How to motivate employees
Small businesses often struggle with questions of how to motivate employees without breaking the bank. Yes, you still need to pay competitive compensation to get people in the door, but the perks are what will help you retain them. It doesn’t have to be choice tickets to professional sporting events or company ski retreats either. In fact, there are a number of low cost ideas for small businesses looking to motivate employees and show them that they’re highly
How to motivate employees without going broke
Knowing how you can motivate your employees will help you attract top talent, increase employee satisfaction, and reduce costly employee turnover. Ultimately, motivating employees with perks and flexibility is far more profitable than scaling back on your benefit expenses to save a few bucks. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Flex time — Workplace flexibility fuels employee engagement. Some organizations require employees to be at work during core hours, and employees can set their schedule around this. Others allow employees to put in hours at their own discretion. Most require employees to have a set schedule so managers can plan for coverage. The schedule may be adjusted to accommodate personal matters like doctor’s appointments.
Summer hours — Let employees kick back early on Fridays during the summer months, allowing them to beat the heat as well as the traffic if they’re heading out to the beach for a weekend.
Optional telecommuting — In an increasingly mobile and digitally connected world, many employees can easily and successfully work from home part- or full-time with the help of technology.
Sabbaticals — Offer month-long sabbaticals after five years of service, or two months after 10 years of service.
Flexibility in paid time off — Let employees choose how to use their paid time off bank (vacation, sick, and personal time) to best meet the needs of their individual situations.
A culture of work/life balance — Create an atmosphere where it really is okay to leave the office before 6 p.m. as long as employees remain productive and accountable.
Parental leave –– The United States has some of the weakest paid family-leave benefits among western nations. While some states guarantee paid leave, it’s not a federal mandate. You can immediately differentiate your company by making sure all employees are eligible for paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child.
Adoption assistance — This financial assistance can be used for legal expenses, adoption agencies, or other professional fees.
Acknowledgment of significant others — When employees do have to work late hours, the people who really pick up the slack are their spouses who are forced to work double duty. Acknowledge their contributions by sending flowers or gift cards, along with a personal note to acknowledge their contribution.
Canine colleagues — Got an office full of dog lovers? Then invite house-trained visitors to join the team. Pets are family, too!
Fully stocked kitchen — Provide free coffee, soft drinks, and snacks for employees during work hours. Want to bump this up a notch? Keep organic milk in stock and add fresh fruit and other healthy options to the shopping list.
Free lunch –– Order in for your employees once a week to foster community and give employees a break from packing their lunches.
Easier dinnertimes — Take care of the people who matter by enlisting a vendor to deliver ready-to-eat healthy dinners that employees can elect to purchase and take home to their families.
Take-out meals — To help make things easier, allow new moms and dads to expense up to $300 for take-out meals during the first three months that they are home with their new baby.
Innovation days — Set aside several days a year to allow employees to step away from their usual responsibilities and tackle projects related to the way they work and the spaces in which they work. Results can be shared in a company meeting the following morning.
Wellness benefits –– Reimburse employees for purchases related to fitness (up to $300/year). Items reimbursed may include gym memberships, running shoes, yoga mats, and bicycles.
No dress code — Relax. Ties, suits, and dresses should be optional, but you also want to establish some baselines (i.e., no shorts, flip-flops, or ripped jeans).
Gift matching — Establish a policy where your company matches their employees’ charitable donations, based on what the company can afford.
Green initiatives –– Provide preferred parking and/or subsidies for those who purchase and drive hybrid and electric vehicles. Better yet, install electric vehicle chargers for EV drivers.
Paid time off to volunteer — Give employees a specific amount of time to volunteer in their communities.
Cultural extras — Keep the workplace exciting by mixing in rewards like concert tickets or movie outings. Don’t forget to throw some cash your employees’ way to cover the babysitter.
Monthly commuter benefits — Offer a monthly stipend ($100 or so) for those who commute by public transportation. In many cities where mass transit is used, companies offer tax-free transit fare programs. These programs also save companies money in payroll taxes.
Free chair massages — Provide fifteen minutes in the chair once a week, and your employees will return to their desks refreshed and ready to tackle their to-do lists.
Tech neutrality –– Offer the choice of PCs or Macs so employees can work on the machine with which they’re more comfortable.
Perks for part-time employees — Many organizations treat part-time workers like they were temps. Provide part-time (and temporary contract) workers with perks and they’ll be acting like full-time workers in no time.
Laundry service — Employ a service to pick up employees’ clothes and drop them off back at work, clean and folded.
Car care — Who has time to take their car in for an oil change? Companies can arrange for a service to come to the office and take care of this messy task while employees are working.
Employee referral programs –– Good people know other good people, and the best employees are usually hired through referrals. Offer those who refer candidates who are hired a cash bonus award.
Cleaning services — Sweep employees off their feet by hiring professional cleaners to tidy up their homes periodically.
Tuition forgiveness — Offer to pay a percentage of tuition owed, per year of employment, for hard-to-fill positions that are appropriate for recent grads.
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Your people are the heart of your organization, so it pays not just to understand how to motivate employees, but also how to recruit them in the first place. Monster has a wealth of expertise when it comes to human resources. Consider signing up for the Monster Hiring Solutions enewsletter and we’ll send you tips on the latest hiring trends, retention strategies, and more.