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No matter whether it’s in a professional capacity or your personal life, we all understand the paramount importance of motivation and drive. Without these two very important emotions, anything we embark on in life will suffer at the hand of nonchalance and a lack of personal connection. This is why it’s important to provide your staff with little incentives from time to time and these gestures don’t have to break the bank.

When it comes to small business, budgets are often extremely unforgiving which means most of your capital is always accounted for, nevermind accruing spare cash to spoil your staff. Big firms have the means to send their workforce to swanky events and deliver regular bonuses but for now, these are luxuries that you just can’t afford no matter how much you would like to. However, you do still appreciate your team of hardworking employees and want to show them just how much you value their efforts, so we’re here to show you how to do it on a budget.

Emotional investment – Acknowledging the commitment of particularly diligent employees via praise and recognition is the most effective way to ensure your staff feel valued. A little kudos goes a long way so implementing an ‘employee of the month’ type of scheme could be all it takes to boost morale in the ranks and keep your workforce happy.

We aren’t necessarily talking about one of those cliché, staff room walls of fame, where your employee of the month grimaces for an awkward picture that is pinned to the corkboard until next pay day. Think more along the lines of rewarding them with something they need or something that might make their lives a little easier, such as a priority car parking space or an extra day of paid holiday.

Sure, attach their headshot and a congratulatory testimonial when you circulate the monthly newsletter too, but tending to their human needs will go further towards making them feel genuinely appreciated.

One-to-one meetings – This emotional investment can be fortified by making it your priority to schedule in time for regular one-on-one, face-to-face meetings with each of your staff members. With SMEs this is a lot easier as the workforce will be much more intimate but finding a spare hour every week to catch up with a colleague can have a dramatic impact on team morale and motivation.

While flashy gifts and all expenses paid events are nice, a positive and healthy working environment is far more valuable in the long run. These one-to-one meetings will allow you to get to know your staff better and establish a stronger employer-employee bond, as well as giving you the chance to weed out any problems or internal issues. Getting out of the office and grabbing a coffee is gentle on your budget but a great way to bring your employees out of their shells and make them feel personally appreciated.

Flexibility and understanding – A pat on the back when credit’s due costs nothing and neither does exercising a little flexibility when it comes to working hours and the personal lives of your workforce. Modern lifestyles mean that the traditional 9-5 working model is rapidly breaking down and an employer who understands and caters for this is worth their own weight in gold as far as employees are concerned.

Working parents are amongst those who cite flexible working policies as far more valuable than financial bonuses in this day and age, which is great news for your bank balance. Enabling parents to pick their child up from their first day at school or to be there to hold their hand during their first trip to the dentist is beyond monetary worth and an incentive that will consolidate and encourage staff loyalty.

Half days, working from home, late starts and early finishes are all appreciated by employees who are juggling their job with various other pressing responsibilities. Of course, parents aren’t the only people who feel the benefits of flexible working but displaying trust and allowing discretion is also part and parcel of this employer adaptability.

Development opportunities – Floral arrangements eventually whither and wilt, nights out result in nasty hangovers and financial bonuses can be crippling for your capital but regular training can only be mutually beneficial. Knowledge is a wonderful gift to offer somebody and something that will have a positive impact on the rest of their working lives.

You can deliver this through organising seminars, webinars, networking events, lectures, conferences or training programmes for your staff to attend. Enabling them to do this in working hours will demonstrate that you value their professional worth and have their very best interests at heart. It will also enable you to expand the skillset of your workforce and grow an increasingly efficient and knowledgeable team of employees who can help drive your business forward. Win, win!

A bite to eat – Food is the key to almost everyone’s heart, right? You know what it’s like when somebody brings a tray of sticky donuts in the office. Office workers just love their surprise sugar fix and it’s down to you to keep them sweet. Rather than splashing out on expensive staff meals, providing the occasional breakfast pastry or lunchtime pizza can be all it takes to lift staff spirits. Keeping the tea and coffee stash stocked up is also a nice little touch that your busy workforce will really appreciate.

Are you a business owner that is working with a tight budget to provide regular staff incentives? We’d love you to add your tricks of the trade to our own top tips so leave a comment below and let us know your pearls of wisdom.


About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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