Keeping your employees happy is a big part of ensuring your small business is successful. One way to ensure your workers are satisfied is through perks. But the dilemma smaller companies face is that they can’t afford the extravagant perks giants like Google, Facebook and others are handing out (free meals and snacks at the office, dry cleaning, unlimited vacations, babysitting, lecture series and college-level courses taught by famous thinkers). Thankfully, there are still some free employee perks you can introduce without bankrupting your company. Here are five that can go a long way toward creating happier employees and a better company culture.
1. Flexible Hours
As we’ve noted before, this is one of the most popular employee perks. One study found that 42% percent of working adults would give up part of their salary to have more flexible hours. Some small business owners might be nervous about doing this. Can you trust your workers to not abuse the privilege? Will they still get their work done? But trust has a major impact on making your employees happy and will go a long way in motivating them to get their work done.
2. Pets at Work
Who wouldn’t love the chance to have their beloved pet at work if they could? Give your workers that chance and you’ll find it won’t only make them happier, but it might also boost mood and lower stress, improve relationships between co-workers, and stimulate their creativity. But first, make sure that your small business is appropriate for pets and that no one in your office has severe allergies to animals. If you own a restaurant and have an employee who is deathly allergic to Pomeranians and owns piranha, don’t offer this perk.
3. Goal-Setting Transparency
Whenever you have your quarterly or yearly financial numbers, or have ambitious plans in store for your company’s future, consider sharing them with your employees. And don’t share them in all-staff meetings with boring corporate speak. If your workforce is still a manageable size, have a 1:1 meeting. If your workforce is bigger, take them out for an informal lunch, or go on a retreat and tell them there. And be sure to be personable and honest.
Workers will appreciate your trust and transparency with sensitive information around expenses, profits, revenue and projections. They’ll also like the feeling of being in the know and invested in a shared company vision and clear goals. That means not just telling them what to work towards, but letting them see the results of their hard work.
4. Nap Time
Naps have been shown to have a positive effect on the brain. It’s why, for example, Google has gone so far as to build Nap Pods for their workers. You too can adapt a pro-nap environment. Set aside an empty office , maybe with a donated couch, to create a nap zone. Let workers benefit from your snooze-friendly environment. Knowing they can re-energize by taking a powernap can go a long way towards making employees happier. After all, who’s going to hate a business that lets them nap?
Studies show that a bad or incompetent boss is a main reason workers are unhappy and a good boss naturally has the opposite effect. You might not think of yourself as a perk, but you can become one. That might sound silly or new-agey, but it’s true. If you make sure you follow our advice to treat others the way you want to be treated, you can become a major force that keeps employees coming in to work happy. If you continue to work at being the kind of small business owner who improves a company culture from the top down, you’ll find when people ask your workers, “What’s the best thing about working where you do?” they might very well answer, “My boss.”
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