In today’s small business world, employee recognition revolves around monetary bonuses. Nothing rewards a job well done like extra cash and, while every boss should have a bonus structure in place if they can afford it, don’t underestimate the value of sentimental recognition. Sentimental recognition is a way to promote employee accomplishments that are known to the rest of the company. The “Employee of the Month” is an example of this, but is a plain and dated practice. Try some fun, creative and rewarding ways to recognize your employees using material incentives alongside public acknowledgement:
Flex hours give your employees the “monetary” gift of extra PTO without costing you a dime. Flex hours can range from giving your employee a small window to come in late or leave early for a month or offering several half days as a reward. And, unlike a monetary bonus, it’s not taboo to talk about flex time and colleagues will see the extra time off as a new goal to shoot for.
Create a Resort Workplace
Create a fun workplace or, better yet, let your best employees design it. Companies like Google thrive on creating workplaces their employees never want to leave. Maybe you can’t afford nap rooms and free meals, but you can create an office culture driven by your top employees. Select a committee to decide changes in the office. Reward employees who give both effort and productivity and give them real power and dollars to make changes. Don’t just let them paint the walls a new color, let them choose everything from new amenities to perks for fellow employees. This rewards those on the committee and gives a “we’re in it together” feeling to the whole office.
Sometimes peer recognition is more satisfying because it’s given by those who know their coworkers best. The next time you give recognition and reward to an employee, let him or her choose a coworker they feel is worthy of the same. This would get expensive with monetary bonuses, but it’s easy for rewards like a free PTO day or a lunch on the company’s dime. This gives your employee recognition and boosts his popularity in the office when he takes a colleague along for the ride.
At many companies, management and executives are given smartphones for company email, storage and apps. Popular carriers like T-Mobile manage these business accounts and it’s actually very easy to add a line for extra employees. Reward a top performer with a company smartphone and give them a taste of what management is like. If nothing else, it gives them better access to company email without it looking like you forced it on them.
A Clean Slate
If your company enforces a points system for tardiness or missed days, this is the perfect chance to erase those points for high performance. How you reward this, and how often, is going to be tricky to prevent employees from abusing the system by just giving temporary effort when they need points off the record, but it’s great for the hard worker who was only late because he had a flat tire last month.