A connected team that is loyal to and inspired by the company and its vision is the heartbeat of any successful organization. Individual team members who feel valued and believe their contribution is an essential part of their organization will be more creative, more dedicated, more motivated to achieve goals, improve productivity, and grow revenue.
Showing employees that you recognize their day-to-day achievements and consider them an integral part of your organization shouldn’t be a special occasion, it should be a part of the company’s daily culture.
Below are five suggestions leaders can recognize the sacrifices and hard work of their employees.
1) Have a policy to offer the option of flex time
Understand that your employees have personal obligations both big and small. Offering them a way to structure their days so that they can create greater stability and less stress for themselves and their families shows that you care about them as a person and not just as an employee.
This could look like making up time taken for whatever reason by taking shorter lunches for a period of time or working after hours if their position allows for that flexibility. It’s important to ensure the team member who uses flex time is not abusing the offering or else it can affect the entire team negatively and create an atmosphere of apathy. Make sure you have a strong system in place to manage tracking flex time.
2) Provide more paid time off
Giving the gift of time is an option that really can’t be beat. Allowing your team the ability to take breaks when needed minimizes burnout and keeps your team both mentally and physically healthier.
Take a look at your current PTO structure and compare it to national trends and standards. Have your human resources managers compare your offerings with your competitors to ensure you’re not at a disadvantage.
Make it easy to request time off with a culture that doesn’t need a reason why. No one should need to explain why they need to take time off unless they want to share this information.
Reward positive results with time off.
Consider structuring your team to a four-day work week if possible without reducing their salary. Allow your team members to rotate having an additional day off from work especially if their job typically experiences high turnover and burn out.
3) Develop a system to award bonuses and raises
Covid-19 affected the pocket book of many companies, but as the economy starts to stabilize, it’s imperative to share the wealth as soon as possible. If your company has survived and come out on top during this difficult period, you owe that largely to your employees. Reward them accordingly.
If you’re unsure how to afford bonuses, try thinking outside the box. Do you have salaried and commissioned employees? Consider structuring the commission pay to invest a small portion to the support staff as an annual bonus that could be divided according to the person’s tenure and performance or simply divided equally. This can be a program where the commissioned staff opts-in and is considered a thank you to their support staff around the holidays.
Another model would be to look at the net profit of the organization at the end of the year and base bonuses off the % of growth from the previous year. If your organization grows their profit by 20% then all employees would receive a 20% bonus based on their salary. Talk with your accountant on what model may best fit your organization and financial goals.
When you provide for your team above and beyond a living wage to the point they are able to afford to purchase real estate for the first time, child care, vacations, and other desires of the all American dream, your team will be loyal and dedicated to your mission in the long-term. Because you have invested in your people when they invested in your mission, you will reap the many benefits of this symbiotic relationship.
Unintended Consequences of Raises and Bonuses
If you don’t tie financial rewards to performance albeit collective or individual productivity and results, it can easily plant the seed of division in a team for any member who wasn’t pulling their weight. Other team members can easily become apathetic and lose motivation if everyone is rewarded regardless of effort and outcomes.
Make sure you have communicated with your team leaders or managers to ensure performance reviews have been completed, that you are hiring people who have the soft and hard skills needed to create a healthy team, and that individuals who aren’t able to perform and lack the emotional intelligence to improve are placed on a performance improvement plan and removed from the organization if they can’t meet basic requirements and expectations.
4) Celebrate your team
Don’t just recognize birthdays and anniversaries, reward your team in other ways as well. When you have a big company success, host a pizza party for the whole organization. When you know it’s been a stressful week or month, treat the team to a travelling masseuse to give chair massages.
Give praise regularly. Ask your managers what is going right? Who is performing well? Who has improved? Publicly praise individuals on a regular basis for their efforts. Establish an Employee of the Month program that rewards those team members who go above and beyond. Consider having the nominations come from their colleagues.
Host a dinner or happy hour event for employees only to get to know each other outside of work. Host a quarterly or bi-annual family event outside the office for employees and their families. Find reasons to celebrate your team.
5) Support their professional development
Reimbursement for training or advanced education is a great way to show your employees that you value their contributions. If there is another department in the company that they are interested in, provide them with cross-training and/or pair them up with a mentor.
Consider hosting “Lunch & Learns” to improve technological skills, understanding of other department’s processes and procedures, and continuing education needed for licensing. Lunch & Learns include lunch! A team that is not hungry is a happy team.
Teams that feel valued communicate better and are more cohesive. Cohesive teams lead to increased performance and efficiency which leads to higher profits and revenue.
No matter how you choose to show your team that they are valuable, the key is to be sincere. When company leaders genuinely value the individuals that make up the organization; the culture, vision and mission will align.