1. Create More Time. There's only 24 hours in each day and surprising an employee by calling it a day a couple of hours early or extending their lunch hour is a welcomed and greatly appreciated act. If you really want to excite an employee, let them go a couple hours early on a Friday before a long weekend. Adding a couple of hours to their personal time is something only the boss can do!
  2. All Hands on Deck. Many employees feel segregated from the business of the business. In small companies, your employees may wear many hats, yet they still feel like they don't know what's going on. Try including all employees in company wide communication. If you are setting goals or instituting new procedures, gather your whole team together and share your plans. Engaged employees will be motivated to reach goals and celebrate wins. Be sure to keep confidential information as such.
  3. There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch. Occasionally, you can have lunch brought in for your staff. Or take the whole group out for a bite. Not only will you foot the bill for lunch, but you'll be building team relations at the same time. Another twist on this same idea is hosting a happy hour or a "cake day" for the office. Nothing motivates like double chocolate fudge.
  4. Call in Well Day. We all know what a sick day is. But what if you allow your employees to call in well on a warm, sunny day? You'll have to set some parameters on when it's appropriate to take the time off, but the beauty of it gives your employees something to look forward to.
  5. Stock a Fish Pond. Keep a fish bowl stocked with gift cards of local restaurants and shops. When a goal is met or a new procedure is successfully implemented, allow the folks involved to Go Fish! Limit the value of the cards to $25 or less so that it does not have to be reported as salary and they get hit with taxes.
  6. Money Always Talks. Based on predetermined metrics, you can provide bonuses to your employees. These can be provided on a quarterly or annual basis, but should be tied to an achievement met by the staff. The goals you put in place should be a stretch for your organization and is a great motivator for facing challenges or changing behavior
  7. Spring Training. While some training is mandatory for your business, often times ancillary training can be a great motivation for employees. You can decide if you want to spring for training that can be directly applied to the job or offer the option to take a class that has nothing to do with work. A cooking class, dance lessons or fly fishing instruction might appeal to some of your employees and help provide some balance in their life. If cost is a concern to you, you can provide a scholarship toward the cost of the training.
  8. Volunteer. Many organizations are hosting volunteer days specifically aimed to get local companies out into the community to help with a myriad of chores. Plan a day when the whole company dons "work clothes" and paints a school or cleans up a park. Employees feel proud to work for a company that values volunteerism. It creates an opportunity to foster teamwork and might provide some exposure for your business. Everybody wins with this one.
  9. School's Out! On a day when the local school system is closed offer your employees the option to bring their children to work for the day. Hire a local college student to plan some activity for the kids so mom or dad can actually get some work done. The kids will get exposed to the workplace and you'll have grateful parents that don't need to find childcare for the day. Children love to help out (when they aren't home!) so maybe you can put them to work shredding old papers or stuffing envelopes.
  10. Atta' Boys and Girls. The most simple is saved for last. We all get so caught up in the pressures of everyday business life that we forget to recognize those around us. It can be as simple as an email citing a recent achievement or approaching your employee with a handshake to recognize his or her good work. It costs nothing but your authentic praise for a job well done.