Famed billionaire and business magnate Sir Richard Branson has been quoted as saying "Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients." In the business world, it is also often said it is cheaper to retain an employee than it is to hire a new one. What should the small business owner take from these two sentiments? Keeping your employees happy and recognizing their achievements should be forefront in your mind. Smaller companies often struggle with this because they typically have less money, but just because you can't afford all-expenses-paid convention trips doesn't mean your employees won't value smaller tokens of appreciation. Here are three relatively inexpensive ways you can distinguish their accomplishments.
Give Them an Award
Every business has parameters they measure success by, and virtually every position within an organization has measures they expect their employees to strive for. For example, salespeople usually have sales goals they are encouraged to meet, whether they are commissioned or not. If the salespeople aren't commissioned, they can often lack the motivation to go over and above, especially if they don't feel their efforts are appreciated. Creating a monthly contest to see who can sell the most and awarding the winner with a custom award medal will create a win-win situation—you'll sell product and your employees will be motivated and feel recognized.
Everyone has to eat, and the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, right? Spring for a surprise meal every now and again. It could be as simple as ordering a bunch of pizzas for lunch, getting Chinese takeout when everyone is working late to meet a deadline, or holding an early morning meeting at a local diner and picking up the breakfast tab. You could also hold a contest for the employees to win an opportunity to have a one-on-one lunch with the boss. This will allow you to get to know your employees better and it will also allow them to provide you with feedback and share their ideas. If your employees feel like their contributions matter, they will be that much more willing to go the extra mile for you.
Recognize Accomplishments Publicly
In this age of social media, customers share their opinions about businesses all the time. They give reviews, good and bad, and they provide feedback on your business. When you see a compliment, make sure your staff knows. If an employee was specifically mentioned, let the other employees see you give them kudos. The whole team will feel like winners and will appreciate your respect and acknowledgment that if it weren't for them, you couldn't be where you are.