We regularly ask candidates why they are looking for a new opportunity. It often simply comes down to wanting to work somewhere they feel appreciated.
Small gestures and kind words can go a long way. Pay attention the next time you give a compliment. Watch the look on the person’s face when you genuinely show your appreciation and give thanks or praise. I’m not sure that the need for reinforcement changes as we get older, we are generally just expected to get accustomed to hearing less of it.
Most organisations will have some sort of performance reward system in place from generous bonuses, weeks away somewhere exotic and gift vouchers. If you are a businesses that can’t afford these expensive gestures, there are small thoughts that can have a similar effect. Here are a few inexpensive things you can do to show thanks to your employees:
Take your team out
Food is one of the best perks a company can give its employees. Sharing a meal is a great way to build a relationship and get to know your team on another level. If you are not lucky enough to have onsite catering (most start-up tech companies have been catering lunches, desserts and snacks since creation) a regular breakfast or lunch catch up might be in order.
Buy coffees for a regularly scheduled meeting, hold a surprise team lunch or take them out for a few drinks. Considering the substantial cost of an unengaged employee, this small gesture would end up benefiting the company in the long run.
People value their time, if someone has been working hard and pulling in some great results, give them an early mark. An extra hour away from the office at the end of a particularly long work week or project might be the difference between someone feeling appreciated, recognised and refreshed, rather than burnt out. Time off is the most cost effective and usually the most positively responded to perk.
Email and conference calls have made conducting business much easier, but less personal. Without regular face-to-face interaction/feedback, employees may feel removed from the corporate identity. Schedule in time to reconnect with your staff. They may not know how much you value their opinion and their work. Let them know by setting aside this time.
As a general rule, people like public praise. Email the office highlighting a stand out performer or even better, mention it in the next meeting. We frequently talk about what has gone wrong – not the successes or small wins. Be conscious you are not highlighting the same top performers time and time again, don’t forget about the consistent performers!
Making your employees happy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, people want to feel valued. By understanding little things can make a big difference, you’ll be giving your teams a gentle push they need to stay motivated – and when you have a happy and productive workforce, your company will reap the rewards.