Showing your employees they are appreciated is so important. Happy employees will deliver better customer experiences. One study by Badgeville found that 40% of employees who do not feel meaningfully recognized will not go above and beyond in their job responsibilities. Unhappy, unappreciated employees are only going to deliver the bare minimum. If you want your customers to receive the best experience, you need to start by ensuring your employees have a great experience. Here are five easy and affordable ways to regularly show you appreciate and celebrate your employees.

1. Say thank you

Your mom taught you to always say please and thank you. And now, as you run your own business, that rule still applies. A simple thank you at the end of the shift can go a long way in making an employee feel appreciated. I made it a habit to always thank my employees when I left for the day. Their shifts were later than mine and I wanted them to know how much I appreciated their commitment to work so I could go home. The best part about saying thank you, it’s free!

2. Celebrate their day

If you could do anything you want one day a year, what would you do? I bet you didn’t say go to work. The good news is, we all have a special day built in to the calendar, it’s called a birthday! A great way to celebrate your employees is to give them the day off for their birthday. And it should be a freebie day, it doesn’t come from their paid time off. It’s a bonus day so they can spend their own personal holiday doing what they love. Here’s another important tip; set a good example and take the day off on your birthday, too.

3. Throw a party

I love a good party. And in business there are so many reasons to throw one. You can throw a party for the holidays, that’s the easy one. Another great reason to celebrate is when you, as a team, have achieved a sales goal. Celebrate the launch or end to a special promotion. Celebrate the anniversary of starting your business. Throwing a party doesn’t have to break the bank. Bring in some treats from a local bakery, grab some decorative napkins from Home Goods and you have a party! And if you really want to go crazy, Oriental Trading sells everything. You can find cheap giveaways and decorations for any theme you can dream up.

4. Give away swag

Everyone loves free swag. A t-shirt, a reusable tote bag, a koozie, or a key chain. Throw your business name on it and these can be great giveaways not only for your employees but for loyal customers, too. You can give an employee swag when they first start, when they reach a sales goal, do an exceptional job with a customer, or just because. If swag isn’t your thing, give away some of your product to your employees. I once worked at a boutique and we were able to select a pair of earrings for free. The boutique was in a big college football town and the earrings were all in the school’s colors. It was a small token of the owner’s appreciation of us and our commitment to work on game days.

5. Recognize their talents and interests

Your employees decided to work for you because there is something about your business that sparks an interest in them. Discover what that interest is! Then tap into it. Give them special projects, new opportunities or tasks that capitalizes on what they are interested in. Here are four questions you can use to spark a conversation and discover what their talents and interests are.

  • What do you like to do in your free time? You might discover a skill they have that could be really helpful. For example, in their free time they take a lot of pictures or they have a social media channel they manage. Ask them to take pictures for your business. Ask for their input on what to post on your social media channels. And of course, recognize them for this extra work and when appropriate, compensate them financially.

  • Why did you decide to apply to work here? They chose your business because there is something unique that interests them as opposed to the business next door. Maybe you sell a product that they really love and they want to save up their paycheck and purchase it. Support their goal and offer them an employee discount to make reaching their goal easier.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years? For some, it will be still working for you. For others their goal may be to move on to something else. How can you help them reach their goal, no matter what it is? If they are a part time employee in college studying finance, invite them to sit with you when you do the budget or balance the books one month. Give them a window into the real life application of their interest.

  • If you could improve any one thing here, what would it be? The best part about hiring new employees is they are coming into your business with a fresh perspective. I had a boss who asked me this question once and it made me feel like my opinion truly mattered. I recommended we reformat a template we regularly used based on my own experience. I had found it really confusing to read. With my fresh eyes we created a streamlined template. And I felt like a real member of the team in the process.

Remember, happy employees are going to deliver the best customer experiences.According to a report by Glassdoor, there is a link between the well-being of your employees and how satisfied your customers are. Specifically in the retail and food service industries, for each one star improvement on Glassdoor, there was a 3.2 point increase in customer satisfaction. Taking the time to celebrate your employees will be worth the effort. Which idea are you going to implement today? Leave me a comment and tell me which one is your favorite and how your employees responded!

  • Abby Myette

If 2020 has called us to do anything, it perhaps is the call to keep learning. Many of you have learned how to be home schoolteachers. We’ve been called to better understand our country’s complex racial history. Business owners have been tasked with adjusting their service delivery and quickly learning new ways to sell and connect with customers. We’re halfway through the year and I challenge you to keep the learning trend going. Don’t stop now. I have used much of my unexpected additional time at home to broaden my knowledge on a number of topics.

When I want to learn something new, my first instinct is to always pick up a book. I love reading and I always have at least one book going, sometimes two.

A book is a way to learn from some of the best entrepreneurs and industry leaders for less then $20.

When we can’t jump on a plane and adventure in new places, a book will take you there from the comfort of your couch. It gives you the opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes and learn from their experiences. My stack of summer books include insights from successful entrepreneurs, a few fiction books for pool side reading and memoirs from people with experiences different than my own. What I end up reading is always a balance of pleasure and business.

I often read with a pencil in one hand, marking up the book with quotes that inspire me and insights I want to reference again later. The two books I am most looking forward to reading this summer are Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Boss Up! by Lindsay Teague Moreno.

In person workshops, conferences, and retreats have all been cancelled, including several of my own. Many businesses have shifted to offering their content in a virtual platform instead! This has been a great opportunity to log in and learn from people I may otherwise never have the opportunity to see in person. Professional associations are hosting webinars for free!

I’ve heard from mountaineer Alison Levine on finding adventure from home.

Entrepreneur and planner Erin Condren shared her perspective on still finding joy in these turbulent times.

Joining these virtual webinars have provided me with professional and personal growth at a time when it’s easy to feel stagnant. But what I am most excited about is the online course I’m taking with the Disney Institute. One of my dreams is to attend a Disney Institute conference. But like most things Disney, they are not cheap. However, right now Disney Institute is offering three of their keynote programs, online, for only $100. I could not turn it down. Now, of course it’s not the same as learning in the parks in the heart of the Disney Magic. But it’s an opportunity to learn from the leader in customer experience and leadership for a fraction of the cost.

The most enduring learning experience I have had since launching my business has been working with a business coach. This month I celebrate one year as a member of the Blooming Business Inner Circle. My business coach, Amber Housley, has offered an endless stream of business insight, advice, and support as I work to grow this dream.

One of the best parts about being a member of a group like this are all the other women.

Often on our monthly coaching calls, while listening to the advice being offered for someone else in a totally different industry than me, an idea sparks for my own business. I’ve learned about SEO and lead magnets, concepts I had never heard of when I launched my business. I’ve collected tools and resources I use every month to plan out my marketing and content development. I cannot imagine where my business would be without the Inner Circle.

So yes, I am one of those people who has used the pandemic and my time at home to keep learning. I did also binge watch Tiger King, no one is always productive!

As we move into what is sure to be another unique season, I hope to keep learning both personally and professionally. I like what motivational speaker Brian Tracy said; Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.

{Jump to the end for the key points? Here they are}

2020 has given us the time time and the reasons to keep learning both personally and professionally. 3 places to start:

  1. Pick up a book! I'm enjoying Boss Up! by Lindsay Teague Moreno!

  2. Join a free online webinar. My Ready Your Workforce: Reopen program is free!

  3. Work with a business coach. If you're looking for a sisterhood of fabulous women entrepreneur's check out my coach Amber Housley.

  • Abby Myette

I love to celebrate, birthdays, holidays, sunny days, any reason to celebrate is a good reason for me. And today is my birthday, the best reason to celebrate! And in honor of the big day I'm announcing big changes at Tradewinds Learning. And I want you to celebrate with me! Are you ready? Grab your party hat and let's go!

For the last year I've been delivering the Business Owner Tide Chart Newsletter straight to your inboxes. It has been an opportunity to share some of my experiences and lessons learned working in various retail jobs. I've connected with many amazing business owners and passed along some of their tips for success. I have truly enjoyed thinking of the themes for each month and writing the newsletter. Each edition has been short and sweet. Something you can read quickly.

I know how busy you are as a business owner. Quick is good! You don't have time to spend reading pages and pages of information. But I always felt like I had more to say. I wanted to give you more actionable advice, steps you could take today to move your business forward. And if not today, a way to go back when it was the right time.

So the newsletter is going out with the tides. And coming in is the Tradewinds Blog!

I am so excited for this new way of sharing all you need to succeed in business. It provides me the chance to give you more information (but not too much, I know you're still busy and time is precious). And best of all, you can come back to the blog at anytime to find the advice and guidance you need now.

I will still feature interviews with other local businesses. We can learn so much from each other! And I will still offer freebie handouts and worksheets to guide your action. All the blog posts will be categorized so you can easily find what you're looking for.

And if you want to revisit an old newsletter post, I've uploaded all of them to the blog. Looking for that great story about Goodnight Fatty and how they train their employees? Or maybe the freebie on fun ways to celebrate with your customers. Today, celebrate with me on my birthday and the launch of the new blog!

If you want to be the first to know about new blog posts, sign up here to join the Captain's List. I have another big development coming for Tradewinds Learning and I want you to be the first to hear about it.

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