Interestingly, despite the increase in businesses using models that rely on workers’ self-employment or zero hours contracts, we at K2 are regularly asked by businesses we are advising how they can engender loyalty among their key staff.
Assuming that employees are paid adequately, there is plenty of evidence that paying them more money is not in itself an appreciation of their loyalty or efforts.
If money is not the answer, then what is?
Clearly, a business may try to use some kind of reward system to encourage employees to work even harder.
However, this will be futile where employees are already working as hard as they can, especially when their efforts may have been needed to save the business in difficult times.
Nevertheless, in an era of skills shortages, where a business has an effective, capable workforce it will want to keep those employees’ loyalty and to do this it makes sense to recognise their efforts in some way that is valued by the employee.
Christmas and the summer holiday periods are especially opportune times for showing employees some appreciation in a meaningful way.
A discretionary reward or bonus for performance can be powerful, especially at times when their expenditure may be higher than usual but the bonus need not be in cash.
A gift that recognises not only the employee but their family’s sacrifice if they have had to work longer than usual hours can work well. It could be a few hours off to allow people to prepare for Christmas or to allow a parent to attend their child’s nativity play.
How about a hamper containing seasonal treats that the family might not otherwise have and containing something appropriate for every member of the family?
Alternatively, food shopping vouchers before Christmas or a well-timed cash bonus in the cash-strapped month after Christmas, when the credit card bills begin to arrive, may be welcome, especially when many families are living pay cheque to pay cheque.
It takes a little ingenuity and thought, but showing employees that they are appreciated as individuals with other responsibilities beyond work can do wonders for their morale, their productivity and their loyalty.