A top contender for the provider of the most awesome and unusual employee perks must be Chesapeake Energy, based in Oklahoma City. The corporate campus boasts a 72 000-square-foot fitness facility, tanning beds and spray tanning, free scuba certification and an employee garden the size of a city block. Oh, and a health and dental centre providing dermatology treatments like Botox.
Being the second biggest producer of natural gas in the States, Chesapeake Energy is a big player, and so can afford to be somewhat lavish with showering its employees with benefits. But what do you do if you’re a small business wanting to treat your deserving employees?
Here are some affordable ways to show your appreciation and reward your employees.
Casual dress days will make people more excited to go to work, and will make them feel more comfortable in the work environment. You can institute a casual Friday, or randomly choose to add extra casual days to the calendar. You can even make themed casual dress days. For instance, everyone could wear the colours of their favourite teams when a big game comes up. This will put everyone in a cheerful mood, and maybe spark some playful bantering.
On that note, organise events for when a team does well as a whole. They need not be expensive affairs. For instance, you could have everyone bring their speciality dish to a barbeque. This will also promote their effectiveness as a team.
Reward your employees with time off. This is a great motivator and you’ll be surprised to see how quickly your employees start working when you offer to let them leave 30 minutes or an hour early, or if you give them the option of coming to work an hour late on Monday.
In the Kitchen
Besides having your kitchen stacked with coffee, tea, water dispensers and perhaps some fruit as snacks, you could have special days established for extra treats. For instance, you bring in bagels and donuts once a week for a delicious breakfast, or establish a “pizza day” once a month. This will give something for your employees to look forward to.
Commemorate special occasions and holidays with food, like cake or cupcakes on an employee’s birthday, Easter eggs around Easter, matzoh during Passover, and candy canes during Christmas. This lets people know that they’re not locked away from the outside world when they’re at the office.
If someone’s done something with excellence, take the time out to personally let them know. Don’t just assume that it’s in their job description to do their best, and therefore achievement need not be acknowledged. Instead of telling people that everyone is doing great, take the time to pull a particular person into your office, or to write an email letting him or her know that you’ve noticed the quality of work. You could also recognise the employee publicly by posting something about their work on your bulletin board, or sending out an email highlighting their achievements.
However, although recognising your employees’ individual efforts is important, make sure that nobody ever feels left out by only recognising the same few employees. Why not send flowers to one of the less prominent “behind the scenes” individuals?
Feeling that individually their work is being noted and appreciated can mean so much more for an employee than expensive benefits. And it doesn’t subtract from your bottom line.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Queenie Bates is an avid reader and writer, based in Cape Town, South Africa.