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Make your staff feel valued

By Craig Bulow, founder of Corporate Away Days

Every small business owner know that their team is there biggest asset, and it is also true that an employee who feels appreciated will always do more than expected. 

Rewarding your staff is a sure way to improve employee motivation, create an appreciative culture and an atmosphere which improves company productivity, employee mental health and overall wellbeing. 

If you care about your staff here are some proven strategies for rewarding them and boosting their wellbeing:

A big trophy

Fun, laughter and recognition. Get a big trophy and give it to the employee you are recognising for the month. At the end of the month, they must return the trophy but they need to add one thing to it (you may be surprised by how many things can stick to a trophy.) Next month give it to the next winner. At the end of the year, you'll have a trophy with 52 things stuck to it. It looks hysterical and has lots of memories. Start a new trophy every year. The previous year’s can go in your reception area.

Flexible working

Let your team work when and where they want. The flexibility can be worth a lot more than cash. Maybe they won’t need day care services for their child, for example, if they can make their own schedule. Perhaps reducing the commute into the office can pay for better productivity, through time not spent travelling and less stress.

Thank you note

Saying thanks for something specific may be the ultimate reward. If you do it selectively yet authentically, not on an email, a thank you note may be pinned above your employee’s desk for years. They won’t forget it and will tell others, creating a rewarding and appreciative working culture that pushes others to receive a personal note.

Corporate away days

A corporate away day for individuals across the workplace, from different departments, instils trust, improves connections and communication, and brings individuals together. Mixing different departments is great, or you can reward a specific team if you prefer. 
 
If the away day is exciting, engaging, inspiring and fun, the collective experience and memories created will create a new buzz in the office which will spread. Other employees will want to meet their work targets to be included on the next one. Videos and pictures from the day, shown in the office, create great discussions other than ‘work in progress’. 

Time off

A few extra days off at Christmas or New Year to enable staff to extend their holidays. As the employer is probably taking a bit of time off, it’s nice to let some employees have the same luxury. You could also give them their birthday off or offer duvet days – these are effective ways to reward your best employees. The gift of time is a welcome gesture to most people.

Founder’s wall

Instead of a wall of fame for employee photos, create a wall that not only recognises employees with a photo, but with a short description and timeline of how they have contributed to where the company is today. Make sure you can add to their accomplishments as they keep succeeding.

Money

Money is the number one satisfier, but appreciation is the number one motivator. 

A financial bonus might be given to reward hard work, or for completing a project on time, within budget and to a high standard, or it may be for a sustained period of great work. Whatever the reason, cash bonuses offer a quick and easy way to show appreciation and reward your staff. 

Giving bonuses is one of the simplest rewards to manage as it is easily monitored and given to multiple employees in privacy. There is a downside; the reward is usually short-lived. Once it’s expected/received, in the mind of the employee it is as if its already spent, so it loses the reward value.

Conclusion

Rewarding your employees is a great way to show your appreciation for their hard work. Knowing that we are appreciated means that we feel better, and our mental health generally improves. That is good individuals, for the team we’re part of and for the business.