By: Barry Moltz
Most entrepreneurs get so caught up in operating their businesses everyday that they forget to reward the one thing that makes their company a success: their employees. Most would admit that they take their employees for granted until there is a crisis. The occasional fancy gift or bonus is always appreciated, but a successful culture is built by rewarding a company’s employees everyday.
Here are 5 no cost ways to reward your employees right now:
1. Catch them doing something right.
Ken Blanchard had the right idea. There is nothing sweeter to an employee’s ear than validation from their boss that they are doing a good job. Frequently practice this by walking around the company to tell employees by name what a good job they are doing. Entrepreneurs need to make it a daily practice to pause to say thank you for the job individual employees do.
2. Informal quarterly performance reviews.
Most businesses don’t do performance reviews annually because they believe it takes too much work or they are worry they will run afoul of labor laws. Every entrepreneur needs to push past this barrier. Require managers in the organization to do informal quarterly reviews with each employee. This does not need to be a long drawn out or overly documented affair (15 minutes maximum). This practice will further help direct the employees toward improving their performance and setting the appropriate expectations.
3. Empower employees to do the right thing.
Give employees the ability to make decisions within their area of responsibility. They should be able to make 95 percent of all the daily decisions on their own without talking to a manager if they are trained effectively. In addition, give them an easy mechanism for feedback to management and enable them to suggest solutions as part of that process. When employees identify the problems and are part of the solution, every change will be implemented much for efficiently.
4. No penalty for failing the first time.
Create an environment where failure is not exactly encouraged, but neither is it a job-threatening event. In order for employees to take risks, they need to be supported if the results come out not as expected. When failure occurs, never blame the person. Fully debrief employees immediately. Learn anything that can be gleaned from the experience together and set a new course based on the last result.
5. Opportunities to improve employees’ careers.
Sending employees to seminars, trade conferences, or other advanced education shows that the entrepreneur is investing in their individual future, not just the business. When an employee can further their individual skills to be used at the company and beyond, this is viewed as a very valuable reward.