Boosting staff morale on a budget
Christian Piatt is the president of MyWordTree, providing writing, editing, marketing, web and graphic design services for small businesses. MyWordTree is currently offering a 10% discount on Branching Out, a weekly automated drip campaign service, with the promotional code "RAIN."
It’s not an easy time to be a business owner. Costs are increasing while, in most industries, sales are in decline. We recognize that maintaining a happy, faithful and skilled staff is critical to our long-term success, but how do we address their expectations for raises and benefits every year if we’re barely making payroll?
It’s easy to get hung up on money as the single most important criteria for employee happiness, but it turns out there are other things that are more important. Although a staff member may say that pay is key, studies have shown that several other incentives actually have a greater, more lasting, impact on performance and fidelity than raises.
Consider these tips on how to keep your workers happy when your purse strings are tight:
Recognize: A good rule of thumb is to remember to say “thank you” as often as you are asking someone to do something for you. Part of this climate of gratitude is developed in the day-to-day manner in which we address employees, but we also should make sure to recognize good performance on a regular basis in print, before a group or otherwise. Public recognition has been shown to have a more positive impact on worker satisfaction than more money.
Take time: It doesn’t cost much, but a face-to-face lunch with support staff can demonstrate your interest in those who work for you as people. Your time and attention are an important investment that we can easily overlook when we’re busy, but planning at least one lunch a week, or a month in smaller offices, can pay off. Face time over lunch is also a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of potential problems and concerns before they get out of hand. Don’t have time for a lunch? Pop in an associate’s office and invite them to coffee.
Be flexible: Instead of coming to review time with nothing to offer, consider other benefits you can provide to dependable employees instead of a raise. Some parents might appreciate the chance to come in later one day a week, or to work from home on Fridays. If someone has proven themselves to be a valuable, reliable asset, honor and reward that performance with trust, in the form of more personal freedom. Another flex option is to allow someone time off to return to school so they can pursue advancement opportunities.
Outsource: Looking to take some burdens off of your current staff, but lacking the resources to hire another full-time person? There are some jobs that can be easily outsourced, and with a growing work-from-home pool of employees, you may find someone who is more qualified than you think. From virtual assistants who can manage calls and emails to public relations experts, accountants and even sales people, technology has greatly expanded the number of positions that can be done remotely. Many remote employees will work by contract, which means no benefits to pay, and most are willing to work part-time. You eliminate the cost of office space, equipment and all of the other expenses associated with full-time workers.
We’d all love to make more money, but sometimes hard time give rise to ideas that we might not otherwise come up with. Your people are your organization’s most valuable asset; invest in them wisely!
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