Association Executive Jim Haisler compiled this list of employee perks, morale builders and rewards from a bunch of colleagues. Thanks for all these ideas, Jim ... and also thanks to all who contributed to the list!
1) Holiday shopping day: Each staff person is assigned a day off in late November/early December to allow them to get their shopping done and reduce stress. They get paid but cannot switch the day assigned to them.
2) Changing hours: Have staff work 4 ten-hour days each week versus 5 eight-hour days. Staff saves money on gas and time on commuting as well as effectively getting an extra day off each week. (Or perhaps even four 9-hour days!)
3) Paid birthday day off: Give staff their birthday off, paid.
4) Rotate extra holidays: Rotate giving staff a day off on each of the holidays that the association is still open - Martin Luther King, Presidents Day, etc.
5) Gift card and/or reward points contest: Through the use of a contest or other means created by staff, distribute your credit card rewards points to staff for them to choose an item from the credit card prize catalog. This works with gift cards the Association might receive or earn as well. Or, if you have to, buy $25 gift cards toward local restaurant or retailer (e.g., gas card) and create a contest to help boost morale.
6) Summer "attitude adjustment" days: Give staff 2 half days off during the summer months for “attitude adjustment." Stipulate that an employee can’t use it in conjunction with other vacation time.
7) Buying club membership: Purchase a Costco or Sam’s Club membership for each staff person.
8) Health club membership: Purchase health club membership for staff. This encourages staff to be more healthy and health conscious. Consider, as well, letting staff leave two hours early twice a month so they can use the membership. Not only does this build goodwill with the staff but might reduce health insurance costs (check with your medical insurance provider.)
9) "Good Deed" drawing: When a staffer witnesses a "good deed" by another staffer they drop their name into a jar. "Good deeds" can be for members, other staffers or a specific job well done. No limit on the number of nominations. The more times your name is entered, the better chance you have for it being picked for a Friday afternoon off! You can offer one a month or as an add-on to those long holiday weekends. Peer recognition, motivating environment and a little fun and competition all in one!
10) March Madness Tournament: Have each staff person pick a team or even a whole conference in the March Madness tournament. The winning staff person gets a day off, pizzas delivered to their home, or some other prize.
11) Pot luck lunches: Once a month everyone brings in a dish from home to have for lunch.
12) Casual days/theme days: Once a month allow staff to “dress down”. Or have theme days such as all wearing sports jerseys, college sweatshirts, or a specific color. Be creative, but more importantly, let them decide. Don’t forget to play along with them!
13) Flex days: Extra paid days off.
14) Work from home days: If it fits into your Association, and it may not work for everyone, allow your staff to work from home a day a week or one day a month.
15) Staff outings: Take the staff our once or twice a year as a group. Close the office and bond. Competitions are excellent- like laser tag or billiards.
16) Lunch meetings: Hold your office staff meetings at lunchtime and order in lunch for them.
17) Birthday lunches: To celebrate staff birthdays, host a once-a-year birthday luncheon/pot luck lunch.
18) Swag birthday presents: Take the freebie items you get from ordering office supplies or even those you pick up at conventions, wrap them up and let staff pick from the pile on their birthday. It’s cheap and fun. You never know what you’re going to get.
19) Afternoon ice cream party: Once a month surprise your staff by buying them ice cream or some other special treat.
20) Reward cost saving ideas: Okay, so they didn't get a raise but would they like to earn a bonus? Ask your staff to come up with cost saving ideas and then reward them with a percentage of the money the Association saved in the first year. Maybe make it a moving scale. The more they save, the more they earn. Hey, it's free money!
21) Bad weather days: Have a rotating schedule for having the phones forwarded to one line that someone picks up. Remote access programs can allow you to access most programs at work from a home computer.
22) Post–it job description day: Employees write the duties of their job that they dislike doing on post-it notes and then exchange them with other staff who may actually like doing those things!
23) Community service project: Let each staff person choose a local charity/project that they want to support and then give them a day off to assist in that project. Better yet, close the office and everyone go do it together! Don’t forget to issue press releases that the Association does things for the community.
24) Weekly staff meetings to synchronize the team and each other’s calendars: Cut down on the impersonal email clutter we usually send this information out in.
25) Recognize staff tenure: Include it on their employee name badges or elsewhere. Promote the fact that you have long term staff.
26) Employee of the month: Reward staff by giving an employee of the month or other recognition. Offer an employee of the month parking space or longer lunch period (even for one day or one week, etc or give them a day off, etc.)
27) Allow staff to wear gym shoes in the office: Some Associations require that staff wear black gym shoes or at least ones that are clean and presentable.
28) Invite spouses to staff after-hours or staff events: Build camaraderie, friendship, and support among staff and their spouses. We spend a lot of time with these people; our significant others might like to get to meet/know the people we spend so much time with.
29) Institute a staff nap period: Have a quiet place where staff can slip away for 20-30 minutes to nap.
30) Offer an employer-funded “wellness reimbursement” plan: Reimburse your staff for personal expenses they incur for “wellness items” which might include exercise equipment for their home, gym memberships, work out videos, or whatever. Be sure your policy is very specific about what is included or excluded.
31) Provide healthy snacks in the office: Think about fresh fruit, vegetables, smoothie machine and ingredients.
32) Flexible spending medical accounts: Includes HSAs (health savings accounts) or reimbursement accounts.
33) Therapy: Hire a counseling service for staff (or even your members!)
34) Employee Night Out: Take staff out to dinner.
35) Strategic Planning participation: Invite all staff to you strategic planning session to help get them motivated to the ideas that will be presented to them anyway. Let them offer input and be inactive in the strategic plan discussions.
36) Make 'em laugh: Be goofy, be nutty, dance. As the AE, set the tone for an uplifting environment. If the day has been particularly stressful, walk out into the main office with your pants pulled up high or socks over your pants or some other goofy thing. Wear a silly hat or crown. Make them laugh!
37) Massage: Hire a massage therapist to come into the office once a month or give gift cards for staff to go see one on occasion.
38) Take a movie break: Run a movie in your training room for staff to go sit in and watch for two hours. Buy popcorn, etc. Or close the office for two hours and go to a local theater.
39) "Rock Star customer service": Place pebbles next to jars on each employees desk. When someone oberves or experiences good customer service from that staff, put a pebble in their jar.
40) Bad situation rewards: Recognize staff for handling a bad situation well. Buy a stack of gift cards and leave them on your desk to remind you to recognize someone for doing a good job.