Not all companies take the time to design perks and incentives in the most effective ways. Although offering corporate perks can have positive impact on employee engagement, many employers do not truly consider what they offer and why. If not done strategically some perks loose their initial motivating factor, and just become a general expectation like free coffee. Or worse some may backfire resulting in adverse impact on morale and engagement.
There are many proven techniques to drive employee engagement but there’s no one-size-fits-all model. As business owners you will need to develop a mix of strategies that fit your organizational goals, structure, workforce makeup, and culture.
Managers should engage with employees in meaningful ways and take time to identify perks that create the desired results. Here are a few guidelines when considering perks:
- Get employees involved. Meet them individually to find out what motivates them.
- Small rewards given often, when working towards a goal, are more effective than larger ones that take a long time to reach.
- Standalone perk will not be successful unless management continuously engages and inspires employees.
What are real companies doing today? Here are six real world examples to inspire you:
- McGraw Wentworth, a provider of group benefits, offers on-site pickups and return of clothes that need laundering.
- Dealer.com, which helps auto dealers with their online marketing, serves locally grown organic treats in its on-site café. Employees can have their subsidized meals delivered to their desk.
- Van Meter Industrial, a distributor of automation and electrical products, awards points for activities such as participating in its Biggest Loser contest and walking campaigns. Employees redeem points for personal fitness items, such as running shoes, golf clubs, and jogging strollers.
- Fentress Architects invites employees’ relatives to participate in some of the evening and weekend classes offered through its in-house education program.
- St. Louis-based online investing firm, Scottrade, will consider opening a new branch in an area an employee is moving to. According to Fortune magazine, Scottrade has opened 20 offices for employees. In one instance, an employee moved twice, to Georgia and Florida, and Scottrade opened offices in both locations.
5 Cost Effective Employee Perks
Here are a few budget conscious ideas to get you program started.
- Holiday Shopping Day – Give each staff person an assigned day in late November /early December to allow them to get their shopping done and reduce stress. Employees get paid, but cannot switch the day assigned to them.
- Cost Saving Bonus – Ask your staff to come up with cost saving ideas and then reward them with a percentage of the money the company saved in the first year.
- Community Service Projects – Allow each employee to choose a local charity/project that they want to support and then give them time off to assist in that project.
- Service Recognition – Recognize staff tenure on employee name badges, business card, or elsewhere. Promote the fact that you have long term staff.
- Team Days – Close the office twice annually for a staff outing to work on a community project. Send a press release with photos to promote your business community service commitment.
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