What the Best Employers Do That You Don’t

The truth is, if you want top performing employees and a knockout culture, you’re going to have to dish out a couple deals. Fifty years ago, employees weren’t treated the way they are now. You went to work, you got the job done, you went home. No work from home days, no free lunches, no feedback, nothin’! Nowadays, this won’t cut it if you’re looking for that extra 12% of happy, engaged employees who go above and beyond every day. Read these four tactics to implement in the new year for the happiest, top talent you’ve ever seen.

Tweet This: Did you know happy and engaged employees are 12% more productive?

Free Gym Memberships

The mood benefits of exercising for just 20 minutes can last up to 12 hours. Offering a gym membership can show a great increase in mood, motivation and productivity. Let’s face it, every job is stressful. Whether it be a pesky coworker, a huge unsolvable client issue, a new project to crack, work gets to us as much as we try to not let it.

Offer a gym membership as a stress reliever to employees who get worked up over daily work issues. The American Psychological Association said, “Reducing your stress levels can not only make you feel better right now but may also protect your health long-term.”

Employer ROI: According to SHRM, calculating the ROI based on the hard savings numbers provides most companies with the justification for implementing such programs.

An article in the Harvard Business Review focused on one employer and put participants through cardiac rehabilitation and exercise training.

Of those classified as high risk when the study started (according to body fat, blood pressure, anxiety level and other measures), 57% were converted to low-risk status by the end of the six-month program. Furthermore, medical claim costs declined by $1,421 per participant, compared with those from the previous year. A control group showed no such improvements.

The bottom line: Every dollar invested in the intervention yielded $6 in health care savings.

Time Off For All

Unlimited time off sounds like a potentially terrible idea that many managers are trying to bury and hide from employees. But, this actually works hand in hand with the gym membership. According to Julie Boehlke (@onlinewebwriter), writer for Livestrong, “Regular exercise that includes power walking, running, weight lifting, swimming or jogging can help reduce your risk of developing certain types of illness and disease. This means fewer sick days at work.”

Having the benefit of unlimited time off has also been proven to work by big companies including Netflix and ZenPayroll as told by Joshua Reeves (@joshuareeves), CEO and co-founder of ZenPayroll, Netflix, for instance, lets its salaried employees take as much time off as they want- and nobody, including managers or employees, tracks it. “We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days worked,” the company said in a slideshow called “Freedom & Responsibility Culture.”

Employer ROI: Only about 1% of companies have started offering a benefit of unlimited PTO, which makes it tough to gauge the ROI, but anecdotal evidence points to it being a great thing. Executives at Netflix attest that their employees are grateful for the increase in adaptability and appreciate the company looking out for their best interests.

At HR company PayScale, unlimited PTO is proving to be a recruiting draw that attracts job seekers. Some companies have even reported a decrease in PTO since implementing the new mandate, as employees would prefer to stay on the good side of such a generous employer.

Drink me, please!

Set aside time at the end of each week to hold a mandatory culture building meeting. I’m the biggest advocate for these, and for a good reason. Sometimes we have great weeks and sometimes we have horrible ones, but we always take the chance to learn from our own (and our coworkers’) mistakes. This is our chance to talk about what we’ve accomplished throughout the week. It’s where I say “great job” or “do it this way next time,” and it’s where my employees congratulate each other on a job well done.

Not only have leaders seen the results themselves on how much feedback can really bring employees up, but a study by Gallup showed companies with an average of 9.3 engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee, experienced 147% higher EPS compared to their competition. Even more? They also reported to find work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 22% in profitability and 21% in productivity.

Employer ROI: Recognition and culture building shouldn’t need an ROI but if you insist, HBR published a great piece on managing the ROI of these seemingly soft skills, illustrating how a small uptick in engagement can lead to a big bottom line boost. You can easily create your own ROI calculator or spreadsheet to determine how much you might save by giving people some feedback, FaceTime and mad props!

Almost every company we’ve studied says it values employee engagement, but some—including Starbucks, Limited Brands, and Best Buy—can precisely identify the value of a 0.1% increase in engagement among employees at a particular store. At Best Buy, for example, that value is more than $100,000 in the store’s annual operating income.

Spread Holiday Cheer

Make some room in the budget for paid time off for employees during the holidays. Even if your culture is booming, employees want to spend time with friends and family during the holidays. Besides, haven’t you heard it’s the most wonderful time of the year? Time off at the end of a long and successful year is a necessity and will ensure employees come bouncing back with all the motivation that comes with every new year.

When it comes down to it, giving your employees a little more breathing room backed by a couple pats on the back every week gives them the motivation to give you the productivity leaders all over have been searching for for years.

Employer ROI: You get to not be Ebeneezer Scrooge!

Encourage good mental and physical health with the above four perks and benefits and let us know how your workforce improves this coming new year. @ElevatedCareers

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