The Best Ways of Incentivizing Your Staff

Making sure that your employees are happy is one way of ensuring that your business thrives and prospers. Happy employees are more productive and willing to work harder for you. Setting goals that are realistic, and that employees understand, is a crucial part of any incentive program. If you want to reward your employees financially, there are a few really good ways to do it.

Retirement Matching Contributions

Retirement matching contributions are one way of rewarding your employees for good performance. A retirement account match is when you contribute money towards your employees’ retirement plan. For qualified accounts, like 401(k) plans, you must match all employee accounts the same.

For example, if you offer an employee a $1 match for every $1 he contributes to his retirement fund, you must also offer the same $1 match to every employee. However, some accounts are considered “non-qualified” and you can offer a paid bonus to select employees. This is an ideal way to offer incentives to employees because you can be selective about who receives a bonus and who doesn’t. The bonus may be set up as a direct payment to the employee or you can pay it to a brokerage account where the employee has limited control over the funds.

Normally, an agreement is signed between you and the employee that stipulates what the bonus money may be used for. If you want to motivate your employees to stay with you for a long time, you can structure the agreement so that the employee has full trading authority over the funds but cannot remove them for a set number of years.

Non-Qualified Stock Options

A stock option is a right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specific number of shares of stock for a predetermined price and for a predetermined amount of time. For example, a stock option may give you the right to purchase 1,000 shares of Microsoft for $10 per share for the next 3 months. Stock options that are given as a bonus allow an employee to benefit from the increase in the share price of your company if it is publicly traded.
The employee must pay income tax on the difference between the stock price and the strike price at the time the option is exercised.

Incentive Stock Options

Incentive stock options are more of a long-term investment. While non-qualified stock options benefit an employee if you’re going to issue an IPO and expect your stock to do well “out of the gate,” incentive stock options are meant to be more of a long-term investment. Typically, these stock options are held for more than a year from the date the option is exercised. The shares exercised by the options holder also must be held for more than two years from the date of issue of the stock option.

This gives incentive stock options a tax benefit in that they will always be taxed as a long-term capital gain – a tax rate that is lower than the income tax paid on non-qualified stock options.

Employee stock options can also be “restricted.” This means that even though the individual has the right to exercise the option, he may be restricted from doing so prior to a specific date or before a company has achieved a certain benchmark or milestone. This gives further incentive for employees to perform well so that the company’s share price increases.

In some cases, the employee does not have direct control over the share price of the company because she doesn’t have control over any aspect of production. Even still, stock options can help to energize your workforce and motivate everyone to work together so that the company does well.

About the Author: Guest post by Elizabeth Goldman, on behalf of Sunbird cfd Brokers and currency trading specialists. Home to the advanced MetaTrader platform (see the metatrader 4 user guide). All views and opinions belong to the writer and do not necessarily represent Sunbird FX.

4 Perks Every Small Business Owner should Steal from Google

For three consecutive years Google has been ranked as one of the top companies to work for. While pay is good, the perks the tech company offers its employees is what most say really keeps employees happy and eager to produce constant good work – headquarters are equipped with a rock climbing wall, gourmet chefs, free laundry services, and even allow employees to bring their pet to work just to name a few. While you’re a small business owner and can’t afford to hire a sushi chef for example, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use Google as a model and put your own twist on some of the amenities they offer. To learn some perks that will earn you the best boss award and can keep the employees you have satisfied, continue reading below.

1. Provide Cheap Beverages and Snacks. Ok, so you don’t have the funds to buy a fancy espresso or cappuccino maker, but you can buy a traditional coffee maker and some flavored creamers so that your employees can have a free pick-me-up in the mornings or afternoons. Stocking the company fridge with at least 3 different flavors of soda or tea and some filtered water is also a great, simple idea. Can sodas are inexpensive (especially if you purchase in bulk using a discount Sam’s Club or CostCo card) and it’ll keep your employees hydrated (which is needed to activate brains) as well as give your employee’s bragging rights – most companies do not provide free snacks. To ease up on your wallet, only restock snacks once a month.

2. Keep Social Media Sites Active. Most corporate companies choose to make social media sites like Facebook and Twitter inaccessible at work because they believe it will only distract their employees from completing the tasks at hand. But blocking popular sites like Facebook can make some employees feel like their employer is a control freak and may actually end up resenting their boss a little bit. Besides, some studies say that allowing employees to take small breaks to check social networking sites and surf the web can actually boost productivity rates.

3. Casual Everyday. Some corporate offices give their employees permission to indulge in a “casual Friday.” Google, on the other hand, allows their staff to wear jeans every day of the week – of course there are limits; it’s more of a “business casual” than “casual-casual” but it’s a great way to promote productivity. That’s because some experts claim that formal business attire, such as suits, heels, and pencil skirts, can be really constraining, causing people who have to sit or stand for 8 hours a day to be extremely uncomfortable which prompts them to do less work. However business casual attire removes the stress of having to get ready each morning and let’s your employees breathe while at work. While causal everyday may not work for every small business (if they don’t have to engage with clients or investors on a normal basis) it may be a good idea to at least give them one or two days a week of casual dress. Of course there can be restrictions – no flip flops etc.

4. Set up a Game Room. Lastly, like mentioned before, in addition to a rock climbing wall, Google has a myriad of other fun games to boost office moral and motivate its team to work harder for breaks such as a foosball table. Creating an area where your employees can get together and unwind for a few minutes doing something fun is a fantastic amenity to add. With careful research you can find some inexpensive foosball tables or something similar like a ping pong table. Investing in an office gaming system (Wii’s are about $80 now) and getting some group-involved games like Mario Kart is also great activity to have in the workplace.

About the Author: This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99