As a business owner, you know that keeping your employees happy is crucial for the growth and success of your business.
The challenge is finding ways to keep your workers engaged, especially in an industry as demanding as the skilled trades and home services.
One of the best ways to motivate employees and ensure their productivity is by offering perks that they ACTUALLY care about. Money just doesn't do it anymore — it's no longer the biggest motivating factor.
But don't worry; there are still plenty of creative ways to incentivize your techs, CSRs (Customer Service Representatives), and other team members to participate and perform better.
So whether you're trying to encourage your team to hit certain KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or create a better culture to attract fresh talent, here are 7 creative ways to motivate your employees.
An easy way to get creative ideas is simply to ask employees what they want. This is the most straightforward way to figure out what will incentivize your team.
Don’t assume you know what your employees will be motivated by when it comes to incentives.
More money doesn't cut it anymore. Work-life balance has become a huge priority for a lot of people.
Sit down with your team and say, "Hey, what would you get excited about? What perks or bonuses would you like to see?"
You might be surprised at the ideas they bring to the table. And yes, some might be unrealistic, but others might be awesome!
Some of you reading this might have techs that dispatch from home or different departments that you don't interact with much. Or maybe you just don't have regular meetings at your shop.
So gathering the team is also a great time for feedback, not only on the perks, but on how well things are going in your business. You can get a sense of whether your team is really engaged and happy with the company. And if they're not, it allows you to take a step back and consider what could be causing that.
It might be something small or simple that would only take a few minutes to improve, or it might be an indication that bigger changes need to happen at your company.
Either way — it can help you improve culture, and morale, avoid turnover and show your team that you value their insight and opinions.
Feedback about your incentives or other areas of your business is a great way to make sure you're staying on track and doing all you can to keep your employees engaged and satisfied with their employment.
A recent study asked what would be the most important thing a manager or business could do that would help their employees be more successful, and nearly 40% percent — that's almost half — cited recognition as the best way to support and encourage the team.
So people want to know that they're doing work their employer is proud of, and they want to know when they're getting things right. But they don't necessarily want to be called out in front of others. You have to keep in mind the personalities of your employees and what's going to feel good for them.
This could be another great detail to ask when you meet with your employees to talk about perks. Ask them how they would like to be recognized.
Recognition is so simple and VERY budget-friendly, so that's an excellent place to start.
Time is one of the most precious resources for your employees. Again, work-life balance is super important these days, and many people would rather have more free time than more money.
It's the whole reason many of your clients probably hire you. They could figure out how to do the work themselves (although it might not be recommended, and they won't get as good of results), but many of your clients prefer to hire you.
That's because the work they would need to do takes time and energy, there's a learning curve involved, and mistakes can be made that can take up even more time. So instead they hire you, the expert, to do the work for them so they can save their precious time.
The same goes for your employees.
So a great incentive is to give your employees back some of that valuable time. You could offer services like:
Meal deliveries for a month
Bi-weekly house cleaning for the quarter
This way, they can get things done at home that they don't usually have time for.
Yes, technically, if your incentive is $500, they could just pay for some of these things themselves. But there's something special about being given the gift of more time with a service or bonus that you wouldn't usually buy for yourself.
Another great incentive that people often don't buy for themselves is a bucket-list experience.
Everyone on your team probably has a bucket list of some sort. They might have some experiences in their mind that they would absolutely love to check off that list someday.
It could be:
Getting a tattoo
Seeing their all-time favorite band in concert
Visiting a tropical destination they've always dreamed of...
Everyone has that one thing in their lives that would make them ecstatic if they got the chance to FINALLY experience it.
So fulfilling that experience for them could be a great perk — something they would not only appreciate but remember forever.
The exciting thing about this incentive is it can be totally unique to each individual. And that's going to get them excited on a really emotional level!
They'll be so motivated by the incentive that they'll be “bought-in” to your goals too. It will push them to work hard, check that item off their bucket list, and have you organize and pay for it.
Providing your employees with a once-in-a-lifetime experience is a sure way to make them feel appreciated and motivated.
Another creative incentive idea is the splurge items. The luxury things that many of us want but never get around to doing or don't see as a priority in life — so we just don't do it.
What I'm talking about here are things like:
Mini-vacations to a local resort
Season tickets to a local pro sports league
Top-of-the-line brand new gear for their hobby
A premium bottle of whiskey or wine
Everyone has something they would love to splurge on, but they can't make it happen or justify it in real life either because of time or finances. So why not put the power of the company behind it and give them that luxury item or experience.
And like the bucket list experience, this can be tailored to the individual.
Every person could pick the item or service they want as long as it fits within a certain dollar range. Then when they hit that KPI or achieve that goal you've set for them, the company fulfills their individual wish for them, and they get that fun thing they've been wanting that they just haven't gotten around to buying for themselves.
Incentives can be an investment in both your employees and the company. One way to do this is through incentives related to professional development.
For the right individual, conferences, seminars, paid-for certifications, and other training opportunities can be a huge incentive. This could open up new career opportunities for them either within your company or outside of it.
Maybe they want to move up to work for a bigger brand someday. Or maybe they have dreams of opening their own business in the future. Either way is fine because investing in their skills now helps your company too.
By developing their skills, knowledge, and experience, employees become more valuable to your company and your clients, and they get excited about their career path.
And that's very important. They're not just punch-the-clock employees who clock out at 5 pm and don't think about work again until Monday morning.
They're motivated to learn more and grow in their role — and when they do, everyone wins.
The skilled trades are not easy! The work is mentally challenging and hard on the body.
Invest in your company and your team by buying new software, tools, and equipment to make everyone's life easier.
What are some ways you can streamline your employees' work and make the day-to-day less stressful or more pleasant?
Is it time to upgrade your fleet, so their commute around town is more comfortable?
Are there innovative new tools that would make their work less strenuous?
What about providing uniforms and laundry service, so they look clean and presentable to your customers and have less to deal with when they get home at the end of the day?
Or maybe you invest in a field service management software that allows them to dispatch from home so that they can have a little bit more of a flexible schedule.
Or even offer a Tuesday through Saturday schedule or a split schedule where some employees work earlier and later shifts. This allows more appointment opportunities for your clients and could be an enticing offer for team members who want a more flexible schedule.
But again, it all comes back to what would get them excited…
Talk to them about what they want and see if it's possible to make it happen.
These are a few unique creative incentives you employees might love and appreciate.
Pick one or pick a variety throughout the year to keep things fresh and exciting, so people are always looking ahead and wondering, "ooh — what are they going to offer this quarter?"
And keep in mind that employees who are engaged and excited are more productive — so it might be worth splurging a little bit more to incentivize people for some of those bigger goals that you want to achieve.
Now you might not know which KPIs are the most important to you and which one you should link to one of these creative incentives to make a real impact on your business.
So if that's you, I put together a FREE guide of all the best numbers to keep track of in your home service business. It goes over everything from revenue to expenses, cash flow, and more. So if you want to have some big-picture clarity in your contracting business, you can check it out HERE!