When it comes to keeping employees happy and productive, companies such as Google lead the way. The brand is as famous for its staff perks - pool tables and bowling alleys, free food and gym memberships - as it is for its technology, and even employs a chief happiness officer whose sole job is to keep employees happy and maintain productivity. Needless to say that the bottom line of the idea is to ensure complete employee satisfaction. If employees are satisfied, then productivity will increase and the company will benefit.
Google’s model of employee motivation and leadership topples traditional leadership theory which focuses more on results than on the people who deliver those results. The company’s work culture is true to its philosophy:
“To create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.”
Looking to our own businesses, happy dance teachers will have greater loyalty to the studio, put more effort into their classes, and will be more willing to do those "extra" things like come to support at eisteddfods and volunteer at concert time.
Hourly pay rate is just one part of a much bigger picture. People make decisions about their work based on a variety of factors including the connection they feel with their co-workers, the management style, the values of the company, the level of autonomy, communication, support, and the creative outlet and challenge.
As far as PERKS are concerned, in a limited-budget dance studio we can't afford to spend big. Especially when most dance teachers are often already generously paid. But to make the job more appealing, there are a few things we can offer that won't break the budget, but will provide a little extra something to our teachers.
And in our industry, where really great teachers are hard to find and are often in high demand, getting to literally pick and choose which studios they want to work for... it is undoubtedly advantageous to have some bonus perks to offer.
Plus, it's very much about establishing a sense of family and generosity. We "don't sweat the small stuff", because we build trust that we will look after each other. If the staff feel valued, they're looked after, and if our studio is just generally a nice place to work, we will have more chance of holding on to great teachers for longer.
So here's a few things we can provide our teachers... (and OK, some of them might cost a little money, but generally it's nothing that will break the budget, and in all cases I believe the benefit outways the cost.)
Free studio hire for personal use, choreography preparation etc. Maybe even for one-off special open classes, if they're not too regular
Cold drinks from a staff fridge (or the canteen), and maybe even a bowl of muesli bars / fruit for if they get hungry whilst at the studio
The opportunity to use the studio photocopier for personal printing occasionally (if you have one)
Access to any of the studio equipment, for their own personal creative projects (cameras, lighting, costumes etc.)
Semi-regular social outings, activities and dinners as a team
Free studio-branded dancewear to teach in (which, by the way, increases the perceived professionalism of the studio so it's a direct benefit for the business)
Free WiFi at the studio
Encouragement to pitch "creative projects" that utilise the dancers from the studio
Individual sub-web page on studio's website for them to put their bio, CV, photos etc. and send to other potential hirers (for workshops etc.)
Family tickets to studio concert, so they can invite their own parents, partners etc. to watch
Access to the studio computer and the premium software on it (eg. Adobe suite, video editing etc.)
Discounts / free tuition for their own children
Headshots (get staff photos done for promo and website, and then provide copies to each staff member)
Professional development opportunities (workshops, seminars etc.) which will cost some money, but will upskill the employees and improve the quality of their work, which will in-turn benefit the business
Invitation to participate in class at studio workshops
Opportunities for them to increase their work hours by encouraging students to take private lessons (still charging room hire for this though)
Supporting their performance gigs, and working to really encourage parents and students to buy tickets to things they are in
Thoughtful and generous birthday gifts and Christmas presents