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Giving Gifts of Empowerment

Giving Gifts of Empowerment

Okay, so it maybe the holiday season is getting to me but I have been thinking of ways that small business leaders and owners can give gifts of empowerment and encouragement to their teams. Here is a list of great gifts that will increase your employees’ job satisfaction as well as increasing positively to your bottom line through the return on investment. As you invest or support your employees developing themselves into better people, those lessons that they pick up will be brought to work with them each day.

1. Provide encouragement for engaging in personal development. As a small business, you may not have the budget to send employees to Dale Carnegie or Tony Robbins courses, but in one on one meetings with your team members (including those who are teenagers), managers and leaders can make sure that employees know that you value their desires to improve themselves. As a small business owner or manager, don’t you want the employee on your team who is trying to get better in some part of their life?

If you have the budget, there are many low-cost alternatives available for people to take advantage. Some different self-improvement courses or classes include Toastmasters International, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and John Maxwell’s online training. These resources are all under $400 and Toastmasters is much less than the $400.

2. Another great gift that you can provide your team is the gift of empowerment. Educate your team members on the boundaries and expectations of your customer service and then implement Nordstrom’s Employee rulebook. The rulebook is relatively simple:

“Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations.
There will be no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager,
store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.”

This is both the simplest and hardest gift to give your team members; it requires the whole team be in sync and that you are being diligent on hiring only high-level individuals.

3. Provide either full or partial reimbursement on gym memberships or even home gym equipment. Team members who are fit or working on becoming fit have fewer sick days than those team members who are not fit. Fit team members also bring more energy to work with them which results in a high energy, “get 2 it” work environment. This gift definitely allows for some creativity on how to give the gift.

I have known some employers that have paid completely for gym memberships regardless of the gym and I have known some employers that would just pay their employees once a month what an average gym membership would cost for the area they lived in. I have also known employers that have just provided a once a year sum to the team members where that sum would cover a year’s membership or the team member could use that money to buy athletic or exercise equipment in place of the gym membership.

I challenge you to put one or all of these ideas into place, track the results and then drop me an email and let me know what the outcome is of your gift giving. how you carry out and encourage your team members to enjoy better health is up to you, but remember that investing in them means that you should see lost productivity time decrease within your business or operation. You also have to remember that there are defiantly intangible benefits to giving any or all of the above gifts to your employees; they will feel that they are working for a leader or business that wants them to be at their best when they are delivering outstanding customer service. If any of you have other ideas or stories about how businesses or teams can invest in bringing out the best in their employees we would love to hear about it.


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