There’s a lot more to Labor Day than marking the last time this summer that you’ll wear white shorts or grill burgers in the backyard. Sure, it’s a great one-day tribute to American workers but what about the rest of the year?
Research shows that employees need more than just a steady paycheck to feel good about their jobs. According to a 2015 survey of U.S. employees published by the Society for Human Resources Management, 55% of those surveyed considered management recognition of job performance “very important.” Yet only 24% viewed themselves as being “very satisfied” with acknowledgement received.
“Rewards come in many forms and fashions,” said Anne Ballard, president of marketing, training and developmental services at Universal Storage Group, an Atlanta, GA-based self-storage storage operator.
“Sometimes just taking 15 minutes to call a manager to say, ‘I noticed you had an outstanding month, and I just wanted to thank you’ is a reward,” Ballard said.
Read on for eight tips on how to let your employees know they’re appreciated:
1. Recognize outstanding achievements.
Universal Storage Group hosts a banquet where managers receive awards for the most leases ( pictured above ), lowest number of delinquencies or most improvement in sales. There’s also a manager of the year award, which includes a $100 bill and a plaque for outstanding achievement.
“Everybody loves the bill but in the long run, they appreciate the plaque more,” said Ballard. “Some managers cover entire walls with them.”
2. Reward for learning new skills.
Offer rewards based on specific actions rather than goals achieved, said Marc Goodin, co-founder of Storage Authority a self-storage franchisor.
For example, give the manager a chance to win an extra $100 if they memorize and employ a script you provide them for selling disc locks to every tenant who signs a lease over a 30-day period. The manager is rewarded for learning a new skill to increase profits¬, not for reaching a goal, said Goodin.
3. Treat your staff to an outing.
Take your manager to a major league baseball game or your city’s most popular sporting event. Splurge on a movie night for staff where the company pays for everything, including concessions.
4. Be spontaneous.
“I give rewards on the spot for going above and beyond,” said Goodin. If a manager goes out of her way to help a customer, he’ll offer to fill up her gas tank next time it’s low. “They usually bring in their worst gas-guzzling truck or SUV,” says Goodin.
5. Provide a public pat on the back.
When a customer sends a complimentary e-mail about an employee, Ballard forwards it to all of Universal Storage Group’s managers, she said. “Any time you can give that manager an attaboy, we like to spread those around,” said Ballard. “They get feedback from other managers, and everybody knows they got this great testimonial.”
6. Encourage volunteerism.
Goodin pays managers to volunteer for community organizations on company time for up to four hours per month. “Most people don’t have the time to volunteer but want to,” said Goodin. “This way, they can volunteer and get paid.”
7. Kick in for the kids.
Sponsor events for your employees’ kids. “We like to be a sponsor, maybe give $300 per quarter and make the check out to the kid who needs it,” said Goodin. If he knows about a school project that requires extra cash, he’ll put $100 toward the cost. “This is something you do because they’re part of your family and go that extra mile,” he said.
8. Make rewards memorable.
Sometimes Goodin tells a manager, “You and your wife pick the best restaurant, and I’ll put it on the company credit card.” Or he might give the manager a Friday off, an oceanfront hotel room and $100 for dinner as a bonus for learning something new or implementing a new policy. “They’re going to remember a day off and a paid hotel night more than filling up the SUV two or three times,” Goodin said.