With more workers at home than ever before, small businesses need to focus on retention. How can they keep their well-trained employees motivated? Hint: there may be some money involved.
The Retention Problem
Smart entrepreneurs know that motivation is sometimes in short supply. As such they know it’s worth working hard to retain their best employees. This is especially true if the field is competitive or if there’s extensive training involved.
Covid and the quarantine have sent employees far from the action. You can’t offer perks like the best parking spot when parking isn’t even needed. Gone are the morning doughnuts, the all-day snack bar, and the after-work happy hour.
What can human resources do when all contact is by phone and computer? It’s taking some creative thought to discover how to motivate your team and keep them on task. Here are some things that other employers are offering that seem to make a difference.
1. Party in a Box
You can’t have your annual dinner or your monthly lunch meetings. There’s an easy solution. You can send out a party in a box. Each employee would receive wine, snacks and party favors. Other favorites might be sparkling waters or craft beers. Then on a certain Friday night, everyone would be encouraged to be online for a group celebration. This may work better if you organize a trivia contest or bingo. If you want it to be less work for you, simply allow the employees to decide how and when they want to use their party in a box.
2. Gift Certificates for Take Out
Your employees are probably missing how easy it was to go to lunch during the workday or out to dinner on their way home from work. The ability to order breakfast, lunch or dinner on a busy work day may be just the pick-me-up they need to feel motivated. A gift certificate could earn you good will with a spouse or roommate who gets treated to a meal.
There are many services offering to deliver food. It’s just a matter of picking a service and sending out gift certificates. This should give your employee a wide choice of restaurants, indirectly covering all preferences and allergies. You can probably skip the postage and do it by email.
3 .Staycation at Nearby Hotel
Your best workers may be in need of some mental health time. What could be better than a staycation at a nearby hotel? They can work in a different environment with room service and a better view. It allows them to escape family duties or to get a break from roommates.
Of course you can’t do this for everyone, but you can target those working on the biggest projects. Perhaps this is the incentive they need to work faster. This could also be a reward for work well done after the big project is over.
4 .Wi-Fi Coverage
Have you considered a monthly stipend for electricity, water, and Wi-Fi? After all, with your employees out of the office, your overhead should have dropped drastically while their overhead is greater than ever. Home all day, they naturally use electricity and water much more. Also, they need the fastest Wi-Fi and may not feel they can afford it. Perhaps the stipend could be an incentive for them to improve their Wi-Fi service, helping them work faster.
5 .Home Office Enhancements
Your business is not going to pay for an employee to add onto their house. However, there are ways you can help your employee get comfortable in a home office. It isn’t too expensive to rent a 5 x 5 storage unit for your at-home employees who need it. This will relieve crowded conditions in your employee’s home and help them focus on the job at hand. It may allow them to claim a more private space, an especially important aspect for workers that handle sensitive situations.
These short-term actions could help you keep valuable employees in the long term. When the pandemic winds down and the office opens back up, you can go back to boxes of doughnuts each Monday morning and a few bottles of wine to be shared at month’s end.