Marie’s musings…
Last week I shared with you my activity in determining your Circle of Support—people who help your business succeed. Many of you responded that you loved the exercise and that it helped you gain clarity about your business support team. For those of you who missed it, you might take another look—it’s good stuff! While you appreciated the clarity, it seems like you also needed some help with your employees being excited about your vision. I could write for months on learning organizations and how leaders create shared vision among all. For now, I’ll provide some quick tips regarding employee motivation…I’m sure that you’ll think of more. I’m waiting to hear of your successes!

Employee motivation

Employee Carrot
Motivating your employees will help your bottom line.

Keeping employees motivated is imperative, and you can do many things besides the traditional cash bonus. Here are twelve ideas that cost little yet go a long way with employees, contractors, and other business associates.

1. Compressed workweek.

Employees love getting Friday afternoon off, or even a full day a week. Providing weekday time off cuts absenteeism since the employee has a window to run any personal errands that need to be done during business hours.

2. Social activities.

Create social events that become a tradition in your company. The employees will look forward to them. If you’re not sure what to do, consider the hobbies of your employees, plan an event based on a holiday or anniversary, or simply have a meal out.

A business owner who offers training classes can have movie showings in their training rooms complete with popcorn on Wednesday evenings. The cost of the movie and popcorn is minimal compared to the fun everyone will have.

3. Telecommute part-time.

If possible, consider allowing employees to work from home one day a week. They love the flexibility; often get more done without constant interruptions, and save road time.

4. Customized recognition.

Every employee likes to be recognized for a job well done, but each may differ in exactly how the recognition is expressed. Instead of guessing, ask the employee whether they prefer gift certificates, time off, sports event tickets, cash, or public recognition. If you are recognizing several simultaneously you might try to rotate the method of appreciation.

5. Bring a child to work.

Last-minute emergencies can come up regarding child care, and the question is whether the employer can help out. Sometimes this is not possible; other times it will create no hardship to allow well-behaved children in your workplace. Create a policy around when employees can bring little ones to work. You might also want to have a list of childcare and/or eldercare referral services handy for emergencies.

6. Education.

Education is always a great perk. Here are some ideas along those lines:

  • Cross-train employees on job duties other employees do so you have a deeper bench of knowledge to pull from.
  • Consider reimbursing for professional memberships or allowing employees to attend professional association events.
  • Bring in an instructor who can teach self-defense.
  • Have on-site fitness classes.
  • Encourage employees whose first language is not English to take English as a second language or accent reduction classes.
  • Send employees to learn a foreign language.
  • Bring in a teacher for CPR and first aid training.

7. Stress reduction.

Who isn’t stressed out? Treat employees to a massage, or bring in an instructor who can teach stress-reduction techniques like meditation, tai chi or yoga.

8. Casual dress.

On days with no client appointments or perhaps every Friday, offer a casual dress day. It cuts down on dry cleaning and employees appreciate the flexibility.

9. Errand concierge services.

Cut down on absenteeism and long lunch hours by bringing the errands to the employees. I suspect local businesses would love the business. Find a nearby dry cleaner that can pick up onsite and maybe even throw in a discount. Do the same for car wash services, take-home meals from a caterer or local restaurant, prescription refills, postal services, banking, and more.

10. Transportation.

Offer a subsidy for carpooling, public transit subsidy, or purchasing a hybrid car. Coordinate employee schedule so they can travel to work together, thus strengthening their personal connections.

11. Discounts on products and services.

Provide discounts on your services or merchandise for employees. All employees love a discount and you want them to purchase and promote your products and services. Be sure to be generous with your employee discounts.

12. Time off.

Offer a creative twist to holiday pay. Instead of the standard holidays, allow employees to have their birthday or job anniversary as paid time off. Consider also providing pay while philanthropic employees volunteer their time and talents to nonprofits.

Try one or more of these twelve employee perks to rev up the motivation on your team, or use your imagination to keep your team alive and dynamic. We’d love to hear of new and exciting ideas that have worked for you!