Your business depends upon having talented and driven people working for you, but your competitors’ businesses are no different. In the same way that you differentiate your brand for your customers, you must carefully implement a strategy to make jobs at your company more attractive than the jobs offered by your competition. One important way to build a loyal team is to regularly reward your employees. You want your brand to stand not only for a unique consumer product, but also for a great place to work.
Branding Your Staff
One easy way to accomplish both tasks is to lavish your staff with branded merchandise. Whether you are handing out new pens to your salespeople or offering T-shirts to your employees’ kids at your yearly company picnic, you’ll cultivate a stronger relationship between your best employees and your company.
The trick with branded items is to be sure not to make them inexpensive afterthoughts. A quality piece of outerwear will show your staff that you care about them. They will be more likely to wear the garment when not working, and consequently project your brand to the world at large. If your competitors provide embroidered polo shirts to their staff, your brand will look cheap if you offer screen-printed T-shirts. If your branding is about quality, make sure your branded give-away items are nothing less than the best.
Salespeople are often reward driven. Contests or promotional bonus gifts for your salespeople express your gratitude for their hard work while encouraging them to pursue company goals. Weekend get-away vacations, tablet computers and other small luxuries are affordable rewards for enhanced performance, and will be sure to positively impact the morale of your sales force. A frame bearing your logo holding a photograph and congratulatory message for your top salesperson will be treated as a prized trophy. It’s not the price tag attached to the item that matters, but the message it sends to your employees.
Other employees should also feel appreciated and valued. A company magnet will rarely get tossed in the garbage. Rather, it will likely end up holding up a treasured photo of an employee’s child, or a snapshot of a recent tropical vacation. It doesn’t have to compete with a Super Bowl ring in value, but it should similarly symbolize success.
Company events can have a similar morale-boosting effect. To avoid scheduling conflicts, choose to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the company or a particularly good quarter rather than one or another religious or federal holiday. Respect your employees’ personal lives and host your event during work hours. A friday catered lunch followed by a short party to celebrate a milestone is great, but not nearly as great as if you subsequently dismiss the team early for the weekend. One easy idea is to hold a monthly birthday celebration for all staff members with a birthday that month. Cater the event and make sure to recognize the celebrants with a small gift. Alternately, you can do a monthly event honoring each employee celebrating a yearly anniversary with the company. Either way, your staff will feel the love.
Events can boost your profile both to your staff and to your customers. Consider sending an email alerting your most valued clients that you’ll be honoring your staff and will be closed for business on Friday afternoon. Your dedication to your staff will be noticed. Depending on your industry, it may make sense to invite some of your clients to the events. Nothing builds rapport more than cultivating a multi-faceted relationship between your staff and your customers.
Keep the Best
You worked hard to build your team. Nothing is more important to reaching your business goals than keeping your best and brightest employees. Your top workers need to feel valued, and letting them know that their happiness and professional success matters to you is critical to keeping them on board. Regular, structured conversations can have this impact, especially when coupled with the contests and promotions noted above.
Encouraging leadership within your organization is vital to business growth. Cultivate this by giving greater responsibility to your team members who earn it, and explaining to underperforming staff how they might improve. The more ownership your team feels for your business, the more successful your business will become, and the stronger your relationships will be with your customers.
By viewing your staff as the most critical part of your brand, you’ll be sure to invest the attention and effort to keep them feeling appreciated and respected. When your team members are enthusiastic ambassadors for everything you do, you’ll be sure to achieve the success you all desire, together.