Very few startups are rolling in dough at first. Executives want to make sure their employees feel appreciated — finding people that care about your mission as much as you is priceless, and these hard-working people deserve a reward for that loyalty. But for a lean startup, tons of cash just isn’t there.
The good news is, you don’t have to allocate tons of capital to express your appreciation and build a strong team. In fact, according to one study, companies spending less than or equal to just one percent of payroll on employee recognition are 79 percent more likely to see better financial results.
CallRail is an Atlanta-based company who has perfected the art of keeping morale high. “We try to optimize for happiness. We’re a results-only work environment,” Lance Weatherby, VP of Sales and Marketing, told Hype. “We really value honesty and openness.” As a result of their efforts to keep employee happiness and morale high, CallRail was ranked a Top 5 Best Place to Work in 2015.
Fret not, lean startup founders. There are many ways to make your employees feel appreciated without breaking the bank. From free to a few bucks a month, let your employees know that you notice hard work with these seven tips.
Having to leave your cozy bed 5 days a week can be a drag. One totally free perk is to give employees (whose jobs allow it) the option to work remotely every now and then. With the availability of software like Skype and Slack, it’s easier than ever to work from home. As an added benefit, studies show that remote workers are substantially more productive than in-office workers.
Let your employees show off their company pride with some swag. A few t-shirts, coffee mugs, water bottles or even laptop stickers are enough to make an employee excited to show off the place they work. Plus, need we mention that a t-shirt is a walking billboard?
Flexible daily schedule
Allowing employees to have a flexible schedule shows that you trust them. This can also provide a better work/life balance, especially for employees with kids or second jobs. Working parents with strict office hours might have to miss school activities like field trips and school plays, so giving them the ability to allocate time for these activities will build a positive relationship between employer and employees. Just be clear that those hours have to be made up somewhere else, perhaps with a few hours of early-morning or evening work.
Students aren’t the only ones that love free food. Seriously, getting lunch for your employees every now and then (even if it’s once a quarter!) is a definite morale booster. It builds a team attitude and exposes employees to those on other teams that they don’t normally interact with.
There are other options as well. Provide gift cards at raffles, set up a tab at the building coffee shop, or even just keep free snacks at the office.
Relaxed dress code
Depending on your industry, this is a perk that is incredibly easy to institute and many will love. Plus this one isn’t just low cost, it’s free! Before you relax rules, you may want to have a meeting with employees on what is (and is not) acceptable — while jeans may be fine, sweatpants might not. Don’t want to plunge in fully? Casual fridays are a great place to start.
Let’s face it, traffic stinks — it’s costly and unproductive! One way to make a commute more bearable is to provide a stipend per mile driven to lessen money spent on gas. Another option would be to provide monthly public transportation passes, which has the added benefit of making employees healthier and safer.
Time off for…
Volunteer work, kids’ activities, gym, yoga, you name it. Employees will feel valued when you offer them time off for things that are important to them. Younger employees tend to be more socially conscious, so giving them paid time off to volunteer will go far in their eyes. You also could allocate dedicated time for mental health days. There are so many ways to offer this perk and everyone appreciates a little extra time off.