Business owners and managers expect their staff to do their jobs well, and that’s not a lofty expectation. You hire candidates who are the right fit because of the difference they can make. Employees who make your company a better place, whether it’s through direct bottom line impact, creating operational efficiencies, or advancing your core values, deserve to be recognized for their hard work. Below are five ways to do just that, taking into consideration the restrictions of the pandemic and a future without it.
1. Give a Shout Out
Remember in elementary school when students proudly stood up in front of the class as your teacher announced them as “The Student of the Week.” Perhaps you even earned it. It feels good–really good–to be recognized for a job well done, and how you praise an employee matters. Identify achievements and their impact on your organization. Specific examples paint a better picture and could motivate other employees. The forum could be during a team meeting or when you hold your state-of-the-business meetings.
2. A Meaningful Gift
Everyone enjoys a gift card or a free lunch, but a gift based on an employee’s hobbies or interests can be even more thoughtful. A sports fan would appreciate the personal touch of a hat or shirt. You’d make an employee’s day who loves to cook by surprising that person with a cookbook on grilling. Perhaps someone’s a craft beer fan, and sending them their favorite brew will show that you really care.
3. Office Upgrade
If you allow your employees to work remotely, one way you can reward them is treating them to a home office upgrade. Perhaps you can buy a new desk, chair, or help them with more powerful WiFi. Or, if you’ve been able to safely return to the office, surprise your employee there. Cubicle dwellers want the privacy of an office, office dwellers want more space, office dwellers with more space want an office with a view. Whatever kind of dweller the employee is, give that individual an upgrade.
4. Flexible Schedule
Flexible schedules afford employees better work/life balance, which, among other things, drives engagement. Hopefully, part of adapting to the pandemic meant that you’ve given your staff more flexibility. A top performer deserves more. Consider rewarding this person with more autonomy to make their own work schedule, provided it works for you and the business.
5. An Experience
This is one to consider for the future due to COVID, but when this is over, what if you could create a unique memory for an employee? A study by Harris Group reported that 72 percent of Millennials–the largest generation in the U.S. labor force–prefer to spend more money on experiences versus material items. I’m willing to bet that people of any generation would love admission to an exciting event. There are a plethora of options available including festival or sporting event tickets, spa treatments, an island vacation, etc. It can also add to the celebration of being out of the pandemic woods.
Right now it’s difficult enough to retain staff and manage your business budget. However, no matter what, employees need to feel valued. Recognizing them accomplishes that and will help your reputation.