As the year winds down, the holidays get closer, and gearing up for tax season begins, now is a perfect time to say thank you to your employees for a job well done. While most people would prefer a cash bonus, we know that’s not always possible due to budget constraints. Don’t let that stop you from showing your gratitude. Here are four ways you can reward your employees without spending a lot of cash.
1. Say thank you.
It may seem obvious, but taking the time to express your appreciation can go a long way, especially from a supervisor or manager. Tell your employee that you appreciate his/her contribution and that they are a valuable member of the team. This can be done in a myriad of ways: face-to-face conversation, in a handwritten note, or in a meeting where you say something positive and affirming about each team member publicly. However you do it, be genuine, sincere and point out a contribution that is unique to that individual so it is meaningful.
2. Spread the word.
Work with your marketing department to spread the word about employee achievements or contributions to the greater good of the company in a company newsletter, trade publication, or even the local paper. According to finance and accounting staffing company, Robert Half, being singled out and praised can motivate employees to continue to achieve and enhance an individual’s pride over their work and performance.
3. Conduct a “stay” interview.
Curious about what your employees are thinking and feeling about your accounting firm or company? Ask them. Don’t wait until their annual performance review or worse their exit interview to get their honest feedback. By setting up “stay” interviews you can find out how they feel they can make their job better. This may also lead to a conversation about how to improve overall efficiencies – whether that’s through streamlining tax workflow, developing ideas on how to go paperless, or suggesting new technology to try. Remember, it’s your team members who are on the ground executing processes already in place. Listening to them will help them feel valued. After all, their ideas may improve the status quo dramatically and enhance their engagement, if you give them the opportunity to share.
4. Offer flexibility and/or additional vacation time.
If you can swing it, do it. This is a perk that most employees greatly appreciate. If you tend to have a stringent attendance policy where employees have to account for their time, which is common for many accounting firms, this can be a welcome change. Opening up the conversation with your team members about how they want to work for the upcoming year or offering them additional time off builds trust and respect. While you don’t have to accommodate all their requests, you can start a dialogue that may end up being mutually beneficial, as productivity often increases when people have more ownership over their time.
Whatever you end up doing to recognize your team, personalize your efforts. That said, be careful not to repeatedly single out the same people –even if they are top performers – because it can breed resentment. Remember, everybody brings something different to a team and each individual should be appreciated for their work – it’s your job as a manager to keep them inspired and ready for more.
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