I’ve never met a business owner who didn’t want her or his organization to be a great place to work. For the owner, the excitement of doing one’s own thing is often reward enough and it can be difficult to remember that for your employees, this is most likely a job, and not their life’s dream. So what can you do to make employee love your company, and treat it like their own? There are almost as many options as there are owners and some of what you do will clearly be dictated by your discretionary income. The nice thing is that when you are small, you can do very individualized things as well as personal activities that are impractical when you are larger. When you are bigger (with more profit to spend) you can do a little more exotic things based on your culture.
Some perks cost money, and some cost time, but all are an investment of some kind so as with any investment, it’s wise for a business owner to be clear on what they hope to achieve with this investment. Sometimes your motivation is just to thank and reward your employees, which is great. Sometimes it’s to create the elusive phenomenon known as ‘employee engagement’ whereby your employees will be happier and work harder and come up with more creative solutions. Employee engagement is a necessary ingredient for organizational success, but perks alone will not achieve this. In fact, if certain ingredients required for engagement are not present, then your perks will soon involve into entitlements that you will eventually resent.
So what are the pre-requisites? The most important are the good old, unsexy basics. Authenticity, communication, appreciation, inclusion, celebration and of course, competence (which leads to success). Without each and every one of these things your perks fall flat. If all of these are executed, your employees will be happy and engaged and when you throw in the perks you will probably find your organization on a ‘best place to work’ list.