Happy employees are productive employees. But how can we reward and motivate our staff when we don’t have a big budget? Small business owners, take heart—here are some creative ways to build your people’s loyalty, enthusiasm, and passion for excellence.
One of the most important needs of an individual is a sense of fulfillment: my work is meaningful and appreciated. Hang a bulletin board where you can post positive feedback from clients or customers. Encourage other employees to write and pin ‘thank you notes’ for a co-worker who has helped them or made a positive contribution to a project, no matter how small. In fact, writing a thnak you card or email is a great way for any employee to feel appreciated—and it takes mere minutes to make!
Employees also need to feel that they are not just drones, and that the company supports them as persons and individuals. You can have an ‘Employee of the Week’ that is not based on achievement—just a photo f the person, his hobbies and his family info. This also helps employees get to know each other and bond. You can also celebrate each employees’ birthday by having an office potluck.
You can also give non-monetary rewards for exemplary performance. You can give the employee of the month the best parking spot or extra leave credits. Or write a note highlighting what he did that week/month and include it in his pay envelope—it’s an emotional ‘performance bonus’ that everyone appreciates.
Also encourage people to learn new things so they don’t feel bored or burnt out. You can set up an office library filled with motivational books, books on the industry, tapes, etc. Invite speakers to give talks not just on work but life coaching, work-life balance, health, etc.
Start little ‘clubs’ where co-workers can share hobbies or passions. For example, if several people want to lose weight, then start a Running Club or a Badminton Club. You may even want to approach the nearest gym or fitness center and negotiate a lower rate for your employees! Other great ideas: book clubs, scrapbooking clubs, foodie clubs (you can try different restaurants or exchange recipes).