It has been shown many times that rewarding positive behaviour in our staff not only leads to greater productivity, but also loyalty and dedication. With the festive season upon us, the notion of giving is even more present. As many businesses struggle in uncertain economic times, financial incentives and bonuses are a luxury many small business owners cannot afford.
While monetary rewards can be effective, there are other ways you can make your staff feel appreciated, and by adding a little holiday cheer, ensure that they are motivated in the New Year.
A little goes a long way
You may not be able to give large financial bonuses. However, if your team is small and you are able to invest some funds, a fun way of rewarding staff and marking the season is by giving each member $50 to $100 to spend on the day, with the condition that they must spend it on themselves.
At the end of the day, have the team show and tell what they chose to splurge on. So often we tend to spend monetary gifts on other people or less-than-exciting purchases, so the experience will not only be fun for the team but will also allow them to treat themselves.
The gift of yourself
If money is tight, think outside the box and consider what things you could do for your staff. Even small, lighthearted things like washing their car, cooking them a meal or even bathing their dog can not only show you care, but can also inject some humour, as the novelty of having the boss work for them is something most employees relish.
Give your products or services
Depending on your business, you may be able to gift or discount your own products or services. In addition to being more financially viable than other gifts, it gives your staff firsthand experience with your product. Remember that word of mouth of staff members can be very effective.
Call upon your networks
If, like many small business owners, you have learnt the great value in having a varied and loyal network, the holidays can be a good time to call upon your contacts and organise special treats for your team. Local businesses are often happy to offer free services or products as a way of forging new business relationships and increasing exposure, and your team can benefit.
Free or low-cost self-development
Research what courses are running in your local area and invite your team along for some self-development. Remember, the aim is for your staff to enjoy themselves, so avoid overly work-related areas and instead aim for recreational-type activities. It can also be a great idea to allow them to bring along their partner to make the experience more personal.
The gift of time
We often get caught up in the material side of the festive season. However, a great way of showing your staff you appreciate them is by giving them time away. If this is not feasible during the holiday period, organise for each member to book a day for themselves in the New Year, or give them a “day-off pass”, where a day off can be redeemed during the year, no questions asked.
Rewards need not be given only during the festive season. Make it your New Year’s resolution to make your staff feel appreciated and acknowledged the whole year round.
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Nick Petrovic is a registered psychologist and head of clinic at the Mind Profile Psychology Clinic and has more than 10 years' experience in the allied health and business. Nick has contributed to regular columns in more than a dozen business magazines and newspapers, advising on issues such as mental health, work related stress, strategic planning, business analysis and human resources.