Employees are your most valuable asset, thus they need to be managed well for the success of your business. Employee motivation is a major concern for any business owner, as employee satisfaction plays a key role in boosting productivity which has an impact on the company’s bottom-line. Motivated and engaged employees will go the extra mile; they contribute more ideas and work harder to achieve your business objectives. And good workplace morale also improves staff retention.
As an employer you play a significant role in motivating your employees. As a small business owner, you may be concerned about how to motivate employees without having to incur heavy expenses for the same. Several surveys have shown that money isn’t the biggest motivator. While a bonus may provide a short-term boost, praise, recognition, and career advancement are all far more powerful influencers in the long term. This is good news for small businesses functioning on a tight budget.
Small firms have certain advantages like flexibility, less hierarchy, clear and open communication, more rewarding and interesting jobs, and faster career growth and development opportunities to boost employee morale.
Here a few simple, yet effective ways to motivate your employees that cost little or nothing at all:
1.Respect your employees
It is highly important to treat your employees with respect and dignity irrespective of their position. Treat each one as an individual and try to understand their personal situation. Ensure that their well being is paid attention to and they feel taken care of. During a period of heavy workload, provide solutions for distributing the work, so no one person is under undue stress. An atmosphere of equality and fairness will be created if you ensure to treat all the employees the same, without preferential treatment.
2.Listen and communicate well
A simple yet beneficial way to motivate employees is by listening to them and keeping the lines of communication open. Their opinions and suggestions should matter. Involving them in the process of solving problems is a great way to show that they are valued, and also benefits you as an owner, as diverse solutions can come out of this process.
Let your employees know what you are approachable, that they don’t need to be struggling alone with a problem, you are there to guide and help out. This will give them more job satisfaction and also keep errors in check.
Honesty and transparency go a long way in building a good rapport and trust with your employees, especially during tough times. Be upfront if there are problems, as they would be concerned about losing their job, and might even consider leaving if they don’t feel secure. Not knowing what the future holds for them at the company is bound to make them anxious, and could impact the quality of their work negatively.
3.Growth and development of your employees
Invest in developing your staff through training programs that increase their skills and enhance their career. Not only is this beneficial to them, but also works to the advantage of the company. Having employees who are skilled and prepared to handle the constantly evolving business environment is a must for any business to thrive.
Developing your employees for long term projects and goals is showing them that you are committed to their growth along with that of the business. Regular feedback and appraisals is a good way to track their progress.
Create an environment that encourages growth and creativity. Some employees may be more inclined than others to acquire new skills, support this drive of theirs and provide them with the opportunity to exercise their abilities.
4.Recognition and appreciation
Sometimes all it takes is a simple gesture of appreciation to make your employees feel valued. Recognize your employees for the good work they do and publicly appreciate their accomplishments. It increases the employee’s sense of self-esteem, and makes him or her feel better about his or her job. The result is usually improved productivity.
Encouraging high performance can sometimes be as simple as rewarding it. Programs such as employee-of-the-month or other initiatives that recognize and reward high-performing employees not only make the worker feel more satisfied with his or her job, but they also set an example for other employees and encourage them to work harder.
The accomplishments of a team or a group should also be rewarded, whether it’s for their ongoing work or for a special project. Employee certificates, small bonuses, or even giving the team Friday off, can show them that you have recognized their efforts.
Criticising and blaming employees for errors occurred is far from motivating. Avoid this as much as possible. This will directly impact their confidence in their abilities and quality of output. A better approach is to find out why the error occurred and what can be done to fix it, while also ensuring it doesn’t happen again in future.
Similarly, merely criticising someone’s performance may not motivate them. Instead, work together to figure out what is causing the problem, and what can be done to improve. People learn from mistakes and that is how they build experience and expertise.
6.A great company culture
An environment that is positive and nurturing is conducive to productivity. A friendly and helpful culture ensures better and stronger employee relationships. Even when times are hard and the workload is piling up, people don’t lose their motivation because of the upbeat vibe around. This is possible if you as the business owner set the tone at the top, through your attitude and actions. Be an example that your employees can look up to and follow, by putting into practice what you preach.
It is not illogical to say that the more satisfied the employee, the better he or she will perform. It doesn’t take much to achieve that, just an ongoing and sincere practice of valuing, appreciating, and rewarding your employees.