Ideas for Employee Appreciation

Ideas for Employee Appreciation

Family pictures and holiday cards have started piling up on your desk, plates of holiday treats have begun to appear in the break room, and a few employees have strung up twinkly lights in their cubicles. This means only thing; the holiday season has arrived and with its arrival often comes the pressure for holiday bonuses and the like.


Without a doubt, your employees are valuable. Without them, you wouldn’t be nearly as successful and you may cease to exist at all. So, how do you show your thanks? Here are some ideas to show your appreciation during the holidays (or all year round):

Office Party


We’ve all seen the comical and nightmarish accounts of an office party getting a little out of hand, as portrayed in television and movies, but a party around the holidays can be a great time relax and connect with one another. If you have a planning committee at work or a few people who love to plan events, sit down with them and start exchanging ideas. There are many things to consider, such as making it family friendly or an adults only bash. Although you are planning it around the holidays, be mindful about everyone’s backgrounds. Rather than making it a “Christmas” party, it’s a better idea to make it an end of the year appreciation gathering.

Providing a Meal During the Weekday


While the breakroom tables become crowded with sugar cookies, gingerbread people, peanut butter blossoms, and even a few loaves of fruit cake, your employees are destined to have sugar overkill. A nice way to show that you appreciate all the hard work your employees do is by having lunch catered or offer continental breakfast items in the morning. A quality bagel and a good cup of coffee can go a long way.

Close Early and Offer Pay


Around the holidays, many people end up taking vacation or personal time to spend time with family and friends. Rather than making your employees use up time they already saved up, why not offer a few half days off with pay? Not only will getting out at noon on a Friday, and still get paid for a full day, bring smiles all around, but your employees may be more eager to stay productive. Can’t afford to let everyone go at once? Rotate schedules throughout departments.


Encourage Creativity, Accept Feedback


When your employees feel like their talents are being used and their voices are heard, they will not only be more productive, but may feel more appreciated. Even though you’re the head honcho, your employees are just as valuable as what you’re selling (if not more). Take the time to listen and ask for feedback on a regular basis.

Offering Bonuses


A little extra money at the end of the year is always a nice token of appreciation and while many businesses do it, it’s up to you if you can do it, too. When offering a cash bonus, consider adding a nice personal note or if you want to offer a bonus in the form of an employee benefit, offer some extra time off or a share of the company. Make it personal and make it matter. Empty gestures are just that and your hardworking deserve more.


Hiring Seasonal Employees This Summer

Hiring Seasonal Employees This Summer

Depending on the type of business you have, you may get busier during the summer months. While some businesses make it work by using existing staff and increasing the workload, hiring a few seasonal employees can not only help with the increase in demand, but can also keep the potential workplace stress low. By hiring seasonal employees, your company is more likely to run efficiently during a busy season and your customer/client base may increase even more. Another plus? Your year round employees can take some time off without compromising your busy season.


Although the idea of training in a few seasonal employees may sound like too much work, particularly right before a busy season, if you make the time to train them in properly, you are likely to see positive results in your productivity. Whether you’re planning on hiring a few seasonal employees this summer or twenty, here are some things you should know:

Seasonal Employees Have the Same Rights


Even if you’re only planning on only keeping a seasonal employee on for a few months, he or she has the same employment rights as your full-time employees. According to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), laws that harassment, discrimination, and workplace health and safety apply to all of your employees, whether temporary or full-time. Depending on where you live, it’s also important to find out if you need to offer unemployment benefits. However, in regards to Obamacare, you are not required to offer health insurance to seasonal employees unless you staff over 50 full-time employees for 120 days or more.

Taxes, Workers’ Comp, & Social Security


As you would with other employees, you must withhold part of Social Security and Medicare taxes from your employee’s wages. Additionally, you must provide worker’s compensation for all of your employees, regardless of how long they are employed by your company. When hiring a seasonal employee, make sure you have and know the correct tax information for seasonal workers or part-time help.

Training Employees This Summer


If you anticipate hiring a seasonal employee each year, you may want to create a special training program or manual just for seasonal employees, however (for consistency), consider training seasonal employees the same way that you would a full-time employee. Make sure to go over standard operating procedures, all workplace safety information, and any employee rights and company expectations. When you’re in a rush to hire on new employees, it may be easy to go over information quickly or unintentionally skip some information all together, but if you take the time to train properly, you are less likely to face issues at the peak of your busy season.

You May Have Found a Future Employee


One of the nice things about hiring a seasonal employee is that if they don’t work out, it’s not as big of a deal than having to terminate a full-time employee. On the plus side, you may have found a future full-time employee or someone who is willing to return when you need seasonal help.


Small Businesses & Parental Leave

Small Businesses & Parental Leave

Without a strong team of dedicated employees, a business of any size can suffer. If you run a small business, you undoubtedly rely on your employees and in turn try to offer them benefits and other incentives for staying with and supporting your small company. While many employees of a small business are offered health insurance and even a retirement plan, parental leave is another story. It continues to baffle business owners and employees, alike, that in a developed country like the United States, women are not guaranteed time off from work to care for their newborn after birth.

Although larger businesses are required to provide employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave, through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), smaller businesses with less than 50 employees are not required to provide the same kind of leave. If you’re not required to provide parental (or maternity) leave, here are some reasons why you may want to consider offering it for expectant parents in your company:

Employees May Return After Leave

If you decide to provide parental leave your employees, there’s a good chance that a majority of the employees will return to work after leave. By providing parental leave, giving either men or women an option to take time off after the birth or adoption of a child, you are taking action and showing your employees that you care about them and their families. In turn, you are more likely to have employees that value you as an employer and express mutual respect.

Creating a Parental Leave Policy

Whether you want to include both women and men is up to you, but when you create your parental leave policy it should be clear and you should be consistent with no exceptions and included in all employee manuals and in terms of employment. (Yes, even small businesses with a small amount of employees should have employee manuals and terms of employment.) When creating your policy, consider the FMLA:

  • Employees must be employed with your company for at least 12 months and works a regular work week (or works a minimum of hours per week).
  • The time of leave must be continuous, not broken up over a period of time (such as 6 to 12 weeks).

If you can’t offer paid leave or can’t afford to be without your employee for 12 weeks, consider alternatives such as working from home or allowing your employee to bring the child to work (if it’s safe and suitable).

Prepare Your Business

Just as you would with another lengthy absence in your company, you should have a plan for conducting business without an integral employee. Depending on the type of business you run, you have a few options that may work such as temporarily offering up or delegating tasks to existing employees, hire out your work to freelancers, or hire a temporary employee during the time of your employee’s absence.

Customer Base : How to Build

Customer Base : How to Build

Starting a new business can be terrifying. You pump time and money into your new venture with no idea of how it will turn out. All business owners start somewhere, though. And one thing every new start-up needs is a customer base.


Here are five things any new business can do to begin building that brand.


Use Social Media (and Do a Good Job of It)

Every company needs an online presence these days. Most businesses realize that, but they often neglect the details. Unless you’re selling a product directly online, you should focus more on social media than on an elaborate page.


Few customers will spend time navigating through an elaborate website. You need to go to your customers. A healthy social media presence will allow customers to incorporate your deals and ads into their own time.


And make sure your social media presence is up to date. If your page hasn’t been update in three years, no one will know how accurate your information is. Spend the time needed to get good content available online.


Hire a Few Reliable Employees

The more employees you have, the more time you’ll need to spend in human resources and management. A large staff may sound appealing, but remember that each person will need wages, paperwork, and maybe even benefits packages. And the more people you’ve got working together, the more likely it will be that people will feud and cause problems.


Find a few good people. Hire them. And keep your staff lean. Good employees—so long as your treat them well—will be loyal and hardworking. They will also attract customers. Customers like to go to a business where they know the people working. That customer-business relationship is key to growing your start-up.


Get to Know What Everyone Does

Learn the basics of what every one of your employees does on a normal day. This will help you build rapport with your staff; you’ll understand how hard their work is, and that understanding will help build the mutual respect between employee and employer that is necessary for building a strong workforce. It will also prevent your employees from thinking you don’t understand how the place actually works.


Know Your Customer

Again, customers like going to places where they know the workers. Learn your customers’ names, talk with them about their days, and slowly build that relationship. Remember to be sincere, though; nothing turns potential regulars again like a slimy conversation with the owner.


Once people know you, they will feel personally invested in your establishment. If it’s home to them, they’ll keep coming back, and will feel the importance of spending their money on you instead of the similar shop a few blocks down.



Do Good Work

This one should go without saying, but it pays to remember that customers will be happier when they get high quality service. Whatever it is you do, do it well. Solid product or content will be the best marketing tool you’ll ever have. Quality is the first thing customers consider when planning a shopping trip.   


Fight Cyber Attacks in a Big Way

Fight Cyber Attacks in a Big Way

As a small business, if you’ve been keeping your fingers crossed hoping that you won’t become target of a cyber attack, your luck may be running out. Just because big corporations, such as Target, have been hit hard, who’s to say that you’re immune? Sure, you are a small business and maybe you think you’re just a blip on the radar in the business world, but if someone wants to get access to your information they will find a way. If you are a business of any size, you have private customer and employee information that should never get into the wrong hands. Regardless of the size of your company or the number or your employees, it’s vital to protect yourself against cyber attacks. Here are a few ways to stay a little bit safer without losing sleep at night.

Amp Up Security


Many big businesses, avoiding a cyber attack or after the unfortunate success of an attack, move to amp up their security by hiring a privacy analyst. Unfortunately, small businesses may not have the financial means to hire an expensive but valuable employee for their business. Does that mean you should just hope for the best? Not unless you consider yourself a good gambler.


Even though a privacy analyst may not be possible for every business, cybercrime prevention must be a step in any type and size of business. So, maybe if you can’t afford a full-time privacy analyst, you can hire someone to help you implement a cyber attack plan.

Employees You Can Trust


A problematic employee can make or break a small business. In addition to having a good employee that understands and shares your passion for your business, he or she must also be a trustworthy individual. For instance, if your business handles a lot of confidential information, you need to know that your employees will respect and commit to privacy. Additionally, you need to know that all of your personal and professional information will be kept private and not shared with the wrong people.


Educate your employees about cyber attacks and encourage them to have a smart and safe online presence. It may seem like a “no brainer”, but people often forget about online security, particularly if they’ve never been attacked. Teach your employees (and remind yourself) to be cautious when using social media, change and have multiple passwords for accounts, and pay attention to fraudster-like activity such as suspicious customer complaints.


Stay in the Loop

Once you build up your cyber security and have your cyber attack prevention plan in place, don’t think that the work is done. Cyber attackers evolve as quickly as technology and they continuously find ways to retrieve sensitive and confidential information that can destroy even the smallest of companies. One of the best ways to avoid your chances of becoming a cybercrime victim is staying up to date on security technology and other news in the cyber world. If you can’t have an employee solely dedicated to your security, consult with a professional every couple of months to make sure you are on track.