You don’t need flowers or candy or even a particular holiday to show your employees you love them. You don’t even need to spend a bunch of cash.
Noted Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter – pretty much the smartest person on the planet when it comes to employee loyalty – reminds us that there are three M’s more important than money when it comes to employee loyalty:
1. Membership – We want to feel like we’re part of a team.
2. Mastery – We want to feel like we’re improving and being measured and rewarded for our improvement (we want you to notice).
3. Meaning – We want to feel like we’re making a difference.
Money’s fourth, and with employee engagement at discouragingly low numbers, why not use Valentine’s Day as a catalyst for showing your team some serious love?
Here are 14 Easy Ways to play company Cupid:
1. Point out what they do well. Yes, it’s really that simple, and it’s also a great habit to build.
2. Labor for them – wash cars or scrape their windows.
3. Answer phones at the front desk for a half or full day.
4. Work together volunteering at your local food pantry or some other non-profit.
5. Start a Financial Peace University course after work one night a week.
6. Hire Merry Maids or a babysitting service.
7. Bring in a licensed massage therapist.
8. Close the office for an afternoon and take everyone to a movie or a local arcade.
9. Make valentine boxes for everyone and ask everyone to write down their favorite thing about each other person and put it in their boxes.
10. Have an employee who has a dog? Consider a Barkbox subscription. (If he or she has a cat, I suggest a boxful of indifference.)
11. Have a team member who’s obsessed with baseball? Pitchers and catchers report next week, and mlb.tv is going to allow one-team purchases this year!
12. Handwrite a letter to each employee saying why you appreciate each one of them.
13. Smoke meats… slowly and with pride… and serve them to your team… at your house… or host a chili cook-off at your home.
14. Get your employees scratch-off lottery tickets with a note saying “I hope you’re as lucky as I was the day I hired you.”
And those are just 14 I’ve either done, been the beneficiary of, or just made up while I was driving today.
A couple friends shared these ideas as well… from my friend Katie:
After a long project, I was planning a long weekend to CA with family to go back packing in the Redwoods. My boss at the time caught wind + “made” me expense the cost + wouldn’t let me take PTO days.
Another time, when going on vacation, our supervisor shut off a co-worker’s email. Our supervisor didn’t want to distract him from time with his family since emails never really stop. My co-worker said it was one of the greatest gifts he had ever gotten.
From my friend Holly (who’s Canadian… and it should be noted that Canadians, as a species, are impossibly kind and generous and friendly):
My broker at REMAX Jodi Gilmour is one of the most generous people I have ever met. She understands the challenges of a working mom, and on several occasions has offered to watch my daughter on days that she knew were busy for me. She surprises my partner and I with manicure dates and takes time out of her busy schedule to join us for birthdays and impromptu get-togethers. She is awesome and makes me so happy to work in her company, in this line of business.
I’m sure you could also search online for “fun ways to reward employees.”
Always remember: Your employees are your most important customers. If you don’t provide shareworthy service to them, how can you possibly expect them to deliver delight to their customers?