Here’s a question: If you had a job where you didn’t feel valued or appreciated—where you felt like you couldn’t make a difference, and that your efforts were going unnoticed—how long would you stick around at that job? It’s a no-brainer: You wouldn’t stay around any longer than you had to. You’d bolt at the first chance you had to find a job where you would feel valued.
And guess what? Your employees feel the same way. That’s why one of the biggest jobs that HR professionals and small business owners face is ensuring that their employees know how valued they are.
And maybe you really do feel valued, but have a hard time proving it—for reasons that boil down to your budget. You can always make employees feel valued by giving them huge raises, but that’s just not an affordable solution. So the question is, how can you show value without blowing your budget?
Affordable Ways to Show Employees You Care
The following suggestions are not necessarily free, but they are low cost and potentially high impact—meaning they can be smart ways to boost your employee retention.
Hold some Innovation Days. Take a couple of days out of each year to let your employees step away from their normal responsibilities and let them address some projects to improve office efficiencies, create a better work environment, brainstorm strategies for the company’s future, or otherwise exhibit their input and their passion.
Schedule some Service Days. Something else you can do is provide employees with a couple of (paid) days each year where they can leave the office to participate in a charity or volunteer project that means something to them—proving that you really care about the things your employees care about.
Stock the kitchen. This is almost a cliché by now, but it’s a cliché because it works: Tell your employees that you care about their commitment to the office, and that the least you can do is offer them free coffee, soft drinks, or healthy snacks.
Schedule some team lunches. Whether monthly or quarterly, offer to buy everyone lunch in order to have some bonding time and company fellowship.
Provide commuter benefits. For employees who travel great distances, offer a monthly stipend to help offset costs.
Offer flexible work hours. Provide employees with greater leeway in when they do their work—thus allowing them to tailor their schedules to their other interests.
Be flexible in your PTO. Why would you care whether employees use their PTO for sick days, vacation, or simply personal time? Be flexible and non-discriminating here.
Offer sabbaticals. What if every five years, an employee got a free week off from work? That could really help employees feel valued over the long haul.
These ideas are really just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a final secret: Your employees will appreciate effort. Whatever you can do to show you care, it won’t go unnoticed or ignored. And when you make an effort, you shouldn’t be surprised when employees return it.
Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and is known as one of the most sought after team building experts in the United States and internationally.
He is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micromanaging the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, Heineken, IBM, and Hewlett Packard.