By Rieva Lesonsky
Have you got gifts on the brain? You’re not alone. If you’re like most of us, right now you’re in the thick of list-making, wrapping and (soon) unwrapping presents. But have you given any thought to the gifts you want to give your employees?
No, I’m not talking about holiday gifts or bonuses, but lasting gifts in the way you treat your team that can have a big effect on your business’s profitability in 2013 and beyond. Ready? Here goes:
The gift of empowerment. Give your employees the chance to make their own choices about how they do their jobs (within reason, of course). Don’t micromanage them, but show them what you want accomplished and why, provide them the tools to do it, and let them figure out how to get it done. Corollary: Let them make mistakes (it’ll happen) without blowing your top. That’s how people learn.
The gift of attention. It’s easy to get caught up in our own day-to-day roles, running around the office and putting out fires. Don’t spend all your time head down in your BlackBerry snapping orders. Take time to walk around the office, talk to your team (not just about work) and get to know what matters to them. When you know your employees as people, you’re better able to motivate and lead them.
The gift of flexibility. Being able to work at home, work remotely or work flexible hours are top perks employees desire. Flexible work options are great ways to build loyalty, and thanks to technology, they’re easier than ever to implement. You can set up different shifts and offer employees a choice of hours, offer work-at-home schedules one day a week, or make remote work a permanent way of life if you so choose. (Bonus gift: You’ll save on office space if you choose the latter.)
The gift of growth. Help employees learn and grow in their jobs without worrying selfishly that it’s going to spur them to leave you. Employees who receive training and development in their current workplace are more loyal—and more valuable—to their employers. And if one or two do choose to leave you? Well, if you’re giving your team all these gifts, you’ll discover it’s easier than you think to find replacements.
The gift of fun. Hey, work can’t always be a picnic—but if a small business can’t have some fun, who can? You’re the boss, so do the things you always wished your boss would do when you were an employee. Whether it’s Friday foosball challenges or Dress Like a Lobster Day, think of ways to add laughs to the place your people spend most of their days.