8 Ways to LOVE on Your Team

Love is in the air with Valentine's Day days away. As a business owner and entrepreneur, this is a great season to show love, not romantic love but agape love, to your team. Think of it like staff appreciation day. Here are 8 ways to show your employees how much you value their work and appreciate how they help grow your small business.

1) Get to Know Them
Do you know the names of your team members' spouses or kids? Keep up with their hobbies and interests? Don't be BFFs with your team, but you should show a healthy interest in them. Doing so can make them feel like a part of the work family, and they may be less likely to seek other job opportunities. Keeping team members happy can lead to lower turnover.

2) Make a Fuss Over Birthdays
Most people like being pampered and getting attention for their birthdays. Institute an office policy to have some sort of celebration for every birthday. But don't settle for the once-a-month birthday cake in the break room that many companies do. Some people wouldn't welcome a sugary treat if they're trying to watch their weight. Perhaps you can take the birthday girl or boy out for a meal or give them a gift card.

3) Do Something Nice
A gesture, big or small, can go a long way to showing your staff that you care. You could hire a massage therapist to come in and treat everyone to some stress relief. Try taking your team to a movie matinee, or give everyone an extra vacation day. These gestures don't necessarily have to cost a lot of money, but they could earn you big benefits.

4) Provide Education Assistance
Another way to help with team members' career advancement is to offer education help. That might come as tuition reimbursement so staff can seek higher degrees, training programs to develop new skills, or develop an educational library where staff can borrow books to sharpen their skills.

5) Love on Your Team Publicly
Remember as a kid how your teacher would give warm fuzzies to children who paid attention in class? The grown-up version of this is sending a notecard personally thanking a team member for a, particularly well-done job. You'd be amazed what a little praise can do. Everyone loves feeling valued.

6) Offer Career Advancement
Recognize that people have career goals, and that means they want to move up. If you have room in your company for people to climb the ranks, encourage it and help them to do so. If you know a team member is looking to make a move into another industry, do your best to help if you have contacts there.

7) Write a LinkedIn Recommendation
LinkedIn is the biggest career tool for your team, so help each team member out by writing a glowing recommendation on his or her profiles.

8) Say Thank You
You might be so busy and stressed that you don't often take the time to simply say "thank you," but get into the habit. Especially when your team over delivers on an assignment. It takes just half a breath, so there's no excuse why you can't show your appreciation on a regular basis for each person who works for you.

When you truly value your employees and are authentic with how you treat them, your teammates will keep their head in the game to win. Keep your work environment fun. Give thoughtful feedback, and invite them to give you a scorecard too. The most collaborative teams win.