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working-incentives

Entrepreneurs and business owners are constantly dealing with two big staffing issues: attracting top talent and retaining it. We all want a capable, well-rounded employee for our businesses.  No matter how specialized the role you’re hiring for, versatility still usually tops the list of qualifications.  It’s also something employees themselves tend to value: if you don’t give your staff a variety of new challenges, they won’t grow professionally and may begin looking elsewhere.  In order to push employees to do their best in every part of their job, organizations need to be proactive–creating opportunities for their team members to excel, and rewarding them for when they do.  Here are five methods to keep employees motivated to do their best work.

 ENCOURAGE CREATIVE TIME OFF

Inspire your employees to try out some unique twists on using their paid time off. I am a huge advocate of the unlimited vacation policies that are gaining steam in some quarters. My company Unrated Productions LLP offers unlimited paid time off and is performance-driven, so we believe in giving our team the tools to be creative and have freedom.  This enables them to use their time to create and fulfill employer requirements on their own time.  It’s never failed me and the work just gets better.

We at Cleo Knows, a partnership in correlation with Unrated Productions LLP do not institute strict PTO specifications. Instead we offer a combination of flexibility and accountability. That requires being very clear about what responsibilities and expectations we have for employees who utilize our flexible PTO policy. As long as everyone knows what they’re accountable for, taking time away from the office is something to be encouraged.

OFFER EQUITY (BUT NOT IN THE WAY YOU THINK)

Offering equity to exceptional employees is hardly a new concept, but many CEOs have found a way to put their own spin on it by offering equity that increases based on the valuation of the company.

I have structured some employee agreements so that they get more equity vested when the company is valued higher, as opposed to passing-of-term, which is usually observed in the industry.  This incentivizes everyone to work harder on making the company worth more, and thus own a bigger chunk of it.

As a business owner, I am an advocate of the build-and-sell model. We offer an ownership percentage to our key employees, which is activated upon sale of the company. Consider what your five-year plan is for your company and implement accordingly. The key is to find out what’s right for your staff and YOUR company!

BLOW OFF STEAM ON-SITE

While at my previous employer, they offered Free Gym Memberships, it was great! Plenty of companies now offer on-site yoga, but you can go further than that. Why not try teaching your employees some fun dance moves? Some gyms offer partnership programs to companies and offer health insurance incentives and discounts.  It’s a win- win scenario and encourages a healthy lifestyle, a relaxed office environment and an incentive to keep your employees from looking elsewhere.

Bringing extracurricular activities into the workplace helps break up the monotony and can create some really unique team-building opportunities.

SWITCH UP THE WORK DAY

Not everyone thrives in a nine-to-five environment. For hourly workers, try replacing the structured work day with an agenda of tasks to accomplish within a set window, then leave it to employees to figure out how best to accomplish them.

Try replacing the structured work day with an agenda of tasks to accomplish within a set window.  Employees tend to work better when they feel a sense of accomplishment, and untimed daily to-do lists can help boost their efficiency as well as morale.

OFFER AN “IDEA BOUNTY”

Employees love bonuses, which can come in many forms. Offer employees to propose a fully fleshed out idea (with processes) that would help improve the business, have their fellow coworkers then vote on the concept. Once an idea is voted in, the founder approves it. Once implemented, the employee receives a cash bonus hence the “idea bounty”.  The bonus can be as big or small as the project or idea. The end result is always going to be an employee who feels accomplished and a staff that is now encouraged to come up with their own ideas to help improve the company.

To build this program into your company’s culture, you could create healthy competition by tracking how many “idea bounties” are awarded to a single employee within a certain period of time.  I did this in my previous employment.  We would have a monthly sales competition to see which market can outsell the other i.e.:  The bonuses ranged from $500 Amex gift cards to an iPad. This gave employees a boost in confidence, morale, and helped improve sales within those Local Business Markets (LBM).  I am a fan of this model and have implemented this within my own business dealings and have found more productive peers and better quality work.

In the end, incentives; whether big or small, are reasons your employees will stay.  You just have to listen, communicate and implement your ideas and stay consistent.  If you can’t keep the momentum going in your own company, don’t expect your employees to do the same.

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