During the recent economic downturn, businesses of all sizes struggled to survive, but small businesses were particularly affected. As a result, you may not feel comfortable raising your overhead by providing pay increases or stretching your cash flow with bonuses; however, there are ways in which you can reward your best performers without breaking the bank.
One of the best ways to reward an employee is through sincere recognition of his or her work. Everyone likes to feel appreciated for their contributions. Because of the stress caused by the recession, a lot of business owners may have lost site of that. It’s not too late. Take the time to personally recognize a team member of a job well done. It is a simple act, that can pay huge dividends. I personally know talented people who work for below market-level salaries because they love their work environment and feel valued and appreciated.
Consider doing something fun and spontaneous to reward your team. For example, upon the successful conclusion of a big project at my business, we brought in an ice cream vendor — unannounced — with all the toppings so everyone could enjoy outrageously good ice cream sundaes. We had a blast, and it is something everyone still remembers.(I love this idea!)
For individual rewards, the surprise element works well too. One business owner told me he had an employee’s car completely detailed f(cleaned) for him on site as a way of saying thank you.
The gift of time is always appreciated. If you can’t offer financial rewards, give an employee extra time off or consider allowing them to work from home one day a week. To reward your team, add an additional floating holiday to your traditional calendar and let each team member choose when to use the “reward holiday”.(This was also a great idea - or give them an afternoon off on their birthday)
Money isn’t the only motivator and often isn’t the most affective. So if you find your business doesn’t have the financial footing to increase salaries significantly, find innovative ways to say thank to your team. Remember, it takes a team to raise a small business.
by Susan Wilson Solovic,