When you launch and then work to grow a startup, you’ll have lots of things on your mind and to-do list. For example, there’s areas such as sales, marketing, product development, customer service, finance, and accounting. However something you can never pay too much attention to is the state of your team. You need to ensure you create a positive culture in the workplace, and that your employees are happy, engaged, productive, committed, loyal, and challenged to just the right degree.
One of the most important things to concentrate on when it comes to your staff members is making sure they feel recognized for their efforts and their results. Read on for some tips you can follow today to ensure your team know you value them.
1- Give Thanks
As the owner of a startup, you might be worried about how you will be able to afford to spend money on employee recognition strategies. However, while it’s important to invest in your team, keep in mind that there are many affordable options to choose from that don’t have to break the bank. One of these is simply taking the time to thank your workers.
It can make a huge difference if you individually thank team members for their efforts and results, using heartfelt, straight-to-the-point words. In-person gratitude is best, but if this isn’t possible, you can also ring employees, send them a handwritten card, write an email, or chat to them over video conference. For a more public thank you, mention the hard work of top staff members in company newsletters or social media posts, or at events such as company conferences.
2- Celebrate Successes
It’s also important to think about ways you can celebrate successes large and small within your workforce. For example, setting up awards programs can be helpful. Whether you choose an Employee of the Month structure, or something more free-flowing, handing out awards to people in front of their peers can really give them a boost, as well as show the rest of the staff that you take employee efforts seriously, and do really notice the work people put in.
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Other ways to celebrate include having mini office parties, to recognize a job well done by your whole team (e.g. meeting KPIs), or go out for a meal or otherwise spend time together as a group. These occasions provide excellent bonding time for everyone involved, which in turn can help cement work relationships and improve engagement and productivity even further.
3- Reward with Gifts and Perks
Of course, at the end of the day, most people really enjoying being given gifts too. Whether you want to buy birthday or Christmas gifts for all your team members; reward the top performers for the month, quarter or year; or find an administrative gift for that assistant or secretary you don’t know how you could live without, do a quick search online and you’ll find all sorts of great options to choose from.
Remember that you don’t have to outlay a huge amount either. You can buy things like boxes of chocolates, bottles of wine, flowers, hampers, and movie tickets; or give out gift vouchers and pre-loaded credit cards. The best gifts also tend to be those which are personalized specifically for the individual employees you’re presenting them too, and tailored according to their hobbies, family life, or other aspects. In addition, note that if you have the funds available, end-of-year bonuses can also go down a treat with workers.
Perks are another good option to use to recognize your staff members. These can vary according to your business and what you think (or preferably know for sure) your team would like access to, but can include free work lunches; better parking spaces; extra time off work; free massages or access to meditation spaces and gyms; or discounted or zero-cost health insurance and/or childcare.
4- Consider Training and Development
Lastly, don’t forget that these days many employees are just as focused on advancing their career and enjoying new challenges at work, as they are on what they’re actually earning. As such, look for ways to help your team members to grow. You can encourage and perhaps even offer to further their education with an online mba program. That way, you’ll also be investing in your company’s future by investing in its future leaders.
Training programs, motivational speakers, access to key conferences and trade shows, and mentoring programs are all things which can help employees to pursue their goals, and feel valued by their employer as a result.