10 Tips For Boosting Loyalty That Don't Break The Bank
Once someone's worked for a small business they know the drill: be prepared to do everyone's job at some point, and don't expect alot of monetary rewards as the business is growing. Yet SMB owners do have a few options when it comes to acknowledging staff loyalty and dedication and none have to do with boosting salary, though most do require a bit of a monetary outlay. What you do have at your disposable are what some would call the intangibles when it comes to recognizing a staffer's positive attitude and willingness to jump in whenever needed. As one small business entreprenuer relates, you can build loyalty by getting to know your employees and providing something unexpected and something that shows you value their contribution. Ty Freyvogel says if staff members go unappreciated they're likely to start walking out the door, and before that happens, their lack of productivity could hurt the bottom line. Employees of small businesses are often asked to go way beyond the call of duty, says Freyvogel, founder of MakingSenseOfYourBusiness.com, a site focusing on business advice for any entrepreneur. And they usually do it without receiving huge paychecks. But not being able to pay hefty salaries doesn't mean you can't take advantage of a million other ways to create happy, loyal employees. Ok, well we don't have space and you don't have time to read a million ways, but here's a few Freyvogel offers up. Tell us what you think of his ideas, and share how you've rewarded employees without spending a bunch of moola. 1. Provide much-deserved time off like Friday afternoons off in the summer, or the day before or the day after their vacation to relieve stress that accompanies taking off work. 2. Set up a compressed work week so staff can get time off at the end of the week as it can ward off burnout. 3. Give them bonuses at critical times. Presumably, you work closely with your employees and know a lot about their lives outside of the work. [Ok, obviously this tip does cost a bit of money] 4. Be flexible.If an employee is having a personal problem, help him create a work schedule that allows him to solve his problems without feeling like he is going to be in trouble with the boss. 5. Be sensitive about their strengths and weaknesses. Carefully evaluate where employees do their best work, and ask them what jobs they feel the most comfortable doing. 6. Help them better themselves by paying for employees to take a class that will help them improve on their job skills or on something that interests them-even something unrelated to their current position. 7. Provide health club memberships or enroll in a business-wide wellness program that everyone will take part in. 8. Feed them. A free meal every now and then is one of the easiest perks an employer can provide. Or provide a catered meal for any employee working late. 9. Constantly recognize a job well done. Everyone likes to be told they've done a good job on something, especially employees. 10. Make employees feel like owners. Whether it comes from having a voice in major decisions, being able to work directly with clients or actually owning stock, a sense of employee ownership will go a long way toward instilling loyalty. Nurturing employees to love your business as much as you do will strengthen your company's foundation. "Typically, people who are interested in working for small businesses are driven more by recognition than by dollars," says Freyvogel. And when a client compliments an employee's work, never steal the credit--be sure to pass the glowing review along to the rightful owner" And here's one last tip that most of us likely wouldn't think of: Help them leave if it isn't the right job for them--working in a small business isn't for everyone. If you notice an employee is struggling in the environment or simply isn't happy, talk with them about whether or not your business is the right place for her. So how does helping an employee leave build loyalty? Well, the exiting employee will spread the word about what a great boss you are, says Freyvogel. All of the perks in the world won't mean anything if you don't show your employees the respect they deserve, says Freyvogel. As a small business owner, you can't treat your employees like cogs in a machine and expect them to keep coming back to you. Frequently ask them what they think about certain areas of the business. And if at all possible, implement their ideas and suggestions-there is no more powerful way to say 'I value you.'
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