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Perk Up: How To Recognise And Reward Your Employees

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Truly great employers know there’s more to workplace satisfaction than just a good salary. And it’s those businesses that end up recruiting and retaining top talent. Here are eight approaches to recognise and reward your employees that don’t involve paying them more.

1. Say thanks more often

Give employees an opportunity to upvote their colleagues when they go the extra mile, and recognise them publicly. This could be as low-fi as a notice board, or an email to your staff publicly thanking the person in question for their hard work. Or you could mention it at a staff meeting and provide a physical reward, such as a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, or a voucher for shopping or a day out somewhere indulgent.

2. Offer breakfast

Most offices provide free tea and coffee for staff, but what other small gestures can you make to help your employees feel at home? Providing free toast, or cereal gives people an incentive to avoid traffic and start work a little earlier. Eating breakfast also improves cognitive performance, giving your employees a little extra edge at the start of every day. GSK offers staff free breakfast if they walk, cycle or run on their commute. This is great for personal health and the environment, too.

3. Provide healthy snacks

Does your office have a vending machine stuffed full of crisps and chocolate? Stressed, time-poor people will grab whatever they can to keep going during that mid-morning or afternoon slump. Sugary snacks give people a temporary boost, but can leave people snappy or struggling to concentrate once their sugar levels dip back down. Couple bad snacking habits with largely sedentary jobs and you’re looking at creeping weight gain. It’s not the role of employers to police waistlines, but there’s no doubt obesity is linked to poor health and time off work sick. Head this off at the pass by providing free fruit, and rethink your vending machine selection to reduce opportunities to make poor choices.

3. Encourage good health and wellbeing

The NHS recently released data that suggested back problems cost UK companies 31 million sick days each year. The majority of us now work in offices and sit at desks all day long staring at computers. Long term, this leads to backaches and pains. Counteract this risk while helping your employees feel rewarded by arranging for a massage therapist (I know the name of a good one if you’re interested) to attend a day or two each week. A 25-minute massage weekly can improve posture, reduce headaches and stress, which help your employees concentrate on their day job.

Other holistic corporate services to consider are meditation, pilates, yoga, nutritional health, acupuncture and theta healing.  According to budgets, sessions can be funded by the company or individuals; either way, your employees will be grateful for an opportunity to spend a few minutes relaxing. Organise easy three-day taster events to gauge uptake and see what services get your employees excited and engaged.

5. Negotiate local discounts

Negotiating discounts with other businesses your employees are likely to use can pay dividends, especially if discounts apply for employees at both firms. You could look at local restaurants to see if they’d offer discounts to your employees on certain days (team lunches are another great way to help encourage bonding), or contact nearby attractions for your employees to enjoy on the weekends. In particular, family days out are expensive, and parents will appreciate a little extra help managing their outgoings.

6. Facilitate happy families

Parents, especially those with young children, will greatly value a company that makes life easier when it comes to childcare arrangements. Could you offer them flexible working hours, letting them start and finish a little later so they can breeze through the school run? The average cost for full-time (50 hours) childcare in London is over £300 a week per child; could you help parents cut these costs by letting them work their hours over four days, instead of five? Do you offer a private pumping room with a fridge for mums who are still breastfeeding? Better parking spaces for pregnant members of staff? Would you even consider investing in onsite childcare, or negotiating discounts with a local nursery, to help hard-working parents out? These are the kind of perks that can become deal-breakers for parents when it comes to employee retention.

7. Organise employee volunteering days

You can spend a fortune on team-building corporate away days, or you can give your employees the chance to bond while doing something great for your local community. Volunteering team days are favoured by companies like Amazon, who give staff a certain number of days out each year to give back locally. Not only does this help your employees to feel they work for an ethical employer, but it also has the added benefit of improving perceptions of your brand within your local community.

8. Develop them

As employees progress in their careers, their sense of responsibility and pressure increases. Add in feelings of increased visibility, and you’ve got the potential for stress-related absence, negative management styles, lack of focus and ultimately, burnout. An executive leadership coaching and development programme to help employees in their journey up the ladder gives employees something to aspire towards, as well as protecting them from failure. A robust programme will upskill your managers in commonly-feared tasks like public speaking as well as train them in strategy development, navigating complex problems, and organisational growth. It’s the employee perk that really gives back to your business.

As the job market becomes more competitive, attracting talent is about more than just a decent payslip. It’s thoughtful, employer-focused brands that have longevity, generate employee loyalty and create an environment that’s a genuine pleasure to work in. And after all, we spend on average nine hours a day in the office, so why wouldn’t you want it to be an amazing place to be?

Read more about employer brands in:

4 Reasons Employer Brands Smash Consumer Brands, Hands Down