Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, now is a great time to discuss reflection and appreciation-not from a personal standpoint but from the viewpoint of businesses. We all have heard the phrase, “A team is only as strong as its weakest link.” This phrase epitomizes how important and integral employees are to any business.

Employees make or break businesses everyday. Whether a client returns as a repeat customer comes down to their experience with your employees, and typically the owner is out trying to build the business while an employee is managing the entity. Although many people believe that cost is the number one factor in whether a customer buys a product or service from your business, that belief is unfounded.   Assuming two products or services are close in cost, the X factor is likability and customer service. Consequently, your employees are the frontline to your business and thus are the most valuable commodity that you have. While it may take years to build a positive reputation for your business, it can take just one negative experience (especially today with the prevalence of social media) by a client or prospective client to ruin your company’s reputation. The old proverbs, “no news is good news,” and “bad news travels fast” sums this up.

Therefore, it is imperative for business owners, managers, supervisors, and others who hold positions in a leadership capacity to find ways to show their appreciation and thankfulness to their employees to ensure that their employees are happy and continue to be productive. Although this concept seems like a simple one, it is actually complex because people are complex. What motivates and drives one employee toward success may not inspire and encourage a different employee toward success. Here are five tips to help reward your employees’ hard work and dedication to your company’s mission and to make sure they feel appreciated and respected.

5 Ways for Companies to Motivate their Employees

#1 Cash

By far the most obvious selection. For many employees “money talks.” We see this not just from ordinary people, but also from celebrities to athletes. Many employees are motivated by the idea that if they perform well they will receive a bonus and/or a pay increase. However, not every employee is motivated by money.

#2 Time Off

Who wouldn’t like more vacation days? For many employees cash doesn’t motivate. Some employees may want to travel or enjoy a “staycation.” If an employee is exceeding the goals set out for them, offer them more time off. This shows that you care about their work/life balance and indeed appreciate all the time and effort they have put into your business.

#3 Recognition/Awards

Some employees are competitive type A personalities who want to be the best and as a result want to be recognized. Implementing monthly or quarterly dinners where you provide awards and recognize the employees who have excelled can be just what your employees need to encourage them to work hard and strive to be better.

#4 Incentives

Big Screen TVs, Spa Day, and tickets to a sporting event are just examples of incentives that can be used to help encourage employees to go that extra mile. Other incentives that motivate many employees include training and development, promotions, and the opportunity for upward mobility within the company.

#5 Positive Feedback

Some employees just need to hear that they are doing a great job in order to stay encouraged. Many employees don’t need awards, time off, or extra cash in order to be motivated. While bosses may overload their best employee with work because they appreciate and understand that the employee is an integral part of the business, letting that employee know how important he or she is to the long term plans of the company goes a long way both for the employee’s morale and for the company.

The bottom line is that regardless of which motivational tools an owner chooses, a business owner needs to get to know their employees and understand what drives their employees to perform better. Every employee has strengths and weaknesses. The key to achieving success as a company is playing to each employee’s strength and finding the right motivational tools (cash, time off, incentives, etc.) to help promote the common goal of believing in your company’s mission and achieving the company’s goals. Be appreciative and thankful for the hard work of your employees because they help to drive your business forward. Happy Thanksgiving from CFO Strategies!

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