How’s your work day been so far? Feeling appreciated?
As National Employee Appreciation Day (1st March) comes around again we thought we’d share some Concept thoughts on keeping people happy and motivated at work.
We recently ran a survey asking the hundreds of candidates registered with us for digital, marketing and creative roles to rate how important they considered perks when looking for a new job. We weren’t surprised by the results, because we know our industry and the people in it inside out, but some employers might be.
According to our candidates, structured benefits such as a career development plan, flexible working hours, and good training opportunities were the factors they rated the most important when looking for a new job.
The softer benefits such as free food and refreshments, regular social events and free beers on Fridays topped the list of ‘interesting, but not important’ factors.
Okay, it may have been a relatively small sample in terms of the whole of the UK workforce, but it still shows that recognition in the workplace is not just about bringing cakes into the office now and then and throwing an occasional night out, enjoyable as those things are.
Employers are now much more imaginative about the perks they offer their staff. Netflix claims to have pioneered the concept of unlimited holiday leave, and LinkedIn and Virgin Management quickly followed suit. It takes a lot of management confidence to take that leap and it’s not just the big names with the appetite for a bold approach. We work with one North East employer which offers its staff unlimited holidays, along with plenty of overseas travel for business and training, plus flexible working hours as standard. That company is doing phenomenally well and working with some of the fastest growing brands in the world.
Another award-winning local agency offers its people ‘away from the office’ days to really get those creative juices flowing, a fully stocked healthy breakfast bar, a day off on their birthday, a free team lunch out on their first day and another on their work anniversary, and a gym membership. Uniquely, it also offers a welfare programme that includes free and confidential advice from outside experts.
Perks don’t have to cost money though. Feedback from our candidates shows that simply taking the time to say thank you goes a long way to make people feel valued. Organising Employee of the Month awards, highlighting their efforts on social media, splashing out on little treats now and then (more cake, anyone?) and celebrating work anniversaries, promotions and exam successes all work well too.
Here at Concept we’re a close-knit team and everyone’s efforts are genuinely appreciated. Our recruitment consultant Lauren was thrilled to receive some Prince tribute act tickets recently after some great work, and not much is allowed to stand in the way of our monthly ‘day before payday lunch’ outing where we take it in turns to choose a different venue.
When it comes to actual hard cash, as you’d expect, we take a different approach to other recruitment companies and rather than individual performance targets we have a bonus based on overall company performance. One team, where everyone shares the benefits.
For business owner who are unsure about what keeps their staff happy in their work, our advice is to ask them. Even if some of the answers are surprising or uncomfortable, it’s a chance to create a working environment where everyone can flourish. Recognition in the workplace should not be limited to one day a year, it should be an integral part of the organisational culture.
Finding the best staff is a challenge, so it makes sense to hang on to them. Happy staff equals happy clients, and that’s reflected in a healthy bottom line, which is good for all of us.