This year’s frontrunners included Airbnb’s $2,000 yearly vacation allowance and Facebook’s $4,000 “Baby Cash” for new parents. But let’s face it, not every company is blessed with such lavish budgets to spend on employee benefits. And although there is no denying that a generous benefits package can work wonders for employee wellbeing, maintaining high levels of staff morale consistently throughout the year presents a whole new challenge.
Employers that fail to keep staff happy and engaged, do so at their own peril. Falling levels of staff engagement will generally lead to dips in productivity and, if left unresolved, an increase in departures from the business. Employee engagement should be a top priority for all companies as it is the core of so many vital components of workplace success. By understanding the factors that lead to employees becoming disengaged, employers can implement initiatives that will reap positively tangible outcomes.
Many organisations seek to improve engagement and business performance by setting individual employee goals in line with the company’s overall strategy. This approach has its advantages but does little to bolster collective morale. Instead of focussing on the individual, companies should find ways to boost their workforce as a whole. This is where alternative HR initiatives can become really valuable.
Often, these initiatives are not cheap and can, therefore, be out of reach for many SME’s. But there are ways to perk up the workplace without breaking the bank. Here are my top tips for employers to help ensure staff stay happy and engaged, without the hefty price tag.
Get the team together for a cup of tea, a few biscuits and a chat for 20 minutes on a Tuesday afternoon: statistically the most miserable time of the week. Using this as a fun and informal forum to share ideas and solve day-to-day issues can bring a whole new meaning to the word “refreshment”.
Read more about business perks:
- The happiness advantage: How a little bit of positivity can improve productivity
- Is CEO’s paid trip for 6,400 employees the best perk ever or attempt to increase sales?
- Creating the perfect working environment discussed by Britain’s tech startups
The fruit to all happiness
Supply staff with free fruit to help keep their energy levels up and add a bit of colour to the office. What’s more, a healthy work force is a happy workforce. We all love a (healthy) freebie, even if it is just a banana or satsuma!
Get points, win prizes
Set up a system for staff members who go above beyond the call of duty to win weekly points that can be redeemed to claim prizes. Even the traditional ‘Employee of the Month’ approach could work well for your business and enable you to provide an intrinsic reward for stand-out employees. Recognition in front of colleagues is a proven driver of employee happiness, so capitalise on it!
Register for free product samples
Sign the office up to trial freebie products from market leading brands. You’ll be surprised how many brands from food and drink to cosmetics are looking to share samples with the UK workforce in exchange for a little feedback on whether people like the products.
Keep on moving
Start a company sports team, there’s always enough for a friendly five-a-side. If not, rope in your suppliers and customers. Or, how about signing up a team for a charity race? Even a 5k gives people common a reason to train together, helping to build relationships and levels of trust across the team.
Weekly perks have the dual benefit of rewarding the workforce whilst also giving them something to look forward to on a weekly basis. With a little bit of consistency, you’ll have a more motivated and engaged work force in no time.
Engaged employees work with passion and will feel a profound connection with their company. They drive innovation and move the organisation forward. Conversely, those who are ‘sleepwalking’ through their workday are weighing down the bottom line. Workplace perks don’t have to cost a fortune but not having them in place may well prove to be costly.
Real Business also found that employers who treated staff well often didn’t need to rely on flashy perks, while those who treated staff poorly often ended up included in class action lawsuits.
Hannah Campbell is operations director at The Work Perk.
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