Last month, we covered why millennials are actively pursuing work at small businesses, often in spite of offers from larger or more established companies. A key factor in motivating millennials is the desire for “real-time recognition.” This need for achievement can be a unique opportunity for small businesses, as many corporate environments confine recognition to twice annual formal performance and compensation reviews. Informal, real-time recognition and awards can differentiate small business culture and offer ways to reward good work without constantly “breaking the bank” in the form of standard raises and bonuses.
Here are a few additional and simple ways to build a recognition-based small business culture:
Engaged employees are productive employees, so our first tip is to encourage your workers to think outside-the-box. Give them the ability (and a platform) to offer their thoughts on ways to improve your business. Age and experience certainly breeds wisdom – and this is something that many new, younger employees may lack. However, giving them a way to express themselves with an open mind will empower them to excel in their roles, feel more connected to the overall company mission and success and grow as professionals.
With a small workforce, it is likely that you are on a first name basis with your employees. Develop camaraderie by celebrating each individual’s milestones—from a simple monthly birthday celebration to individual work anniversary acknowledgements and perhaps even personal events like engagements and births.
Professional and personal recognition can be incredibly motivating. And, this does not require a lot of money or time consuming effort. If someone did a great job in a particular assignment, or is excelling overall, why not make a team or company-wide announcement giving them a shout out for a job well done? On a purely tactical level, why not establish a monthly recognition program such as a “Star of the Month” bulletin board. Free lunches and happy hours are also always appreciated.