Employees Aren't Slaves

Some Low Cost Employee Perks

Tom Egelhoff  |   Friday Aug. 1st, 2014

As some of you know I spent several years as a personnel manager for a ten-store chain in San Diego. I learned a lot in the position. Obviously the legal end of hiring and firing, but I also had to learn the human end of handling employees.
Employees are not your personal slaves. They are human beings and deserve your respect for the duties they perform. An emergency on your time doesn’t automatically become an emergency on theirs.

In other words you can ask them to work extra hours, or more time in a day, but asking is all you can do. If they have other plans you can’t demand them to change their schedule to fit yours. And you can’t threaten to terminate them if they don’t work the extra time unless you enjoy spending time and money going to court.

Here are some ways I tried to keep employees happy and motivated to do a good job. Why Are They Employees? Your employees trade their skills and expertise for cash. But sometimes the job itself is hard, tedious or stressful. Even the best employees need motivation to come in and put in a full day. Here are some ways I motivated people.

Some Low Cost Employee Perks

·  Recognize Good Work: Owners and managers only see a small part of the great work employees accomplish. I had other employees let me know when another employee went the extra mile. I tried to publicly recognize each employee for something at least once every six months.

·  Too Many Knowing Too Little: Ask for volunteers who would like to be cross-trained in other jobs. If someone is sick then someone else is prepared to jump into that task with a minimum of downtime. Employees like this because it makes them more valuable.

·  Flexible Schedule: Not every employee is needed 8AM to 5PM. Can some employees come in earlier or later so their personal schedules are less stressful but the needed work still gets done?

·  Create a Family Atmosphere: A business with less than ten employees can create a family atmosphere much easier than a corporation with thousands. There is usually more pride in the work done and a strong team is easier to create. It’s more fun to work with friends than strangers.

·  Make It Easy to Complain: A disgruntled employee can cost hundreds even thousands of lost business by spreading his or her unhappiness to anyone who will listen. Make it easy for employees to complain and really take the time to listen to their concerns. They may have found a more efficient or better way to do things.

·  Break Rooms: They are called break rooms for a reason. Is there room for a ping-pong table or Foosball? These are stress reducers for many small businesses.

Some Final Thoughts

Work should be fun. Fun is an emotion. A feeling. The environment created by ownership and management should be one were work gets done but no one walks out exhausted or overly stressed.

Look around your place of business. What small simple things can you do to create a culture where people like where they work and share that with others outside the workplace? Try some of these tips and watch your bottom line get blacker.

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