There is one perk common among the Best Places to Work finalists — employee appreciation.
Everyone appreciates recognition for hard work or making an extra effort above and beyond their job description — and even for fulfilling their job description.
It is almost cliché that disgruntled employees grumble that their bosses don't appreciate them; that their bosses don't notice or seem to care when they solve a problem or work extra hours to finish a job.
One could argue that employees aren't children needing praise all the time for doing what they were hired to do. But employees are human, and humans never outgrow that need for someone to compliment them and boost their self-esteem.
A simple but frequent "thank you" or "good job" goes a long way to boost an employee's morale — and those uttered phrases only cost the owner/manager a little bit of free oxygen.
Some business owners we spotlighted in this issue go a little further and spend some time to publicly recognize and reward employees on a periodic basis for their hard work, innovative idea or just doing an admirable gesture, such as helping out a co-worker or going above-and-beyond for a customer.
Such recognition, they say, shows fellow employees what behaviors are expected and admired by management.
And then there are companies that spend a measurable amount of their profits to boost morale with monetary rewards — sporting event tickets, amusement park outings, gift cards, vacations, parties.
But they claim such expenditures pay back in dividends, because employees are happier and feel appreciated and thus are more loyal to the company.
A happy, loyal employee is less apt to leave the company for another job, forcing the employer to spend time and money seeking and training a replacement.
Another benefit of a positive workplace, as several employers noted: a happy employee begets a happy customer. And happy customers keep coming back.
Many businesses spend time and money to attract and retain satisfied customers who will come back again and again. But customers won't be satisfied if they have to deal with disgruntled employees or a different salesperson on every visit due to high staff turnover.
Employees are a company's most important resource and a vital part of a successful, profitable operation.
Independent tire dealerships would be wise to learn from the Best Places to Work finalists who focus on employee satisfaction and morale to attract and retain quality employees — and customers.