Your small business doesn’t need a big budget to reward employees for excellence. Often, non-cash rewards that show your appreciation are more appealing to staff and have a greater impact on employee morale and productivity. Employees who feel valued are also easier to retain. Choose alternative ways to reward your employees so you can grow your business without exhausting your finances.
Host a Friday Happy Hour
Consider rewarding your employees by providing Friday afternoon beverages and snacks. Socializing brings your team together to unwind at the end of the work week. And as a busy boss, you gain opportunities to get to know each person better in a less formal setting. Try hosting one happy hour per month. This saves you money and gives your staff something to look forward to every few weeks. For example, you could have a Friday happy hour on the last payday of each month. To encourage your team to leave their desks and mingle, you could hold your happy hour in the boardroom.
If you prefer to meet up more frequently, act as an organizer rather than footing the whole bill. You can offer to cover the first round of drinks at a local spot and even plan a few icebreaker games to get everyone out of work mode. Consider issuing an employee-of-the-month award at your happy hour. A light-hearted social event is an opportune time for colleagues to acknowledge the hard work of a team member.
Provide Opportunities to Work Remotely
Running a small business gives you more leeway to accommodate flexible working arrangements. And if you use cloud software for key business operations, you can share information in real time with staff members who work remotely. You can reward your staff by letting them work from home occasionally. Working remotely is invaluable to parents who are juggling family responsibilities with work, and flexible arrangements make your staff less likely to call out for sick days or personal days. If you reduce productivity loss, your business profits in the long run.
Offer Flexible Work Schedules
Most businesses have slow periods throughout the week or brackets of time when specific team members are less essential. When the job permits, why not reward employees by letting them choose the hours they work? But avoid doling out incentives in a way that pits your staff against one another. For example, if you only reward the employee with the highest sales, your well-intentioned gesture could cause resentment and low morale among the rest of the team. Think about ways to show recognition for different types of skills and milestones to make sure your whole team feels valued.
Give Out Promotions
Think about promoting employees as a reward even when you can’t afford a big bump in pay. Moving a step up the career ladder is a huge confidence and engagement booster for many employees. Let your staff know a promotion is on offer for exceptional performance. But keep in mind, promotions don’t have to elevate employees into a management role. You can fill a newly created position or suggest a lateral move that’s better suited to your employee’s talents. Consider the example of an online retailer. A web store that started out small may have a greater need for digital marketing as the business grows. You could give the role to a sales employee who’s a whiz at leveraging social media trends.
Reward Employees With Special Projects
Have you had moments when an employee is so passionate about a project that he can’t stop talking about it? Take note of topics that interest your employees so you can assign projects they love as a salute to great work. Reward employees by allowing them to work on projects they have an interest in but that fall outside the scope of their day-to-day role. Special projects develop your staff’s expertise in other areas of your business while letting them contribute in empowering ways.
Create Personalized Gifts
Personalized gifts are a more traditional way to reward employees. And the gifts don’t have to cut deep into your pockets. You could give gifts that align with each employee’s interests. For example, movie passes, lunch vouchers, or concert tickets are a low-cost gift for employees who crave memorable experiences. Extra vacation days or birthdays off may be more attractive to employees who work long hours, have families, or just want to relax. Consider combining rewards with professional development for employees who value growth and learning. The eager go-getter in your group may appreciate a one-on-one mentoring session or training opportunities more than money or free items.
A one-size-fits-all approach is likely to backfire if you assume you know what employees want without talking to them. More than anything, employees want their efforts to matter. With this in mind, give your staff the gift of choice. Create low-cost employee perks, and let your team members choose which incentives are best for them. Your greatest advantage as a small business is the freedom to try new things without a lengthy, mind-numbing administrative debate.
By varying rewards, it’s also easier to balance the amount of money you spend on employee incentives. Accounting software can help you determine how much to set aside and structure your incentive program around your budget. 4.3 million customers use QuickBooks. Join them today to help your business thrive for free.