Wendywoman on Small Business Owners and Employees…

Reporter query:

For small-business owners: what are some things — not necessarily monetary — that employers can do to take care of their employees? Concrete examples, please and the more out-of-the ordinary, the better.

Watch out!  I caught you red-handed ….

If you’re a small business owner, losing your best employees can often be devastating to your business.  So how do you keep them when there are barely enough sheckles in the drawer to pay the electric bill?  As cliche as it sounds, workplace recognition remains #2 after compensation when it comes to making employees happy.  My favorite way to spontaneously recognize people for their “in the moment” great behavior was to give them a “Caught You Being Great” card.  I handed out the cards every time I witnessed someone going the extra mile when they didn’t know I was watching.   For example, it could be something as simple as 3 people walked past the piece of paper on the floor and the 4th person picked it up. That got them the card and cards equated to time off.  For every 10 cards you got, you could get anywhere from a 1/2 day to full day off, depending on the time of year.   This easy to implement practice helped prompt employees to do the right thing whether the boss was watching or not thus getting better results for the company.   Most companies wait for some major event to give people recognition when in the end, it is the small gestures done day in and out that really make a difference.   End the week by pushing the coffee cart around the office on Friday morning, pouring their fresh roast and thanking them, eye to eye, for their contributions that week.