Giving Thanks: Effective Ways for Small Businesses to Reward Staff

It is a well-known fact that employees who feel valued are more motivated to work and more loyal to their employers.

It is important to recognize their good work and reward your staff to keep them happy and productive.  

Smaller businesses may not have the resources to offer up cash bonuses to employees but, there are many other ways to make your staff members feel valued.

Here are some affordable methods that allow you to reward small business employees for a job well done.  

Flexible Working Hours 

Rewarding staff helps to motivate them, and one way to keep them driven is to provide flexible working hours. You can offer this small business reward to employees as an ongoing perk or it can be a reward after a staff member has demonstrated that they have made valuable contributions to the business.  

According to 1st Formations, “One of the number one grumbles from unhappy employees is not being able to find a good work-life balance.” By allowing employees to start later or leave earlier, you can help keep your staff happy boosting productivity levels.  

This also helps to play to your employees’ strengths. Some of your staff members may work better in the morning, so allowing them to come in a few hours before most people start and letting them leave early can help them make the most of their productivity. Some may prefer to come into the office and leave a few hours later than everyone else, and catering to this can really have valuable results for both of you.

Related Article: Why Every Company Needs Business Process Management 

Consider Going Remote 

For employees that can technically do their jobs from home (for example, writers and web designers), consider offering them the chance to work remotely from time to time. You can reward staff members who prove themselves to be valuable assets in the office with some time to work from home. This can save them the hassle of commuting a few times a month, and they will appreciate the flexibility.  

According to HR Morning, “…82 of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For offer telecommuting.” There’s a simple reason for this: allowing staff to work remotely can seriously boost productivity.

Employees who work from home may feel more comfortable and motivated on their remote working shifts. They’ll also return to work feeling refreshed, so this method can also boost their in-house productivity while they are in the office.  

One drawback to this approach is if a team member doesn’t feel technically proficient. More time may be spent overcoming technical issues than is spent productively powering through assignments; turning a relaxing atmosphere into a stressful situation. 

Career Improvement Opportunities  

Let your staff know that you are invested in their career advancement by helping them grow and learn more about their own job and the industry in which your business operates.

According to ERE Media, one-third of new hires quit their job after six months; primarily because they feel that they don’t have a long-term path within your organization with clearly defined milestones. Send them to seminars, trade shows, and exhibitions to help them expand their knowledge and learn new skills.   

Show employees that you are invested in them is by helping them join a trade or professional association. You can reward them for a job well done by covering the cost of one year’s membership – an expense that they may not have considered purchasing on their own. 

For your most motivated employees, reward them with the opportunity to establish a long-term career within your organization. Outside of work, employees rely on their work history to get ahead in the world.

According to National Debt Relief, “Potential lenders are likely to consider [an employee’s] employment history and income in determining whether to give [an employee] a loan.” If you provide your team members with a stable, lucrative career, a world of opportunities will open up to them.   

Related Article: 6 Ways to Prevent Employee Burnout

Free Food 

Another affordable way to keep your staff in high spirits is to treat them to lunch every so often. Many small businesses are very busy and staff often have to eat at their desks or take quick breaks in order to get all of their work done for the day.

So, to reward them for their commitment, take the team (or a single staff member who has gone above and beyond) out for lunch once a week. If you don’t have the time to leave the office, then providing a catered meal at work is a great compromise. This also encourages staff to interact with each other in a casual sense. 

You can even simply provide your staff with a well-stocked refrigerator. Offering free snacks, fruit and drinks will give your staff the chance to spend some time away from their desks without having to leave their office or spend their own cash. It also can help to reenergize them during the later hours of the day.  

Of course, a team potluck is always a hit. This is a great idea if you have a very limited budget. Instead of paying for food, give the team three to four hours off to enjoy a break together, along with some great food. 

Related Article: Get Inspired: The Top 10 Blogs on Sales Management for 2016

Things to Avoid When Rewarding Staff  

When rewarding employees there are some pitfalls that you should be careful to avoid. To keep things fair and keep your employees happy, develop guidelines that state how often rewards should be given out and what type of performance warrants them.  

Ensure that staff members know exactly what it takes to receive perks. Criteria should be advertised to all employees so that they know exactly what needs to be done in order to receive flexible hours or a trip to a seminar. This also ensures that employees cannot accuse you of playing favorites.  

It is also a good idea to start small. Test out how rewarding your employees will work with inexpensive items like $5 or $10 gift cards. You can see how well the program works and how your staff members respond, before offering up larger gifts. 

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