees in a meaningful way - without having to fork over more money.
You’re busy with the everyday tasks of running a business, but taking the time to focus your attention on star employees is a great way to tell them they’re valued. Spending one-on-one time with them allows you to really see the value they bring to your organization, and allows you an opportunity to offer genuine praise and appreciation. Consider offering one-on-one training and development sessions with key employees to show you’re invested in their role and their personal contribution to the business.
Everyone likes to be recognized for their work. In addition to spending face time with your employees, put a recognition system in place so that your best employees get a reassuring pat on the back for a job well done. Your recognition might come in the form of a quick conversation thanking specific employees for going above and beyond their duties, recognizing them at a staff meeting, or sending an email to all employees asking them to join you in thanking an individual for their commitment and effort. Recognizing your employees will promote a culture in which everyone strives to do their best work together.
Many people are motivated by opportunities for growth, and one way to reward employees who have been striving to reach new goals is to offer them a new job title. Employees who are taking on extra responsibilities might like to be recognized with an addition to their title that shows progress and growth to those around them. Not everyone needs to made a manager, but even adding things like “Lead” or “Director” to new titles can boost employees’ confidence and motivation.
It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes added responsibility is a great way to show employees that their hard work is valued and that their efforts are appreciated. It’s one of the strongest ways to show that you trust in their abilities and value their contribution to your business. Take the opportunity to sit down with individuals and find out what roles they’d like to grow into, or where they’d like to learn - this will help you tailor opportunities to their interests and talents. You’ll find that these employees are eager to take on the new work, and proud to share their added responsibilities with their co-workers.
Another way to promote growth and communicate the value you place on employees who are invested in your business is to offer them opportunities to explore classes or seminars that help them get familiar with other parts of the business. Maybe your servers are interested in the business operations of restaurants. Giving them the bridge to learning more not only helps keep them engaged - it also makes them a smarter and more mindful server. Look for local classes that fit individual employee needs so you can open a conversation about learning opportunities with your employees.
Sometimes small gestures can be just as important as large ones. Offering employees small perks throughout their shift is one sure way to make your employees feel rewarded on a regular basis, and to keep them engaged in their work. Try offering special personalized uniforms, reserved parking spaces, a surprise treat in the break room, or special meals during their shift. There are countless small ways to show employees that you appreciate their efforts - you might even think about asking them what would be most meaningful to them.
Parties and Social Gatherings
There are few better ways to say a grand “Thank you” than throwing a party in honor of those who keep your business running. Social gatherings are a great way for employees to forget the day-to-day stress of the job and connect with each other on a more personal level. When you’re planning a party, make sure you’re inclusive, double-check the schedule to make sure your guests of honor can attend, and ask your employees for help planning activities so everyone has a great time together.
Everyone needs a break now and then, and when your teams have been working extra hard, there’s no better way to tell them thanks than to give them a day to themselves. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to relax and put their feet up - even more so if you surprise them with an unexpected day off on one of their regular shift days.
There are many ways to motivate your employees and even more ways to show your employees how grateful you are for their hard work.