As a small business, internal culture and employee appreciation can often be put on the back-burner in attempt to focus on more immediate business issues such as client retention or company expansion, just to name a couple.
But as any business owner or manager knows, the way employees view a company from the inside goes a long ways to determining the company's success, immediate and long term. Employees are, after all, the backbone of a company, so it makes sense that they should be viewed as an investment and treated in a way that demonstrates how much they are appreciated. Employee recognition can no doubt be a substantial expense, but if it leads to higher productivity, then it is always a good investment.
1. Holiday Bonus
Nothing speaks to an employee quite like cash, so be sure to let your employees know you remembered them around the holidays. If it isn't feasible to offer ever employee a gift card or cash, putting those funds into a holiday party with games or raffles for gifts can be a great alternative.
2. Birthday Meals
A great way to let employees know you're thinking of them is by offering them a party on their birthday. For larger companies, having a separate party for every person's special day can quickly grow distracting, so one suggestion is to bundle all of those birthdays into one day where they can all attend a company dinner together. It's a great way to show you care as well as help your employees bond with one another.
3. Free Breakfast
Offering free breakfast in the mornings can be a great way to improve morale. This can also help employees get to work earlier as it means there is one less thing that they need to add to their morning routine. Some people skip breakfast altogether, so offering something as simple as cereal can help make sure employees are starting off the day right.
4. Share their accomplishments with the rest of the company
Everyone loves to be told they're doing a great job, but take it one step further and let the entire company know when someone goes above and beyond. Perhaps you already send a weekly company email updating employees on important deadlines and projects, so incorporating a quick section to highlight recent accomplishments by employees should be incredibly easy.
5. Recognition Awards
Take the last example a step further with a monthly meeting to highlight milestones that your company has reached. Maybe you landed a big client, or maybe you were featured on the local news. At the end of this meeting, incorporate an employee of the month award announcement. This can also help improve competitiveness within the company as everyone would love to be recognized in front of everyone.
6. Pet-friendly workplace
If possible, a great way to increase morale and show your employees that you care about them is to allow them to bring their furry friends to work with them. Multiple studies show that dogs in the work place are known to reduce stress and increase productivity.
Obviously, it is important to set ground rules to ensure that everyone is happy. For example, some employees may not be fond of animals or simply be allergic, so providing a pet free zone will be important to ensuring their happiness as well.
7. Donuts Wednesdays
Towards the middle of the week, employees may start to feel groggy, tired, and lose focus more easily. One way to help employees look forward to coming into work on humpday is providing a morning snack such as donuts or fruit. A quick snack before employees dive into their work for the day is a great way to increase motivation. This doesn't have to be donuts, but
8. Company retreat
If your company is small enough, or has deep enough pockets, a yearly company retreat can be a great way to break the monotony and keep employees satisfied. This can be as simple as renting out a local venue for a company party or as elaborate as a company vacation to Las Vegas. Employees will remember being treated like valued family members.
9. Unlimited breaks
This is a suggestion that should be implemented with caution, but there has been evidence that employees who take more frequent (yet shorter) breaks can be more productive. Instead of offering two 15 minute breaks per day, let your employees feel free to take more frequent breaks. This can go a long way to helping employees feel less like a cog in a machine and more like a valued part of the team.
At the end of the day, no person wants to feel like they are clocking out of a place where they feel micromanaged or undervalued, so one of the absolute best ways to keep employees satisfied is to let them have a certain level of autonomy where they can make their own decisions. Obviously, it is important to be sure that they're getting their work done, but that can be solved by giving them reasons to love the work they do. If they love the work they do, step back and let them do it.