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June marked Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ \(LGBTQ+\) Pride Month, and during the month, Southwire took the time to celebrate and recognize the contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals around the world.

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6 ways to increase employee morale and performance (without giving a raise)

This week I had a visit with Salt Lake entrepreneur Amelia Wilcox, founder and CEO of Incorporate Massage. She started her company four and a half years ago, to provide corporate massage services for a variety of organizations. In that time shes established presence for organizations in the intermountain U.S. and most recently is opening locations in Texas and Philadelphia. Research on the prevalence of corporate massage is scarce, but most sources indicate its popularity is growing, and an article in the Financial Times quotes at least one company reporting a 25% decrease in time off for workplace injuries and a $200,000 decrease in compensation claims when it implemented a corporate massage program.

As programs have become more prevalent Wilcox has differentiated and specialized her companys offerings by pioneering a software platform to provide full-service scheduling, reminders, reporting and billing. This is particularly compelling for large companies who want to share the cost of massage services with participating employees but prefer to not be encumbered with administrative details.

Wilcox reached out to me after watching the video of a presentation on entrepreneurship I gave at Utahs Snow College last year. As we talked about the growth of her service, the conversation led to the many ways organizations, large and small, can reward and motivate their employees beyond the obvious reward of a raise (which, ironically, is well away from the biggest motivating factor for todays employees according to leadership expert Joe Folkman).

1. Give them a reason to believe. Your employees are part of something bigger than themselves, but do they know it? From the first interview, potential candidates need to understand and share in the vision of what you are doing as an organization. That vision alone will motivate and inspire your team, down to its junior members, which comes back full circle in effectively facilitating company growth. For her company, as an example, the companys true purpose is Improving Lives as every team member is aware. The team is directly improving the lives of the individuals they provide massage therapy for, but is also improving the lives of HR teams by administrating the entire massage program fully, leaving them free to do their own jobs. Additionally, they improve the lives of CEOs and stockholders by improving employee retention and morale and decreasing workers comp claims and health insurance cost. And they improve the lives of people in local communities by helping businesses succeed, which improves the local economy and creates additional jobs.

2. Show you care. Recognize every single employees birthday. Send gifts for new babies and weddings. Be involved in employees lives to let them feel loved and valued not only as employees, but also as family members and as human beings. When people are loved, they will give more than you can imagine they could for you and your cause, Wilcox says. In her company, she sends gifts to employees around every possible event in their lives. Employees are the lifeblood of our operation. We want to make taking care of them our highest priority and to make sure they are ridiculously happy at all times.

3. Recognize the good. When someone is doing something awesome, tell them. Recognize the individuals on your team who receive good feedback from your clients. Its important for employees to feel their efforts are being recognized, and the recognition further perpetuates their desire to go above and beyond for your clients, which of course, sets you apart as an organization as well. Says Amelia, We ask each client how their therapists are doing, and we pass that positive feedback on publicly at our team meetings in the form of Kudos. Negative feedback is also passed on, but privately, and proper corrections are made. In our own organization we provide periodic surprise spot bonuses to highlight achievements that are above and beyond.

4. Learn the value of fringe. Your company may not be at a point that allows you to offer a competitive full benefits package. But youd be surprised how far a few small (and inexpensive) benefits will go with your staff. Amelia reports that her company gives each employee a massage every month (other regional companies such as Property Solutions and Usana Health Sciences have jumped on board in offering this benefit as well). We also provide a monthly wellness allowance our employees can use on anything health and wellness related, she says. And we feed our team (with healthy food options) at every meeting.

5. Promote from within. When your employees see that there is room to advance their career within your organization, it speaks volumes. Find out what skills and talents the different members of your crew possess and find ways to develop those skills for future use in your business. When you have a stellar team member, help invest in the training they need to advance as your company grows. In Amelias case, she reports that almost all of her leadership team is made up of Licensed Massage Therapists who began as practitioners and who exhibited skills that allowed the company to advance them to leadership opportunities over time.

6. Bring on the fun. An organization that plays together stays together, Amelia maintains. This is a common thread among the fastest growing companies in the Utah region and appears to be true for other regions as well. Companies such as Vivint (one of Forbes Most Promising Companies for 2013) throw huge summer parties with horse drawn carriages, massage, face paint, bonfires and dirt bikes. And nobody parties like Utahs Clearlink, with dunk tanks, races, coin pools, face painting and snow cones. Property Solutions rocks their employees worlds with a winter retreat with an overnight stay at a winter resort that includes swimming, massage, facials, games, snowmobiling, paintball, and, of course, ample food. Even as a smaller organization, Amelias team hosts a summer bash for staff and families. (Single team members can bring friends and roommates instead.) A bounce house, live band, face painting, food and dancing prevail. For the holidays, the company hosts a fancy dinner and movie premier night for each employee plus one. These celebrations acknowledge to employees that the organization cant succeed without them.

The common theme in all of these ideas is caring, recognition, rewards and appreciation. These small steps can go far. What additional ideas has your own organization used with success? For readers who would like to reach Amelia Wilcox directly, you can find her at www.incorporatemassage.com

I am an entrepreneur and communications expert from Salt Lake City and founder of SnappConner PR. I am the author of Beyond PR: Communicate Like A Champ In The Digital Age, available on Amazon. I am co-creator of Content University, which helps entrepreneurs and executives learn to write and to tell their stories better, and how to use their strong thought leadership content to advance their companies. Content University is available at www.ContentUniversity.com. The opinions I express (especially when tongue in cheek) are entirely my own. My newsletter, the Snappington Post, is available from www.SnappConner.com.