Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Employee incentive ideas on a budget

So, your budget is feeling a little snug this year? Not as comfortable as it used to be?

Well, don’t get flustered just yet. Recent studies show that simple employee incentive ideas work just as well as handing out high-priced gifts when you want to let workers know how much they’re appreciated and improve employee loyalty.

Open communication is the best way to foster employee loyalty, even better than giving employees raises, according to a recent Management Action Programs Inc. (MAP) Quarterly CEO Survey. The top three qualities people value most in a company, as determined by the MAP survey, are open communication, employee recognition and involving personnel in decision making.

Effective communication also leads to higher profitability, according to the Communication ROI Study by Watson Wyatt. The study found that companies with effective communication programs had a 47% higher total return to shareholders over a four-year span, and an almost 16% increase in market value.

If you get creative, great employee incentive ideas don’t need to take a chunk out of your budget. Improve employee loyalty and increase profitability with simple communication, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

A greeting card. Leave a greeting card on the employee’s desk with a simple message about how they’re doing a great job, or thanks for finishing a report on a surprise deadline.

A simple ‘thank you.’ Call the employee into your office, or stop by their work area to say ‘thank you’ for something great they’ve done recently.

A small gift card for lunch, enough to bring a friend. It doesn’t have to be to a fancy restaurant, just a little something that says ‘thank you’ and enjoy lunch with a friend on the company’s tab.

A free half-day. Everyone likes to spend more time at home, or at least away from the office. So, let an employee know they’ve been doing a great job and they can take off early this Friday afternoon.

Chocolate. Enough said.

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