Labor Day is here. Although it was started as way to recognize the achievements of American workers, today it seems to be an excuse to take the day off, indulge in some deep discounts on your favorite websites or take one last trip to the beach or the mountains.
A single day out of 365 isn’t enough to recognize your workers and what they do for you. Giving them a paid holiday is great, but Labor Day should be a reminder to show your appreciation for your people on a year-round basis.
Do something fun.
Many of the contractors I’ve met have annual appreciation events for their employees. Some go all out, like taking their employees on a hunting or fishing trip, and some are as simple as a yearly barbecue. If you can do something more frequently, like bringing in pizza once a month, you can create something your people will look forward to on a regular basis. Chagrin Falls, Ohio-based landscaper The Ohio Valley Group has monthly cookouts, employee-of-the-month programs and team kick-off days.
Cold, hard cash.
Showing the money is a great way to show your appreciation, so share the wealth, if you can. If your company is in good shape, ask your financial advisor to help you set up a reasonable profit sharing plan, such as the one The Ohio Valley Group has in place, which is points-based. Although it may seem expensive, the financial benefit you’ll reap from the resulting boost in retention and productivity will help offset that. If profit sharing or raises simply aren’t feasible, consider small bonuses at the holidays, perks or incentive pay. As an alternative, consider flexible hours. Chattanooga-based contractor Stief Counts doesn’t count hours or vacation time. His employees work until the job is done, but take as much vacation as they need or want.
Say thank you.
It’s not all about money, and the simplest things are often the most overlooked. Let them know you don’t take their skills and expertise for granted. Tell your employees you appreciate them, and be specific about what you liked. If someone went above and beyond, or just did a great job on a particular project, let them know you noticed, and you appreciate them.
Editor’s Note: Amy Materson is the managing editor for sister magazine Equipment World.