How to connect, reward, and incentivise staff in a small business

incentivise, awards

Reward and incentive programs have been hot topics in the business world for a while now, and for good reason. But for small-business owners in particular, it’s important to implement incentives that will delight staff, without impacting profit margins too much.

Consider it an investment, not an expense. Why?

  • It boosts team morale, especially during the pandemic.
  • It builds employee trust.
  • It makes people feel heard.
  • It offers overall job satisfaction.
  • It creates an engaging environment, both in real life and virtually.
  • It fosters motivation, productivity and creativity.

In a time when COVID-19 rules the business world’s daily operations, small business owners need to get creative in the ways they can connect with their team over a screen or when staff transition back to the office. As humanity is overwhelmed by lockdown fatigue and sweaty mask-wearing, small acts of kindness stretch that extra mile when low morale takes a toll.

Here are some fresh (and frugal) ways to reward and incentivise your staff both online and offline.

Ask your employees

The best place to start is by getting some insider knowledge. Conduct a survey and find out the ways your employees like to be connected and rewarded. From lifestyle incentives to fun activities, it’s a great opportunity to hear from them.

Some great thought starters include:

  • Offering flexibility in work hours, such as finishing early on Fridays once a month
  • Professional development opportunities, including networking and training
  • Been under the pump? Give the team some time off or shout them a nice lunch after a big project has wrapped up.

Block out some time

Whether it’s weekly, monthly or quarterly, dedicate some time to a specific activity that’ll boost morale. Add it to the team calendar and share updates to hype the team up.

Is your team remote/working from home? Opt for some virtual activities. These are a great way to change up the work week and let off some steam.

  • Create a fun quiz or presentation with Kahoot
    Whether it’s work or play, Kahoot’s interactive platform can make your next meeting, training workshop or team catch-up engaging.
  • Play a suite of games at Brightful
    Team building or just for fun, Brightful has a comprehensive suite of games to help break the ice or switch off.
  • Conduct a cooking night over Zoom
    How to combat Zoom fatigue? Use the platform for a different activity with the team. Cooking together virtually will do the trick.
  • Encourage breaks and water-cooler chats
    Best served with a virtual coffee roulette, this encourages your team to communicate more with some fun ice-breakers.

Think small gestures, big impact

Show your appreciation in a simple way. As it shows, the occasional gift or recognition has way more impact than the free perks that come with the company culture.

  • Recognise someone’s hard work
    Share thanks in the next staff WIP or team newsletter.
  • Write a thank you card
    These digital cards are good for the team, the planet and community. Plus, $2 per card goes to a partnered charity.
  • Send a nano-gift
    This instant gifting sidekick is an easy and fun way to surprise a staff member, send a WFH treat or encourage a little healthy competition. You can Shout one person or the whole team, without the fuss of online shopping or gifts that go to waste — think a surprise coffee for this morning’s WIP or Friday team drinks, made easy.

The bottom line? Following months of lockdowns, reduced office capacities and work from home isolation, connection with staff has suffered. It has never been more important to reward, thank, support and incentivise our teams. Thankfully, in 2021, a simple, thoughtful gesture is far more appreciated than a gourmet hamper that never leaves the office kitchen.