It’s no secret that your customers are the lifeblood of your successful small business, but they’re just one side of the coin. On the other are all the employees and workers you hire to make everything fit together behind the scenes. Some may break their backs to respond to a new client to earn you an extra dollar, so what can you do to show that you appreciate everything they’ve done for your and your small business?
Valentine’s Day might traditionally be a day for couples, but you can take this opportunity as a small-business owner to express your gratitude for the long hours and hard work that your employees put in day in and day out. Valentine’s Day can get a little sticky if you’re not good at handling this sometimes-emotional holiday, so you’ll want to practice a little caution if you plan on holding an employee appreciation event Feb. 14. Don’t worry, though – if you follow a few simple steps, you can make sure all of your employees leave work this Valentine’s Day with a smile on their faces and in their hearts.
Love the work
Your employees might have their own plans to swap Valentine’s Day presents with their personal sweethearts, but that kind of gift-giving can make for awkward situations in the office. Instead, EHS Today recommended giving out valentines based on exemplary work from your employees. Have a customer service representative who handled a difficult client? Mention it in a card. One of your salespeople closed on a big contract? Buy him or her a box of chocolates with a note inside that shows how “sweet” you thought their performance was.
If cards and chocolate seem a little too safe for your brand and company culture, think about promotional products that recognize employees’ accomplishments without all the sentimental fanfare of Valentine’s Day. Gifts like Myron’s Vidal Triple Function Digital Pen can be smart and chic additions to any office or home that your workers should be proud to show off.
“Taking some time out of your day to spread some good will among your employees could pay big dividends down the road.”
Rush of emotion
Though the office isn’t the place for romance or overt displays of affection, it still might not hurt to get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day a little bit. If you want to turn this from a general office holiday into one your employees will remember forever, it might take a little creativity.
In a novel new marketing campaign that you may have seen during the Super Bowl, McDonald’s will be accepting “expressions of affection” – simple gestures like calling your mother or hugging your sibling – as payment for their regular line of products. While this might seem a little gimmicky for a group of office workers, taking some time out of your day to spread some good will among your employees could pay big dividends down the road.
Incentivize the gestures of camaraderie by offering rewards for compliments or other displays of Valentine’s Day good will. A brisk handshake could be worth a 15-minute break, while a full hug might be enough for a lunch on the company. Your employees might not be best friends, but little things like this help bring them closer together.
Regardless of how you choose to show your employees that you care about them, it’s critical that you don’t try and overplay your hand. Like your customers, your workers probably also have a sharp ear for when they’re receiving real praise and when they’re being patronized. If you think you might be overdoing it on the appreciation front, take a step back and wonder what it looks like from your employees’ perspective – are you showing them that you care in a way that meshes with their individual styles? If not, you might be doing more harm than good.