About half of your employees are gazing out the window right now, dreaming of a job where their bosses applaud their efforts, where they can take the slide down to the 5th floor instead of the elevator, and where whole teams sign up for Tough Mudders on the company’s dollar. These day-dreams are many employees’ realities, making it harder and harder for you to create the “perfect job” at your company. Chances are, you do not have resources of a company like Twitter, where employees literally loosen their belts after company-provided lunch. How, then, can you engage the half of your workforce that is willing to leave you for something bigger and better?
If you don’t want to watch more and more of your top performers pack up their desks every quarter, you’ll need to think outside of the box they’re using to take those office plants home. Employees want to feel valued and rewarded for the time they spend in the office.
It doesn’t take a huge investment in on-site fitness classes and always-on-tap craft brews to keep your people happy (although those additions would probably be met with applause). You can start small, by taking a true interest in your employees’ lives outside the office.
If you have a workforce made up of young mothers and fathers, creating a culture where they don’t need to choose between school plays and promotions makes a difference. Offering in-office dry cleaning or contracting a handyman service changes the way your employees spend their non-working hours, leaving them with more time for creativity, family, and decompressing. Having a potluck in the office brings together managers and new hires to realign your office politics.
Each of these small actions lets your employees know you care about them as a person, not just the work they do. Perks that are customized to the employee have proven a strong strategy for many small and medium sized businesses competing against companies with much larger budgets. These kinds of perks recognize individuality in each employee and build emotional connections between the employer and the small things that happen in the everyday lives of employees.
You know your employees have a life outside of their cubicles. By letting them spend those hours doing what they want, and not running errands or waiting on the cable guy, you show you are willing to invest in the individual. This creates a connection between you and your employees, increasing the engagement they feel with their workplace.
Engagement provides huge returns for your firm – Gallup estimates that a disengaged workforce costs the U.S. economy an estimated $450 billion a year in terms of lost productivity. Over time, studies have proven “the potential payback of these creative efforts to raise the level of employee engagement is surprisingly high,” according to Shutan. “There’s a strong link between employers-of-choice and profitability.” Over and over, statistics suggest employees who love your firm are substantially more valuable in the long-run than the workhorses who leave after a year.
As you look to budget your next fiscal year, consider investing in what is probably your most valuable asset – your employees – and reap the rewards.
Interested in learning more about perks and their ROI? Check out the full article here.