There’s a lot of competition out there in business today, on both the company side and the employee side. With millions of qualified, talented candidates, employers can sometimes find it challenging to come up with new perks and opportunities to attract (and keep!) the best of the best. This is where employee recognition comes in, and why incentives are so powerful when it comes to keeping team members both productive and proud!
Fun novelty socks are a great incentive for employee recognition programs, and we just so happen to be pros at helping companies find the perfect patterns for their teams. Read on to learn how cool socks could be a key to keeping employees happy.
The Power of Employee Recognition
Studies have shown that regular recognition can help boost employee performance, making it a powerful tool to help motivate team members and achieve your business goals. A well-built recognition program helps employees feel good about themselves and their contributions. An effective program is one that inspires its team members and helps to truly move the business forward. For everyone at a company, it’s nice for employees to have a shared goal and to feel their work can help you earn more than just a steady paycheck.
In a way, these programs kind of gamify the workday by giving people the opportunity to “unlock” different achievements along the way. And whoever said you can’t mix work and play!? Certainly not the sock fairies! Here at The Sock Drawer, we have a lot of fun celebrating each other’s wins and enjoying all the perks of being a sock fairy, and those moments of joy mean a lot to us at the end of the day. Hooking your team up with some cool socks can add that dose of joy to your business, too.
Why Socks Are a Good Incentive
There are many different types of recognition and incentive programs companies can build out for their employees, and they don’t need to be super complicated or expensive. From functionality to fun, here are a few of the many reasons socks are a good incentive for keeping employees happy and motivated at work!
What’s the point of investing in a gift for your employees, only to have it not serve them at all, or worse, end up in the trash? It’s not only wasteful, but it shows that the incentive isn’t very effective. You can only have so many branded keychains or refrigerator magnets (or even pens — there, we said it!), but socks can be enjoyed time after time!
When you think about wardrobe staples and necessary items, socks can be considered an apparel essential. There are certain everyday items people wear (and need to replace) often; socks are high on that list of useful, functional gifts. Gifting socks allows people to take an item off their shopping list and save a little money in the process.
Inexpensive, But Impactful
Especially when purchased in bulk for incentives, socks don’t require too heavy an investment on the part of the employer, and they make people smile! Considering there are so many different varieties of cool socks to choose from, it’s easy to find styles for everyone on your team.
From a smart business perspective, socks are also cost effective because you don’t need to spend time managing sizing options for employees. One or two sizes cover pretty much everyone. Unlike with T-shirts, jackets or other more complicated apparel, this makes it so much easier to come up with a nice collection of styles without worrying about who they’ll fit.
They’re a Great Equalizer
Just as incentives don’t need to be super fancy to inspire people to try their best, no one is too fancy or too ~corporate~ to wear a pair of crazy socks. From the CEO in the corner office to the newest baby intern, socks are a true equalizer!
Across many industries, more companies have been embracing more casual dress codes over the past few years, which gives team members the opportunity to have some fun with their look without worrying about not fitting into a company’s culture. Not only does this help take the pressure off the team to keep up with the Joneses by wearing fancy and expensive outfits, but it can also help make the leadership team feel more approachable to everyday employees. (Bonus points for it being a lot more comfortable, too!)
Offer Creative Expression
Take it from us sock fairies: It’s very special when a company embraces you for who you are and gives you opportunities to celebrate your personal interests within the workplace. Offering special sock options inspired by these different interests can inspire employees to build and maintain healthy friendships with other members of these sub-communities within a company. A few examples:
- Do you have a community of sports fans at the office? Consider adding some options in colors that rep a few top local teams.
- Are employees able to bring their fur babies to your pet-friendly workspace? Let them celebrate their beloved pets with socks inspired by their favorite animals.
- Is fishing a big part of many of your employees’ lives? How about music? Or yoga? Or cooking? Pick some prints and patterns inspired by a particular hobby.
- Are you a healthcare company managing a team of nurses? Stylish compression socks aren’t just a fashion statement — they’re incredibly useful, too.
Socks are an understated but super fun way to express yourself with fashion. By giving employees the opportunity to celebrate their individuality, you show how much you value them for not just the work they do, but also who they are as people.
Let Them Have a Choice
At every level in an organization, it can sometimes be difficult for employees to feel as though they have control over their workday. Especially at fast-moving places where there are often shifting priorities and many opinions, it’s not always easy to feel empowered to make choices.
While this might seem like a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, offering employees the opportunity to choose the pair of socks they want after earning them is actually a really thoughtful way to remind them of the many ways in which their contributions (and choices) are valued by the organization. Giving someone the chance to pick something, which makes them happy, is a powerful motivator!
From our selection of hundreds of sock styles, we can help your team set up a set of patterns that represent who they are and put smiles on their faces.
Inspire a Sense of Belonging
Sock incentives are definitely an affordable way to build communities within the company, and they also provide a vehicle to boost morale and inspire company-wide camaraderie. As simple as it may seem, something like a pair of custom socks can help employees feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, that you’re all on the same team. That’s really powerful stuff!
This is especially true with remote employees who can sometimes feel isolated by not being able to participate in daily interactions with their co-workers and leadership. When you’re participating at a distance, it’s unfortunately rather easy to feel separated from the culture of your company. Whether the team is permanently made up of remote employees or the WFH situation is temporary, custom logo socks offer an amazing way to give people something they can feel proud wearing not only around the house, but also while out on the town.
Something else to think about when it comes to workplace productivity is that these types of incentives can really inspire people to work hard to become recognized as part of the greater company community. Maybe you give your employees the cool socks after they’ve been around for a certain period of time, or maybe after they hit a sales goal or other milestone. Prizes always make the work a little easier!
Motivate Many Types of People
Not every employee is motivated by the same forces. In fact, most employees fall into one of a few personality groups. It’s helpful to look at different incentivizing factors that are important to your different types of employees to determine which actions will be most effective for your business.
Understanding the five languages of appreciation can be helpful for understanding what types of opportunities will best inspire your team members.
- Words of Affirmation: A written letter from company leadership could motivate members of this group to continue working hard.
- Acts of Service: People in this category appreciate when team members and leadership work together to support the greater good.
- Receiving Gifts: Many people are motivated simply by the promise of unlocking prizes.
- Quality Time: Whether it’s a one-on-one with the boss or a fitness class led by their VP, employees who fall into this category will appreciate it when the attention is dedicated to them.
- (Appropriate) Physical Touch: Some employees are most grateful for a literal pat on the back for their efforts!
Even if you can’t completely personalize the above methods to the individual level, there are ways to structure your incentives so they perk up as many people as possible - and amazingly enough, socks are an incentive that fit into nearly all of the above motivational categories.
- Words of Affirmation: Include a special pair of uplifting socks along with the written letter from leadership.
- Acts of Service: Matching custom logo socks give people in this group a sense of belonging.
- Receiving Gifts: Socks fall perfectly into this category!
- Quality Time: How about a crazy sock day at work where everyone in your group describes why they wore a certain pattern and gets to know each other a little better?
- (Appropriate) Physical Touch: Hand out socks personally to help this group of employees feel appreciated.
Play Well With Others
If you have the budget to tier your employee incentives, socks can very easily become a part of larger, more diverse programs. Employees can work their way up the ladder of achievements, unlocking bigger and better prizes along the way. A tiered structure keeps team members always reaching for the next goal.
Socks are really versatile. They can be an entry-level incentive, or even get grouped into higher-value prizes:
- Socks in their team’s colors are the perfect first step toward unlocking a bigger goal of tickets to the big game.
- A prize could be the chance to celebrate an evening at home with a cozy pair of socks and delivery from a favorite local pizza joint.
- Travel opportunities are very popular employee incentives; why not include a pair of socks inspired by their destination along with the plane tickets?
- Custom logo socks go really well with a nice lapel pin or other company paraphernalia.
Keys to Incentivizing Employees
To make sure everybody *wins* with an employee recognition program, employers can look to their own team members to determine which type of structure and rewards will work best. The goals and prizes have to align with your mission, your culture and the desires of your team. For instance, if you’re a health and fitness company, your employees would probably prefer some fun workout socks over a gift card to the local fried chicken joint!
When designing your own rewards program, try your best to structure both your goals and rewards while keeping in mind:
- How they will inspire and motivate your employees to grow and develop in the workplace
- How they will support the overarching goals you’ve defined for your business
Keep in mind, recognition programs can be based on professional performance or even community or wellness activities, such as staying healthy and taking good care of yourself. Base your incentives on the goals you want to achieve so your team knows what they’re working toward. Is your goal to get your best sales quarter ever? Do you want to increase the percentage of closed customer care tickets? Maybe you just want to thank workers each time they pass an anniversary. By setting clear expectations that match up with your employees’ motivations — when they succeed, everyone succeeds.