Why buying employee happiness is a waste of money
The other day, a few of us from the Marketing Eye team were at a client meeting and they mentioned that they buy all of their employees an ipad for Christmas.
You should have seen my employees faces! They were green with envy. It was as if they had all been given ferraris.
I thought to myself, "that's really cool" but not for a second did I think that they received something worth more than what my employees in Atlanta received. Perception is an unbelievable thing and more and more, companies are being encouraged to "buy" their employees happiness.
Many new age companies, with venture-backed operations offer:
- Free health insurance
- Registered dietitians
- Counsellors and psychologists
- Chefs and free meals
- Time off for any type of family emergency or relationship breakup
- Toys, games, sporting equipment, gym membership, billiards tables etc
What happens when these same people become redundant and are forced to find alternative work in companies that don't have the same perks, nor profits or venture backed business with deep pockets.
My team I believe are treated very well; they receive lunch once or twice a week, bottles of french champagne when they achieve goals, constant reassuring of a job "well done", bonuses more than any of my friends in business pay their employees on a quarterly basis, payrises based on performance of company and as individuals on a quarterly basis and an opportunity to have any role in the company, as long as they can prove that they are capable of doing it, and the financial results are there for all to see.
For key players, I take them to dinner or breakfast once a week, usually at an expensive restaurant or at least within their pay grade and I give them insight into me in a way many employers would be afraid to do so. I show weaknesses so hopefully they learn from these things and remember that I am human, not some "devil who wears Prada" running a company with no emotion or investment in them personally. I also reward employees for excellence in customer service with gifts that they would not buy themselves like Jimmy Choo shoes or Louis Vuitton handbags - extravagant but deserving.
The environment that they work in has a down-side; we literally all sit together side by side. The upside of that is that we don't treat each other as colleagues but instead as family who don't tip-toe around the issues, and offer a caring, understanding and sometimes "loving" environment.
There are breakout rooms, lunch rooms, games rooms and you can scooter from floor to floor. Jewel, our security guard that we share with others is "adorable" and mostly, people are friendly. We have all made friends outside our normal comfort zone.
I am sure that it must be nice to work for a company that has it all and are 100% employee focused, but as a small business, I feel like perhaps there is no-way I could compete with that and certainly not on that level. We don't have unlimited money, and instead, we are focused on high growth and building a business that one day may be able to do all of these things - just because we can. Wouldn't that be nice?
How to manage your employees "green with envy state"
- Create a happy environment
- Fire anyone who isn't engaged in your brand and totally in love with your clients (only after you have done everything possible to rectify the situation)
- Put in place regular team building exercises; playing a round of golf, tennis lessons, rock climbing, visit to the art gallery etc
- Reward good behavior and people who make a difference
- Be transparent regarding company revenues, profits and bonus schemes. Make sure you are fair and reasonable at all times.
- Only give bonuses if the company is doing well
- Be slow to give new package deals and focus on company performance and individuals performance instead
- Write thank you notes and inspirational messages to those who are standout performers or who just need cheering up
- Remember, its the little things that count. Refer to Marketing Eye's onboarding blog
- Give them a future to look forward to and help them realize their dreams.