Employee performance contributes to your business' success or failure. And every experienced manager knows that while it is important to focus on your business goals and your employees' contributions towards them, such as how efficiently they perform tasks and show initiative and creativity, it is also important to remember their human aspect and not just their skills. This means remembering that they have feelings and emotions, that they can get distracted, and can feel burned out and dissatisfied. And it's in your best interest to keep them focused and motivated.
Acknowledgment and Incentives
Two powerful things that keep employees happy and motivated—asides bigger paychecks and happy hour—are acknowledgment and incentives. People who feel appreciated give more of their time and efforts to the appreciator. You can make your employees feel valued by publicly acknowledging their skills and efforts, reaffirming their importance to your organization, and listening to their ideas and contributions.
On the part of incentives, offering something extra for a job well done encourages employees to take on more responsibility and be more productive. The incentives offered do not have to be flashy or expensive, you can offer low-cost incentives that will still be greatly appreciated. Other perks that keep employees motivated include:
A Positive Work Culture
This may not be a perk in the original sense of the word, but creating a positive space is paramount to concentration. Your employees should be excited to come to work and this will not happen if they are exposed to a negative work environment. Creating a positive workspace culture begins with establishing company values and trust. Give your employees the freedom and space to express their creativity and perform tasks their own way—provided it does not affect negatively the quality of work done or your business goals. Establishing trust also requires leadership by example, i.e. your actions must align with company values. Your employees should see you as a team player, not a boss.
Also, rewarding great ideas and efforts encourage employees to be innovative and to share their ideas with you and each other. And don't forget the food. Free food has real positive power over employees. If providing free meals is more on the expensive side, you can limit it to snacks and treats—it still does the trick. You can install snack bars or even a cotton candy machine rental, and give extra snacks to employees who exceed their targets.
Paying a percentage of your employees' tuition fees or offering skill-development training shows that you care about their growth and personal development, and employees respond positively to gestures like this. They are encouraged to get better at their job and will feel grateful to you and the company in more ways than one.
In this light, you can also cover gym memberships, medical bills, vision insurance, and work-related software and internet subscriptions.
This might be expensive depending on the number of employees and the destination you plan to visit, but if you can afford it, organizing a yearly retreat is a great incentive. What's better, you can tie it to certain milestones or performance benchmarks. Everyone wants to go on an all-expense-paid trip, so they will be motivated to put in the effort to meet those required benchmarks.
If yearly retreats are too expensive, then organizing regular get-togethers should be your go-to. Even if you hold yearly retreats, you should still have regular get-togethers to get everyone in sync with company goals and values and to engage in team-bonding activities. Google has a 20 percent initiative that allows teams to take on any Google project of their choice every Friday. Pinterest organizes a company-wide happy hour every Friday. Atlassian hosts a yearly internal innovation event called ShipIt to foster great ideas and projects.
Every great company offers perks and takes care of its employees because they are essential to their operations and success.