2020 has been, well, a year. While we don’t know what’s in store for 2021, we do know who got us through this past year: our employees.
Not every small business fared well, but those who did made it through day by day. The people that work for them experienced a global pandemic, social justice movements and more. And yet, they kept us all afloat.
Every small business took a hit – some monetary, some from their colleagues becoming sick, some facing both. Even if your finances are rocky, there are plenty of ways to give thanks to a group of people who saw us through one of the hardest years of our lives.
Here are just a few ways to help:
Offer a company-wide four-day weekend
Taking time off is great, but there’s typically at least one or two emails, Slack messages or iMessages that slip through while you’re away, making it hard to rest when you know your team is working so hard.
By instilling a four-day weekend for the entire team to take off you’re doing a few things:
- You’re not giving much more PTO than normal, but enough to show your gratitude for their efforts in the past year. And when you butt it up against a weekend, you’re extending their rest. For those who don’t use their PTO as often as they should, this mandated vacation can do wonders.
- You’re giving the entire company room to breathe. This way, everyone is off at the same time. No one is dependent on one another to get something done. Everyone can recharge and come back feeling better together.
Take the time to truly assess their careers and give them a plan forward
We so often talk about career pathways and opportunities for advancement, but employees who are in the thick of it rarely have a chance to see the path forward when they’re putting in the hard work.
Investing in deep conversations with one another about what your employee wants to do in the next two or three years, or where they see themselves helping with challenges within the organization will be not only welcomed, but it’ll show your commitment to their success.
Following through with detailed career development plans and checking back monthly on their progress will help build your relationships even more so with your team who has committed so much to you during some of the hardest times.
Use Kin’s objective tracker for monthly, quarterly and annual goals and make sure that you’re both focused on the right things to be successful.
Write an unsolicited LinkedIn recommendation
Yes, this sounds silly. But taking as little as 10-15 minutes to publicly recognize someone in your organization who is still there goes a long way. Especially when it’s unexpected.
Giving an honest, appreciative recommendation can help your team member know how much you value them. It’s a gift that truly can help them the rest of their career, especially if you’re in an industry where LinkedIn can be a de-facto resume for some.
Offer inexpensive perks that make their daily life easier
Maybe you’ve been working remotely now for nine months and employees are realizing that this is at least the norm for the next four to five months. Offering perks like a Netflix subscription, a grocery delivery service or even a small stipend to make their office a bit more comfortable can go a long way.
It’s less about the amount you spend here and more about the thought. When you offer something like this to employees, you’re showing them that you’re mindful of their current situation and want to continue to help where and how you can.
Put in place a monthly recognition program
At Kin, we used to circulate a “torch” each month to the employee who won it for their efforts. The team decided on the employee who would be rewarded, and at the end of the month, they would be surprised with it on a team video chat. We’d read a letter put together by the winner’s manager to explain why they were chosen. Everyone would clap and cheer. The person who won would feel valued and understood. It was spectacular.
The torch itself was a piece of metal that, frankly, I still don’t know what it was to this day. However, that didn’t matter. What I do know is when I won it, I distinctly remember that being one of the highlights of my entire year. And when I write about it now, I still smile thinking back on that day. Since we are 100% remote, we would ship it to each other monthly and that continues to be one of the most favorite packages I’ve ever received.
Little things like this make bonding happen even faster in a team. It’s a type of recognition that only happens within your team. To the outside world it doesn’t seem like much, but internally it’s a really big deal. Something as personal to the company as this can help employees feel on top of the world, even when money is tight.