As a business owner, you’re always surrounded by targets, metrics, KPIs and the like. They’re important—vital in fact, as I’ve often said in this column—so you can run your business well and keep improving.

But there are other metrics which are equally important, if less tangible, such as workplace satisfaction. A couple of weeks ago, Peninsula was ranked as the 6th Best Place to Work in the UK by Glassdoor in its latest annual review, and the 5th Best Company for Work/Life Balance.

That benchmark is as important to me as any of the others.

Why? I believe it’s fundamental that your employees enjoy where they work, given they spend a third of their lives there. I believe it’s better for loyalty, for productivity, for performance, and for wellbeing. I believe it reduces absenteeism and presenteeism. I believe it attracts new talent and improves staff retention. And I believe it enhances your corporate reputation.

Most of all, I believe employees deserve that investment in their environment and their development. It creates a positive cycle; a win-win situation for both employer and employee.

Apparently, 70% of workers in the UK feel actively disengaged or uninspired at work. That’s a deeply troubling statistic, and it says a lot about how employer do (or don’t) value their employees.

SMEs have traditionally shied away from implementing a strong programme of investing in employees, not because they don’t care, but because of fears that the money is better spent elsewhere.

In my view, there’s a simple equation: if you want your company to succeed and thrive in the future, then invest in your employees now. Not only will it pay off in the longer term, but it doesn’t need to break the bank.

The traditional employee benefits don’t always motivate people in the way they used to. Sometimes it’s the surprising things that make people feel valued and enjoy where they work.

I’ve outlined below the staff rewards that our employees highlighted in their Glassdoor reviews as the main reasons why they like working at Peninsula. Some took a lot of investment; some cost a little; others cost nothing. Why not take your pick of what might work for your business?

  1. Investment in training and development
  2. Open door policy for senior managers and directors
  3. Free breakfast before 9am every Monday morning
  4. Gym and tai chi classes every Tuesday
  5. Drinks across the company at 5pm every Friday—we call them TFI Fridays

We also ask our employees for suggestions on how to improve. Some of our best ideas have come from them, so it might be something you could do in your business.

We’ve worked hard to make Peninsula a place where people want to come every day to spend their time and to expend their efforts and their energy. We’d rather they came here than went anywhere else to engage their talents, so it’s up to us to make it a great place to be.

And, as ever, there’s always more work to be done.