Successful businesses are wrought from the hands of great employees. When you have outstanding employees – the kind of people who love their jobs, love serving your customers, and are darn good at it to boot – you can be confident knowing your business is headed in the right direction. Great employees empower you to trust that your business will operate smoothly when you’re not there, and free you to delegate tasks while focusing on business growth.
One of the biggest issues small businesses face is retaining talented employees: When you can’t compete in terms of wages and benefits, how can you attract and retain the best employees in your field? The good news is that study after study demonstrates that most employees are more motivated by their work experience than by wages, and it’s far easier for small businesses to implement an innovate employee culture that fosters talent retention. Here are five ways to enhance the employee experience this year.
1. Empower employees to make decisions and innovate
Give employees more control by empowering them to make decisions without your hand-holding, and give employees plenty of opportunities to innovate new ideas. Chances are your employees know your customers better than you do, and they are definitely in the best position to gauge the efficiency of your customer interactions. Encourage employees to present new ideas for serious consideration; when you implement an idea, put the employee behind in charge of managing it. Empowering your employees lends a sense of ownership in your business, and gives them a vested interest in helping you succeed. It will also make your employees happier.
2. Flexible scheduling and more vacation time
These might be the greatest perks you can offer in lieu of greater wages and benefits. One innovative model eliminates the concept of hourly work and places every employee on set wages; employees are assigned to projects and then are largely free to complete related tasks on whatever time schedule works best for them. Liberal vacation time means happier and hungrier employees, and makes it easier to attract and retain talent. Extended weekends and the ability to work from home are also ways you can be more flexible and foster a happy working environment.
3. Recognition and rewards
Recognize a job well-done, celebrate career milestones and give performance-based rewards. When employees feel appreciated, they’ll want to continue working for you. Rewards don’t have to be expensive: a paid half day off, a gas card or reservations at a new hot restaurant can be incredibly meaningful – especially if your rewards match your individual employees’ interests.
4. Breaks in routines
No matter how much someone loves their job, doing the same exact thing day in and day out can take its toll. Seek opportunities to break routines for your employees. One way to do this is to assign team members to specific projects that will help your business grow outside of the day-to-day work routine.
5. Team building events, minus the team building
Too many companies try to take employees on team-building outings, complete with challenges, games and tasks that no one really wants to do. Instead, treat your employees to a stress-free dinner, trip to the local pub or tickets to a concert. If your community hosts a popular festival, reserve a table just for your employees and their families – and don’t expect them to do anything but have a great time. In this manner, you can foster natural team building, which lends itself to a more productive office environment.
How else can you enhance the employee experience this year?