Good employees are hard to find—and expensive to train. If you’ve got one you want to hold onto, it pays to think about how you can meet their needs so they’ll want to stick around.
According to the Pew Research Foundation, a happy workforce can:
- Increase task accuracy by 19 percent
- Boost sales by 37 percent, and
- Improve overall productivity by 31 percent.
Those are good numbers, when you consider how inexpensive it can be to make employees happy.
Show them some appreciation
More than one in four employees said they believe that the highest barrier to work engagement is not feeling properly appreciated and valued. Employees who believe they are not valued will flee for another job where leaders might better understand their worth. More than half in the Pew study named employee recognition by leaders as something that would improve their own company engagement.
Best of the month
How can you recognize your best employees? One tried-and-true method is the Employee of the Month award. For a low investment, managers can choose an employee to honor and release his or her name. Other employees will want to be chosen. The honored employee will tell his friends and family about this honor, maybe even on social media. To be selected as the best among your peers feels good emotionally and can be a great motivator.
Best of the rest
Of course, Employee of the Month honors goes to only one employee at a time. How can you keep the rest engaged and productive? Incentive awards are proven motivators, too. Any employee with perfect attendance should be able to look forward to extra paid time off. You might award added paid days off at the successful completion of a big project, and direct compensation for the extra time and energy the employees devoted to that project. Cash bonuses are always appreciated, too.
Engaging their hearts
Everyone loves to receive gifts, and swag imprinted with your company name and logo not only serves as rewards, but as advertisements for your business. Phone accessories, laptop pouches, and coffee mugs make employees feel they are part of the team and also put your business’s name out there. Employees seem to appreciate “fun” swag the most—items that they can use in their leisure-time hobbies, such as wireless speakers, golf balls, and workout equipment. Bamboo kitchen utensils, garden seeds, and insulated tumblers are inexpensive but greatly appreciated gifts that can carry your company name.
Look for giftable occasions
Depending on your business model, you can give an employee a token gift on the spot, when you see them behaving in an especially helpful way. Or you can reward a year of faithful service with an expenses-paid trip to a convention or professional growth opportunity. Year-end group outings and team-building seminars can reward the whole company and give employees a fresh perspective.
Look for reasons to give your employees tangible tokens of your appreciation, and they will want to stay with you for another year.