Easy ways to make your employees feel valued

Making employees feel like they really belong in a company is a tricky task. Yes, it’s all well and good for tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Apple to let workers go from floor to floor via a slide, or have segways for inter-building transportation – but most of us have to work on tighter budgets.

But when the question of how to engage employees comes up – what exactly are the best low cost alternatives to the wonderful lunacy of Silicon Valley?

Early leave on summer Fridays

This might sound a bit strange, but a recent trend to have taken hold of the US involves letting workers go home an hour early on Fridays during the hotter summer months. The thinking behind this is that productivity in the final hour of the week is normally sub-standard anyway, so why not just let employees get out of the office, beat the traffic and have a nice cold beer?

Sounds good to me!

Sabbatical leave

A practice encouraged by HR giants including John Lewis – it has become increasingly common for firms to allow staff with a number of years of service to go away for an extended period of paid leave so that they have the opportunity to travel or learn.

John Lewis offers staff members with 25 years or more of experience six months of absence completely covered – with many opting to spend time in foreign lands to master a new language, which will help them become better, more engaged employees when they return.

Employee benefits packages

Offering employees an extensive benefits package will allow them to access a wide variety of perks, including tax-free bicycles, childcare vouchers and discount cards for a number of high-profile shops and restaurants.

But this can be a real hassle to put in place, so many firms opt to use third-party providers, who offer holistic, pro-engagement solutions at competitive rates (click here to see some offers).

Informal work clothes

While it is still important that staff members look professional in front of clients, allowing employees to wear what they like if normal desk-busy work is the order of the day is a fantastic idea.

Not only will workers be more relaxed and chilled out – causing less friction and fewer arguments, but people can demonstrate their personality a little more than if they were forced to wear a suit.

However, boundaries need to be set in order to stop people from going too far. Scuba diving costumes aren’t really work-appropriate, despite what Steve in sales says.

Charity matching

It’s always a great feeling to give money to charity, but sometimes it can feel that office-based fundraising efforts aren’t being followed up by organisation-wide efforts. This can be demoralising for employees and might make a firm look heartless.

One way to overcome this is to start a charity matching scheme, where any amount of money given to a foundation is equalled by your company. This is a fantastic way to raise engagement and retention – giving staff members a feeling that they are employed by an ethical company.

Free fruit

Probably one of the cheapest perks around – providing a bowl of fruit for employees is a fantastic way to raise engagement and wellbeing, all while stopping unhealthy snacking habits and decreasing absenteeism.

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