Money is a great motivator but not every business can afford to give their employees lofty compensation packages. As a small or midsize business (SMB) owner, it is up to you to find ways to motivate your employees without driving your company into bankruptcy. While this can pose certain challenges, the good news is that there are plenty of things that today’s employees often appreciate as much as – if not more than - money. Here are a few things employees covet that money can’t buy:
1) Work-life balance
A better work-life balance has been shown to not only decrease employee turnover but also increase productivity. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 89 percent of HR professionals reported an increase in employee retention after implementing flexible work arrangements. Meanwhile, a study of 50,000 global workers by the Corporate Executive Board found that employees who believe they have good work-life balance work 21 percent harder than those who don't.
Consider offering your employees the option to work remotely at least one day a week if the position allows for it or to select work hours that fit into their schedule. Allow them the freedom to cut their workday short to attend their child’s ballet recital or soccer game, or to work from home when they are sick. Show them you understand they have a life outside your office and they are likely to reward you handsomely.
2) A strong company culture
Compensation is only part of the satisfaction an employee should receive from their job. You want your employees to know they’re putting their time to good use when they show up at the office every day. One of the best ways to do this is by enforcing a strong company culture.
There are many ways to implement an effective company culture without breaking the bank. A few ideas include:
Create company traditions that bring people together. For example, you can
Hold a weekly morning get-together in a conference room or break room over coffee or breakfast where employees can chat informally before diving into their day. Allow some flexibility in work schedules to accommodate this. Your employees will be thankful for the chance to re-energize and connect with their peers.
Lead by example – don't forget about the company values and make sure to channel them in your actions every day.
3) Opportunities to grow
Providing employees with opportunities for professional growth is a great way to motivate and inspire your team. Give them a chance to take on more responsibility. Assign them a mentoring role with another employee. Let them show off that they are ready for bigger job descriptions and higher paying positions. Make sure everyone in the company understands where their positions could potentially lead and show them a clear map to get there. Help facilitate their goals and allow them to train for upper level positions when they’ve expressed an interest.
4) Genuine appreciation
Employees don’t always get to see the benefits of their hard work and accomplishments so it is a good idea to show them in the form of your appreciation.
Thank everyone, individually and as a group. Take time to learn what their biggest workplace accomplishments are and don’t let these go unnoticed. Genuine gestures of appreciation will mean a lot to your employees, even if it’s something as simple as a $25 gift voucher to the local coffee shop or a gratitude card signed by management.
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