As a leader, you get to work with people who have been chosen for the jobs they do at your organization. Seems simple enough, but for years, many bosses ignored their employees other than just making sure they got their job done within a reasonable time and done well.
Lately, that perspective has changed. Leaders find that investing in their people can do a lot of good for the organization. That investment shouldn’t just be limited to what can be easily connected to the work done by the employee and company. It should also include helping them achieve life and personal goals, making them more well-rounded individuals, but also happier. Happier employees tend to be more productive and more engaging with each other and your customers and clients.
Some ways to help employees could include tuition and cost reimbursement for college or other classes. The reimbursement could be based on grades received, but it could also pay up front for classes associated to the job or possibilities within the company. Every year the organization could compile a list of seminars and timeframes to attend that will be paid for by the company including travel and hospitality expenses. Then let your employees each choose one or more seminars to attend, with the caveat that they will come back and give a report to others in the company of what they learned and how it might help with work in progress.
Offer bonuses based on what each employee would find most beneficial or to help them grow personally. If you have several people who want to travel, you could include locations locally and farther afield. That might mean a weekend at a nearby bed and breakfast and tickets to an event. For big project bonuses, it might be a week trip to New York City including hotel, meal, and tickets to a Broadway production.
As employees understand that the success of the company builds, their bonuses also increase, it incentivizes their choices and behavior. If you also have opportunities for employees to meet with each other on projects, collaborate together, brainstorm, and more, than they will feel like they are invested in the company, and each other. As bonuses are received, they will automatically be discussed more because the employees have built social networks within the job.
With all the above options, don’t forget that your people are individuals, and some may not enjoy any of those things, but they might be happier if they can work from home one day a week. For those who may work longer hours each week, the benefit of a weekly house cleaner at their home could be a great idea. You are dealing with individuals, so letting them suggest ideas of what would be a great incentive or bonus for them, should be considered seriously.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.