5 Cost-Effective Ways to Reward Your Valuable Employees
Rewarding employees with something other than cash is a cost-effective way to motivate them while letting them know how much you value their efforts. Sometimes simple things, such as handwritten notes, sincere praise, and quality communication with the boss, can be enough. But for non-cash rewards beyond these, dare to be inventive and use your imagination.
#1: Employee awards
Did you know employees remember tangible awards more than cash because of the emotions involved? From “Employee of the Month” to “Job Well Done,” recognizing their outstanding efforts with an award certificate and/or ceremony creates a bond between you and your employees. You can add benefits to the award, such as a designated parking place, a plaque, coffee mug, or an afternoon off. Awards also can be a way of showing your appreciation and support for the special efforts of a particular employee, such as someone who’s always on time or an inspiration to others.
#2: Extra time off
Time off is a valuable incentive for most employees. It can be for an expressed purpose, such as volunteer work once a week, or in general for errands, appointments, or personal leisure time. By giving employees extra time off, you give them a break while motivating them to do an even better job.
#3: 10-minute meditation breaks
Even brief breaks during the day can relax the body and relieve stress. Begin by offering your employees 10 minutes each day for simple meditation in a quiet spot at a designated time. If your employees aren’t familiar with meditation, print and post simple instructions, such as “Take slow, deep breaths, completely filling your lungs with air and then slowly exhaling. Repeat this several times, close your eyes, and imagine being in your favorite place in nature doing something you love.” You also can choose from the wealth of meditations available online, on CD and DVD, or create your own.
#4: Group lunches
Inspire your employees by providing a special monthly lunch to show your appreciation. You can either pay for it, prepare it yourself, or make it a potluck where everyone brings and shares food. Encourage employees to bring in music, photos, terrific ideas, jokes, quotes, and other material to inspire and motivate everyone.
When you have reliable employees who consistently benefit your business, offering them flexibility so they can better manage and balance their home life is almost a no-brainer. However, some employers are rigid in their approach to work hours or time off, especially in retail, since it requires extra scheduling efforts on the manager’s part to both ensure the store is covered and accommodate employees’ requests. But those efforts will pay off when employees remain loyal and happy. Consider allowing them more say in their work schedule, giving them flex time for doctor appointments and family needs, allowing them to bring kids to work when necessary (with rules to prevent disruption), and letting them do at home any tasks that don’t require them to be on site, such as preparing your e-newsletter or updating your website. These seem like small gestures, but giving employees more control over their work life will set you apart as an employer.
First published in Vol. 26 No. 1 of Retailing Insight. © 2012 Continuity Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.