Don't worry- this post will have no further references to certain fastball-throwing Warlocks. Rather, I came across an interesting blog post from SocialCast which raises the question as to whether or not a healthy salary is sufficient to attract and retain winning (sorry, had to sneak it in there) employees. If you're a materialistic person, you probably think this is a slam dunk (it is March afterall). Duh, cash is king! (whoops, I did it again) However, I'd urge you to reconsider.
I actually have experience with organizations generous enough to pay well, but that also tended to treat headcount as mere commodities. People were to show up and do their jobs without much appreciation (as your pay was deemed enough) and certainly with little regard to staff having a sense of pride in the output collectively generated. In fact, it wasn't uncommon for descriptions such as "pie in the sky," "BS" or "disruptive (coupled with a dismissive laugh)" to be used around the office when talking about extravagant employee perks other companies were providing such as a table tennis complex, Xbox studio or pet massages. Why on earth would companies want to WASTE money on these things? Well, the aforementioned post gives a good clue to the answer. Namely, employees want a sense of purpose which the article states is "...the hope to make a contribution."
From the employer standpoint, you should be thinking about how to best promote pride and purpose amongst the backbone of your company. You want staffers to WANT to "hang out" at work every day. You want them to be willing to defend your business' purpose and standing within your industry. The fact is that money comes and goes. The post describes financial perks as being only "short term." Somebody can always get more currency elsewhere if they so seek it. However, people who are ingrained into the fabric of your corporate mission aren't so easily swayed by external factors. They are the ones who stay late and who think nothing of it to answer a customer's email while supposedly "decompressing" after-hours at their local coffee shop.
Ok, so as a small business owner, how do you get employees to think and act for collective good? The first thing is that you have to eliminate an "us" v. "them" mentality where the former is obviously ownership and senior management while the latter is the rank and file. You need to conduct business in a "we" fashion. As the post again so cogently points out, it is not hard to do this. Reinforcing this culture is made up of the following elements and let me comment on them as well:
Though you may have spent countless hours perfecting your product/service and many sleepless nights worrying about generating revenue to get your company where it is today, never forget that you can't and don't do everything yourself. Your employees are your foundation and a business can get off track quite easily if they become apathetic about your goals and their role in achieving them. Get out of your comfort zone and create new or modify existing perks that will make your workers feel compelled to run through walls for your business. Doing so will make everyone feel like they're WINNING! (sorry, I'm hopeless...)